Career Options in the Sports and Fitness Sectors
When you were kicking a ball around the sports field at school, you ..
13:57 05 February 2019
... might well have had dreams of being the next Lionel Messi or Gareth Bale; but only a very few reach those dizzying heights at the very top of their sport. You may not have quite the extraordinary level of talent of a Messi or a Bale, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a valuable contribution to your sport, or the world of physical activity and fitness in general. There are a wide range of possible employment options available related to sports and fitness, so there’s sure to be a niche there that suits your abilities down to the ground.
Teaching and coaching
To be a good teacher or coach, you need an in-depth knowledge of your sport, experience of participating (although not necessarily at a high level), and the skills to impart your knowledge effectively to the students you’re teaching. To be a physical education teacher at a school or college, you’ll need a teaching qualification in addition to a degree in your subject, and with pressures on teachers being so intense it’s essential to have expertise in an academic subject as well, so you can add value to your role and be more useful for your employer.
Coaches always used to be former players who had retired or semi-retired from playing or participating and used their experience to bring on the next generation. The idea that you had to excel in your chosen sport to be a great coach no longer holds water, as the successes of the newer generations of coaches in some high-profile sports have proved. Training and education have become a far more important element in creating successful coaches, so it pays to be serious about training for the role and achieving the appropriate qualifications.
Sports science is a newer branch on the career tree, but is well-established and makes a considerable contribution to all forms of sporting endeavour. As the name implies, science is at the foundation of this specialism, so a science degree is required to make a career in the field. However, there are many sub-specialities within sports science, so there’s a wide range of sciences on which to base a career:
- Physiology and biomechanics are key sciences in sport, studying how the body works and how to optimise its performance. The more we understand about the body, the more precisely we’re able to advise on the best ways to build fitness.
- Psychology is proving to be of fundamental importance in improving performance and getting the very best from sports participants. It’s also valuable in helping people overcome performance blocks and other barriers that affect their abilities.
- Physical therapists carry out healing and restorative treatments to promote recovery in injured sports people, and tend to them during competition and training. Their role is vital in ensuring everyone participating in a physical activity is treated promptly and effectively to minimise the effects of injury.
Fitness and health
There’s been a rising interest in personal fitness and living a healthier lifestyle over the past few years, and this year it looks set to increase further. There are the continuing warnings about the effects of being overweight and failing to take enough exercise, and healthy eating is becoming highly fashionable, with the Paleo diet and the meteoric ascension of veganism. That means there are plenty of opportunities for fitness enthusiasts to find roles as personal trainers and gym instructors.
Although the market is increasing, the number of people applying for these kinds of jobs is also increasing, so you will face a degree of competition. That means that having recognised and respected qualifications is of the greatest importance. It also helps if you can offer additional benefits to your clients. For example, being able to offer sports massage in addition to personal training services gives you an advantage over those who don’t have qualifications in massage. Check out the training you’d get if you enrolled on OriGym’s sports massage course and consider the career benefits such an additional qualification would provide.
Combining your love of sports with a canny business brain could make for a highly profitable and rewarding partnership. You can set up your own small business if you have a robust plan for a commercial enterprise that provides a product or service that participants in sports will want to have. Or you can join a larger firm, where you could be involved in development, sponsorship activities, legal advice, accountancy and business performance, account management, marketing; there are multiple avenues in the business sector.
Sport is a favourite subject for all forms of media, which open up plenty of opportunities for interesting careers. You could be a reporter, broadcaster, write for print and online publications, be a camera operator or photographer. The openings in this niche are changing and new opportunities are developing all the time, and there are few better ways to get close to the action and its participants than covering a sporting event.
You could also set up your own website offering news and information for fans of a particular sport, a team, or a related grass roots organisation. If there’s nothing filling the gap at the moment, you have an ideal opportunity to attract fellow fans and start monetising your site, and many bloggers and vloggers in all spheres have gone on to make a great deal of money from modest beginnings.
As you can see from these examples, there’s far more to a career in sports and fitness than being a world class sports person in your field. It might surprise you to see just how many rewarding careers there are for anyone with a passion for sport and healthy living, so if you love your sport and you’re dedicated to physical fitness, see if you can find the one that sets your pulse racing, as well as giving you a tidy income to reward you for your efforts.