A career in sports is seen as the dream job for a large number of people. For anyone, the idea of being able make a successful career out of doing what they enjoy is, of course, an enormous draw, and for the successful sportsman or woman, there are additional benefits. We all know that top sports stars can earn huge amounts of money, and achieve fame and adoration from thousands of fans.
The perilous world of the professional athlete
Of course, of the millions of keen sports participants around the world, only a tiny percentage can turn it into a successful career. Being a top athlete demands perseverance, determination, and natural ability, not to mention a large dose of good luck and being in the right place at the right time.
Even if all those things come together, the dream can still sit on a knife’s edge, and unexpected factors can bring it crashing down around you. Fabrice Muamba was an up-and-coming English soccer player who, at the age of 23, suffered cardiac arrest while playing in a match and was forced to retire because of it. Robert Kubica’s horrific arm injury from his accident in 2011 brought a premature end to a promising career in Formula One.
Other careers in sport
Even if the dream of working as a top athlete is only open to a lucky few, there are still numerous career options in the world of sport; and many are even open to those who are already working in another field but still harbor that childhood dream of working in the sport they love.
From teaching and coaching to physiotherapy or sports psychology, and from management and backroom support to media and marketing, the fact is that sport is a multibillion dollar industry. How can you get involved?
Explore and learn the market
We have established that the sports industry is broad and wide ranging, so whether you have a clear vision of how you want to get involved, or just a vague yearning that this is the area that you want to work in, you need to understand the market dynamics.
Just attending your favorite events is not enough – speak to people in the industry, attend events, and read books. Bear in mind that the sports sector changes and evolves with the times just like anything else, so join appropriate groups on LinkedIn, and start building up a professional network before you even begin.
In every professional sector, the right qualifications will be a major factor in getting yourself the perfect position, and it is no different for a career in sports. Of course, the range of qualifications is as wide as the industry.
However, there are some excellent courses out there that can provide the perfect grounding on all aspects of sports management and will put you in great stead with prospective employers.
Studying for a degree is a more feasible option today than it has ever been thanks to the advent of distance learning. For example, today’s students can earn a sports management online degree from Adelphi University in New York, and fit their studies around existing work or personal commitments. This kind of course is ideal, as it combines a solid basis in sports management with a choice of specializations.
Work is work
The right qualifications and your enthusiasm for the sport will put you in good stead, but they are not enough in themselves to convince a prospective employer that you are right for the job.
Remember that you are looking to build this as a professional career, and you can show that you are serious by demonstrating that as well as being able to recite every Super Bowl MVP for the past 30 years, you also understand how a business works.
Developing some broad knowledge to speak intelligently about basic business concepts such as strategic planning, cash flow, capital financing, and business development will place you in an even stronger position.
A job that you love
The childhood dream of millions of adoring fans and a ten-figure bank balance might not have become a reality, but that does not mean that you can’t build a successful career working in the sport that you love and vicariously bringing joy to thousands of participants and fans – and at the end of the working day, you will have the comfort of knowing that you can go out for a coffee without fear of autograph hunters.