Many students dream of making it big in sports. It is the ultimate dream of becoming a professional athlete because of unparalleled talent, skill and passion. According to The Sports Digest, only .03 percent of high school and college basketball players ever make it to the NBA. Although turning pro is rare for most young athletes, they aren’t without professional opportunities that involve their love of sports. Professions in the sports industry might not be as glamorous or high profile as being a sports star, but it does keep you involved in the game you love.
If you choose a career as a sports psychologist, you’ll study the influence of psychology on sports in different areas. After all, sports don’t just take physical strength, but mental and emotional as well. Your role is to help coaches and athletes work through issues to improve motivation, performance and overall mental health. Sports psychology is still in its infancy, so if you want to make a difference in a developing field, pursue this career. Sports psychologists participate in research and investigate how mental processes affect athletes’ performances. You’ll also have training to be a standard psychologist, in case you ever want to pursue a different professional avenue later down the line.
As a head coach or assistant coach, your expertise directly influences the game. In most cases, you’ll work your way up the rungs from assistant coaching before you get a chance at a head coaching position. With some experience and skill you can start at a middle school, high school or amateur level. It may take years of experience to get into the higher-paying positions. Coaches direct their players with game strategies. It can be a high-stress position that requires judgment calls, a logical and strategic mind and a willingness to take risks.
Sports broadcasting and journalism is another field to set your eyes on, although it is very competitive field in itself as well. You have a wide range of opportunities, including a magazine or newspaper sports columnist as well as a television or radio sportscaster. Broadcasting for sports isn’t just about being in front of the camera though, there’s much opportunity for working behind the scenes with a sports programming company as well. Generally, you’ll need to have a journalism, broadcasting or communications degree to work in this field, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the sports you want to cover. With these various degrees, they can still be applied to other careers if you desire to change your line of work in the future, they wouldn’t be considered degrees with shortcomings attached to them. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work (and luck) to make a name for yourself as a successful sports writer or broadcaster.
Other Sports-Related Fields
A passion for sports, fitness and exercise can also be professionally expressed as athletic trainers and physical therapists. These professionals work with a variety of people, from beginners to top-notch athletes, and help them to get into great shape. Sports medicine is another promising career field to be there on the sidelines ready to help and to assist athletes who need to get back into tip-top shape after injuries. On top of this, many students that might choose to go this route can often find support as early as high school volunteer programs to work alongside the school’s athletic trainer and get one on one experience. Before you even graduate high school, it’s possible that you’ll have perfected the appropriate ankle tape job, know the best exercises to rehabilitate or prevent a torn ACL, and apply the RICE method as second nature to every and any injury.
All in all, being accepted onto a college sports team is an achievement in itself. Just because your sports career doesn’t go all the way to the pros doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t move forward. There are many opportunities in sports and there is no doubt that these opportunities aren’t going out of business any time soon. Explore your options and plan for it early on with relevant courses in college. This is the best way to ensure you’ll be able to stay in a field you’re passionate about while still making a career and get paid in the end.
This is a guest post from Jessica Reich
Jessica is a freelance writer from Minneapolis.