The journey of Lebron James was nothing less than phenomenal. From years without a home to the world of fame, glamour, and money. All thanks to the multi-million dollar industry called sports.
Being there at the topmost level is a dream for many. But not all are gifted with that level of athletic abilities like Lebron to make it big. Once they realize this, such dreams take the back seat, giving way for more realistic choices.
Wait! Is it really necessary to be an athlete to make it big in the industry? Jonathan Barnet, Harsha Bogle, Patric Farhat, Bill Simmons, these names were never known for their athletic abilities. Still, they made it big inside the sports industry. Yes, the sports industry is not only about the ones who perform on the field, but also about the people who pull the strings behind the curtain. In this article, we’re going to look at a few career choices in the sports industry for non-athletes.
Career in sports industry: Sports agents
Jorge Mendes! This name holds the second spot in the list of world’s top sports agents released by Forbes. Whether you’ve heard about him or not, you certainly know the name of one of his clients. Cristiano Ronaldo! Yes, the world’s most popular sportsperson is this super agent’s client. This means he was the mastermind behind the Portuguese Superstar’s 100 million dollar move to Italian club Juventus. How does that sound?
Now, who is a sports agent? Professional athletes who compete at the highest level will need someone who can represent them in getting the best deals and take them to places where they want to be. Sports agents are those business-minded professionals who do this for them. If you are looking for a definition, he or she is a legal representative for professional sportspersons such as athletes or coaches.
From negotiating employment contracts to handling public relations, they represent their clients on all domains of the professional sports industry. This doesn’t mean they always start with established professional players. Most successful agents start with finding new talents from lower divisions, developing them and selling them for the best deals.
So, how to become a sports agent?
A business degree in sports management will be your best bet. An MBA with a specialization in sports management is also recommended. This will help you learn more about the industry and develop the skills necessary to thrive. But most times, you’re your own boss. So, more than your professional qualifications, it’s about being the right guy for the job.
Career in sports industry: Sports Management jobs
Another promising career option in the sports industry for non-athletes is sports management. It is a vast field that incorporates aspects of administration, management, accounting and economics, and marketing to deal with sports and recreation. The professionals in the field tend to run the front office, work behind the scenes and act as an interface between players.
Sports managers work with professional teams, universities, recreational departments and sports promoting firms. There are lots of areas to choose your specialization from. Sports Managers can be Event Managers, Facility Managers, and Sports Economists. Other job profiles they can opt for include team management, player management, Sports marketing, Grassroot development activities, Sports media, Training management, etc.
Good Sportsmanship, enthusiasm, and motivation are strong assets that would help you to become a sports manager. Communication skills, Analytical thinking and an eye for business are skill sets that will help you establish yourself in the domain.
The success of sports leagues in India has created a rise in demand for sports managers. A large number of institutions are providing full sports management courses at different levels. Some provide specialized management courses for Cricket, Football, Badminton, Tennis, and golf, etc.
Career in sports industry: Sports engineering
You must be knowing that the racket Novak Djokovic uses is not the same as the one you use to play in your local court. He plays at the highest level and his favorite toy is designed to make maximum use of his physical attributes and the style of play. And who does this for him? Sports engineers! The techies who combine engineering skills with the passion for sports to come up with tailor-made scientific solutions for problems faced by athletes in the field.
With sports being a multi-million dollar industry, this newly evolved field of engineering is gaining a lot of importance as a scientific route towards enhancing the performance of an athlete. According to Engineeringsport, ‘sports engineering is the technical application of maths and physics to solve sporting problems’. It takes into account the external factors like friction, aerodynamics and mechanical tension while designing athletic gadgets and performance-enhancing systems. The job role of a sports engineer includes designing sports equipment, building sports facilities, analyzing athlete performance, etc.
Now, how to become a sports engineer? As a Btech degree in sports engineering is not available in India, it is better to go for mechanical engineering, electronics, computer science, biomechanics, physiology, mathematics or physics for your undergraduate program. You can later do a masters or a post-graduate diploma in sports engineering and take up a job in the sports equipment manufacturing industry. From there, you can start the climb.
Career in sports industry: Sports journalist
‘Virat Kohli scores another ton and leads India to victory…’ Finding that news on the sports page of a newspaper makes my day. And all thanks goes to the sports journalists who brought me that news from far away.
With the turn of the century, sports journalism has evolved to become one of the best career choices for those who are interested in sports. It is about communicating sports-related news to the general public through the use of mass media. This will include match reports, detailed analysis or any trivial information related to the sports industry. Today, it is one of the most exciting and well-paid professions in the world.
Free access pass for professional games, interviewing your favorite sports star on live television, becoming a part of their journey towards success and getting paid to do so. Sounds good? If you make it big as a sports journalist, you will be doing all these and much more. In fact, sports journalists even have the power to create heroes. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who gets to pick the Ballon d’Or winner.
Now, how to become a sports journalist?
First of all, your first love should be sports. If that’s true for you, then it’s about becoming a journalist. Go for professional degree courses in mass communication or journalism, specialize in sports journalism and then start your journey as a sports journalist. But remember, not everyone makes it big and you have a mountain to climb.
Career in sports industry: Sports psychology
Athletes face a lot of psychological pressures in their everyday life. The pressure to consistently perform at the highest level, performance anxiety, injury threats, pressure of competition, form dips, everything is a part of a sports person’s life. Such pressures make them vulnerable to performance depletion and other serious psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
So, the sports industry requires professionally qualified psychologists who can help sportspersons cope with such issues.
Here comes the role of a sports psychologist. They are trained professionals who attend to the psychological well-being of athletes and other sportspersons. Sports Psychology mainly focuses on two aspects. Enhancing athletic performance with the application of psychological principles and techniques, and exploring how sports and exercise can improve mental health and well-being of an individual.
From helping athletes boost their self-confidence to dealing with serious mental issues like depression and anxiety, sports psychologists spend time with sportspersons, assisting them with techniques to reach their maximum performance potential, coping stress, recovery after injury, following workout schedules and enjoying sports.
The roles of sports psychologists may vary according to the specialized area. In applied settings, they work with teams and national bodies. They focus on improving athletic performance with the use of skills such as imagery, relaxation techniques, and goal setting interventions.
In clinical setups and rehabilitation centers, they combine mental training strategies to help athletes and clients overcome injuries and deal with their mental health problems. In the academic set up, Sports psychologists can conduct research, and teach at universities and colleges.
Now, how to become a sports psychologist in India?
Sports psychology is a specialized branch of study. In India, it is available only as a masters program.
BA or BSc Psychology for UG program will allow you to take up MSc sports psychology as your Masters program.
Career in sports industry: Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy
Nothing can threaten your love for Sports and exercise like an Injury. Sports medicine and physiotherapy is a field in healthcare that deals with the prevention and treatment of injuries in relation to sports and exercise. It focuses on the effectiveness of preventive treatment and healing measures of muscles and bones to help athletes and people stay healthy, recover quickly and perform optimally.
Although both domains focus basically on the same thing, it’s important to distinguish between Sports Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine. To be able to practice sports medicine, one needs to have a medical degree and a postgraduate qualification (MBBS in the Indian context). A Physician who practices sports medicine has a license to diagnose and prescribe medications.
On the other hand, to be a physiotherapist one doesn’t need to attend medical school. They may need to fulfill certain requisites and have to undergo hours of experience providing physical therapy to become accredited. The nature of physical therapy is more of a hands-on approach compared to that of sports medicine. A bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy and a specialized masters in physiotherapy would be the career pathway for aspirants in the field.
The sports industry is not only about the athletes who perform on the field or their coaches. There is a long list of names who push the million-dollar industry forward from behind the screens. These people are either from the field of sports or from other domains such as business or medicine. This article intends to shed light on a few such careers in the sports industry. I hope the illustrated analysis have powered up your insights and have widened your perspectives.