Indulging in your passion for sports is never a bad thing. In fact, if you didn't have something you love to do in your life, you might find yourself a lot less happy than you are now.
However, being passionate about something and turning it into a viable career are two different things. What once was a fun way to spend time, could turn into something that takes up all your time and becomes more of a job than a hobby and something you become a lot less passionate about.
But that does not mean it isn't impossible. Far from it. It takes all kinds of people from different backgrounds to pursue what they love to do. Breaking into the elite in your chosen sport takes work and dedication. You need to push through from a young age and continue until you reach our goal and then… you need to find a new better goal.
But what exactly can you do to make your passion for sports into a career?
The only real answer is to not give up. Do you think the world's top NBA players gave up? The answer is a resounding no. But even if you decide to not continue to play the sport you love as a career, it doesn't mean there aren't other paths you can't follow instead.
There are many different reasons why people choose to stop playing a sport they love competitively. For health reasons, lack of finances or options, or they simply fall out of love with it. But whatever the reason, you don't have to leave the world of sport behind. Even if it is just to play it in a more relaxed non-competitive environment.
In this post, we are going to look at how you can decide what path to take to continue to work in the sporting field of your choice even if you aren't the athlete.
- Find a different career in the sports you love ie trainer, physio, manager
- Look at your strengths and areas you excel academically
- Look at your options when it comes to training and education to reach your goal
How Old Do You Have to Be To Pursue a Career in Sports?
There is no real age limit in general. Although certain job roles would benefit from you being in a good physical condition. Unlike physically playing the sport yourself, training for a different career as opposed to being the main superstar athlete doesn't require you to begin training at a young age as many professional sports players do.
Regardless of your age, physical health, or even experience, there are many job roles you can look at training in either on the job or via formal education programmes.
Choose a Career Path.
There are a wide variety of jobs for everyone in the sports sector. They don't all require you to be athletic at all. Although, for some, this would be a definite advantage. Below is a selection of jobs you can consider in your chosen sport or specialty.
- Fitness Instructor
- Communications Officer
- Health Trainer
- Sports Scientist
- Sports Development Officer
- Exercise Physiologist
Of course, this isn't an extensive or exhaustive list. There is a wide variety of job roles and positions available in a multitude of different areas no matter which sports sector you choose to train in.
All of these positions require formal education of some sort. either via a home learning course, college course or by enrolling in university. Once you know what type of career path you want to follow, then you can start looking at the process of making it a relay and start your training for your new career.
Education and Training.
The level of training required is different from job to job. There are, of course, some positions you don't need to enter further education for and you can learn on the job.
Obviously, you need to know exactly what you want to aim for before you check out the training and qualifications needed. Training as a physiotherapist will have much stricter requirements than training as a fitness instructor.
If you decide at a young age what area you would like to follow, you can really tailor your education to allow for this and start on your path without missing a beat.
Mature students will need to approach further learning differently. There are still many options available to those who decide to change careers later on in life.
Let's look at becoming a sports physiotherapist. This is the type of training you will need to pursue this career.
- Physiotherapy degree – it needs to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- Professional registration as a chartered physiotherapist.
- Relevant master's degree.
- 1 to 2 years' work experience as a physiotherapist.
- Good understanding of sports training methods.
What Do I Need To Study?
As a minimum, you need good English and Maths skills. Anything else will be dependent on the area you are studying in. Chance are, if you are already a trained athlete in the area you are training in, you will already have some background knowledge and probably contacts to help you get where you need to be.
As an example; sports science degree can be beneficial in the following careers;
- Exercise physiologist
- Fitness center manager
- Personal trainer
- Secondary school teacher
- Sports administrator
- Sports coach
- Sports development officer
- Sports therapist
One thing that will be advantageous in your endeavors is having relevant experience. So looking at getting time served experience is essential. Either via volunteering or on the job training. This will help you out in the long run when it comes to further education and eventually landing your dream job.
The following places are great options for places you can volunteer to gain relevant experience.
- Youth Centre
- Leisure Centre
- Summer Holiday camps or programs
- Outdoor activity companies.
What Other Qualities Will You Need To Pursue a Career in Sports?
Being as accomplished as possible and well rounded is essential. Sure, you need training and knowledge but being able to articulate what you need to do and communicate are also big factors too. As is life experience and knowing the sport you are wanting to work in. So those with expensive knowledge of the pressures, strain, and injuries sustained by footballers first hand will help you when it comes to knowing what to expect when taking up a position working with footballers.
The following will also be looked on favorably by future employers;
- Research and data analysis
- Can you work on your own initiative and as part of a team
- Good presentation and oral communication skills
- Excellent written communication skills. This includes writing reports
- Good time management and planning skills
- Effective problem-solving
- A high-level of professionalism with a customer focus
- Good understanding of information technology.
If going to university isn't for you, then why not look at entering a sports apprenticeship. Whether you are making the change from a totally different career or moving away from being a professional athlete to working in the same field in a different way. There are ways you can expand on your knowledge to do what you want to do without formal education.
An apprenticeship will allow you to learn on the job whilst also gaining a qualification too. You can take on an apprenticeship in a wide range of places including schools, leisure centers, and gyms.
You will be able to learn a wide range of skills in real-time and be able to put them into practice in an efficient and practical way. Once your qualification is complete via your apprenticeship, you can see what other opportunities are out there for you.
All apprenticeships carry equivalent qualifications that are recognized by employers and count just as much as those gained in a formal education setting.
There is no one right or wrong way to go after a career in sports. You don't always have the star attraction. Although there is nothing wrong with that. Excelling in your chosen field is an amazing accomplishment. But it isn't the only way to be involved in sports. You can enter at whatever level works for you and create a career in sports in a whole host of different ways.
So what are you waiting for? Why not look into the different ways you can get your foot in the door when it comes to a career in the sports sector. After all, life is too short to be stuck doing a job you hate. So why not aim for career satisfaction and change your life today!
Once you have your foot in the door, the sky is the limit when it comes to reaching the top of your game, figuratively and literally. Push the boundaries and see what you can achieve with a new career in sports.