If you’re looking for a career change, or you’re considering going to college, you might be having some trouble deciding what path is right for you, especially if you have a range of different interests. Luckily, if you’re interested in sports, there’s a whole host of career options available to you, ranging from teaching physical education to students or working as a sports journalist to life as a professional athlete. However, it can be tricky to know where to start when assessing your options in the sports industry. This article will guide you through how to turn your love of sports into a career that will be truly life changing.
Consider What You Like About Sport
The first thing to do before jumping into a new career path in the sporting industry is to sit down and think about what you like about sports, and where those interests could take you. The sporting world is huge, so you’re likely to have some sports that pique your interest more than others, or some events that you like to attend more frequently. For example, does your love of sports stem from going to watch baseball games? Or do you prefer playing tennis with your friends at a local court? Once you’ve got an idea of what you like best, you can work on creating a visual map of where your interests lie, and from there also consider what you don’t think you’d enjoy in a career.
There are a few different ways that you can create a career plan like this. One of the easiest is to split a piece of paper into four sections:
- What You Enjoy
- What You Don’t Enjoy
- What Skills You Have
- What You Could Be Better At
After this, you’ll have a more solid understanding of the areas within sports that appeal to you, and what skills you could bring to the table in a job role. From there, you can search job advertisements for key words and apply to organizations that suit you. Remember, even if you have some things that you’re not great at right now, there’s always room for improvement, so you should see your final column as areas to work on to better your prospects.
Take a Look at Different Career Options in the Sporting Industry
A great thing about the sporting industry is the huge range of careers that you can discover within it. When deciding what area you’d like to go into, a good way to start is to consider your skills alongside your interests to see what might suit you best. Here are some examples of how you can combine these together and set yourself up for a bright future:
- Play Sports Professionally:
A demanding career option, but one that is attainable with hard work and dedication, is to play sports professionally. If you’re in the early stages of your sporting career, or you’re already competing at a relatively high level, then it’s worth chasing your athletic dreams. There are a few things to ensure when pursuing this option, and one of the most important ones is to make sure you’ve got the right coach. Professional sportspeople are always learning and having a great coach on hand is vital so that you can be aware of what you need to work on performance wise. Coaches will also play a pivotal role in your career in other ways, as they will plan out a suitable training program, arrange your transportation to competitions and work alongside your doctors, physiotherapist and nutritionist to make sure that you’re in tip-top shape. Your coach will also play an administrative role in your career, too, studying the changing rules and regulations of your sport to make sure that nothing can catch you off guard.
As well as securing the right coach, there are some other factors you need to get right when playing sports professionally. One of the biggest ones to consider is the importance of maintaining good mental health. In recent years, more and more athletes have been making their voice heard around the impact that mental health concerns can have on performance, with some top athletes worldwide withdrawing from international sporting events.
The sporting industry on the whole has also introduced some organized efforts to prioritize the mental health of its athletes, so focusing on this should be at the forefront of your mind when navigating your athletic career. As you move into the professional leagues, consult your doctor or therapist to ensure that your mind is as healthy as your body.
- Get Into Teaching Sports:
If the demanding nature of professional sports isn’t quite your thing, there are plenty of other options available, and you might find that teaching sports to others is a far more rewarding career choice. You can choose to specialize in teaching kids of different age groups, from kindergarten to college students, or you can become a self-employed sports coach to take on individual clients. If you’re more interested in general fitness or gym activities, then you could consider becoming an online personal trainer, which is another great career choice to go for if you want to set your own schedule and be your own boss.
Watching your students go from strength to strength is an amazing way to get job satisfaction and change the lives of others, so it’s worth looking into teaching and the opportunities it provides. Different states will have different requirements for becoming a teacher in a school or college, so it’s worth taking a look at an online guide for a good starting point.
- Work for an Athlete:
Working for an athlete can also offer you the chance to combine your love of the sport with other interests. Got a soft spot for animals? Equestrian athletes like show jumping and dressage riders regularly hire grooms to help them to care for their horses, and many employers in this sphere will offer on-site accommodations and coaching as part of your employment package. Love spending time at the beach? Working for a volleyball or water-skiing team means you can get paid and still feel that crisp ocean air in the mornings. Whatever your passion, there is a whole host of ways to combine this with a career in sports to get the best of both worlds.
- Break into Sports Journalism:
Sports journalism is an often-overlooked career in the sporting industry, but one that puts you right in the heart of the action and allows you to cover a range of different sporting topics. So, if you’d like to take a broader approach to your new career then this might be the best option for you. Sports journalism is predominantly about writing news reports on sporting events and individuals. In this job, your daily tasks will involve researching new updates in the sporting world, interviewing athletes and sponsors, gathering information accurately and completing high-quality written work. If you’re a keen writer and a sociable people-person, this is a great choice for you.
Another great thing about sports journalism is that plenty of high-quality education providers even offer online courses in this area, allowing for much more flexibility when it comes to studying. With a remote or distance learning course, you can access your materials from anywhere, and often schedule your study periods around other responsibilities like a job or childcare. If this interests you, then you can research what it means to do a sports journalism degree online at an institution like St Bonaventure University and hit the ground running.
Reach Out to People in the Industry
One of the best ways to turn your love of sports into a career is to reach out to people already working in the industry. Not only will this give you an idea of the areas you might like to go into, but it will also be a great networking opportunity that could lead to some open doors further down the line. If you’re looking to take a more reliable approach to this, try using sites like LinkedIn to connect with individuals who are currently employed at the companies you’d like to work for, and speak with them about their experience.
There are other, more “out-there” approaches, too, like using social media to explain that you’re new to the industry but looking for some advice. While this approach needs to be taken carefully, some people have had great success securing internships and jobs this way, so it all boils down to what works best for you.
While it can be difficult to know exactly what you want to do in the sporting industry, it’s definitely possible to make a career in sports a reality if you are dedicated to the process and understand exactly what you do and don’t want from your day-to-day life. If you’re a lively, active person, then sitting at a desk all day as a personal assistant to an athlete might not bring out the best in you, whereas the varied, exciting life of a sports journalist might be more up your alley. Whatever you choose to go for, make sure you’ve built a suitable network of individuals who can support you — the sky is truly the limit in this industry.