Have you ever wondered what NBA head coaches or other coaches of professional teams make? The first thing to understand is that there are many factors that play a role in NBA trainer salary ranges, from their position title to their years of experience to the geographical location. And, just because one coach on one team makes one salary, doesn't mean that'll be the same for a coach on another team. Let's find out what the average salary is of a head NBA strength coach.
What Is an NBA Trainer and Coach?
An NBA team will have a certain number of coaches who have different roles and work with certain players. According to the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) – a professional organization of highly skilled certified athletic trainers – the job of an NBA trainer coach is to "provide specialized healthcare and critical support services to athletes and organizations of the NBA and NBA G League."
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Some coaches are also trainers, but not all trainers are coaches. While coaches are generally focused on the whole team, trainers are focused on individual players. Athletic trainers might help players with their dribbling, shooting or footwork to help them perform better. A coach – specifically a coach that specializes in athletic training – wants to make sure that each player's abilities can benefit the entire team.
What Is an NBA Strength and Conditioning Coach?
There is one type of NBA coach who specializes in athletic training, and that is an NBA head strength and conditioning coach (though, there are also assistant coaches as well). Strength and conditioning coaches – also referred to as "S&C" coaches – have the important job of making sure players are "conditioned" for the upcoming season. They typically work in the off-season, helping players to improve (or simply keep up) their strength and stamina in order to be successful during the season.
NBA Athletic Trainer Requirements
If you're thinking of becoming an NBA athletic trainer, you'll have to meet the minimum NBA athletic trainer requirements, according to NBATA:
- A bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited (by the CAATE) professional training education program (though, it was recently decided by the AT Strategic Alliance that the minimum professional degree level will be a master's, a change to be implemented in the fall of 2022)
- Pass a certification test given by the Board of Certification (BOC)
If you want to become a strength and conditioning coach, you'll have to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist which you can get by passing the CSCS exam. After this, you can go for the NCSA's Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC), which is "a designation that signifies that a CSCS certified coach has demonstrated experience and knowledge in their field. RSCC coaches apply foundational knowledge to assess, motivate, educate and train athletes for the primary goal of improving sports performance," according to the NBSCA, or the National Basketball Strength and Conditioning Association. There are three designations of the RSCC depending on your years of experience, and this can no doubt increase your pay.
NBA Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary
It's hard to know what the average salary is of a head NBA strength and conditioning coach because, due to the factors mentioned earlier, this can vary a lot. According to Salary.com, a strength and conditioning coach can make between $38,517 and $51,966, but this doesn't refer to NBA coaches. And, we all know that coaches – especially head coaches – of major league sports are making some big bucks.
In fact, the NSCA's Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary Survey Overview reported that the average salary for S&C coaches in professional settings was $76,772 as of July 2018. For college S&C coaches, the average salary is $49,286, and for high school S&C coaches, the average salary is $49,037.
Top NBA Head Coach Salaries
If the numbers above sound a little low, you could be right. After all, on average, head NBA coaches make up to $11 million, which is the salary of the highest-paid coach in the NBA, Gregg Popovich. Unfortunately, professional coach salaries and NBA trainer salaries are not always so transparent, and it can be even more difficult to find the salary of a strength and conditioning coach. What we do know is that according to the NBSCA, the winner of S&C coach of the year was Suki Hobson of the Milwaukee Bucks. And, although we do not know Hobson's salary, we can imagine it's up there!