The sports industry has become a huge employer and people are flocking towards it as a career choice. Whether you are going in as a player, or in sports management, the sports industry can offer an exciting way to make a living while you explore your passion.
So how can you start your sports career?
Unleash your passion.
If you are passionate about sports, you will quickly realize that it is a very challenging field that will require extreme dedication from you. You will need to gain experience by finding opportunities to network with those in the industry, engage with likeminded people and influencer programs, volunteer to sports organizations or clubs so that you interact with the players and get to learn from them.
Volunteer opportunities are many and many organizations will not turn down help, especially if free. Once you are in, ask for an opportunity to shadow some of the players. Make yourself available to attend workshops or training opportunities that may arise.
Show off your skills.
If you are lucky enough to get an opportunity to volunteer in an organization, you need to demonstrate what your skills are so that you can start to stand out. No one will recognize anyone who hides behind the bleachers. Whatever your skills are, aggressively use them to accomplish your tasks. If you show the management that you have certain skills for example marketing, communication, decision making and critical thinking you will stand out and they will start to engage with you at a more professional level.
Do not stop learning.
You need an undergraduate degree to enter into sports management; there are many courses you need to take so that you are constantly building your knowledge base. It is also important to know the factors that can affect the performance of a role, talk to a work injury lawyer, sports managers, players, mentors or anyone else in the field to give you a proper grasp of what it takes to be in the sports industry.
An important skill to have in the sports industry is psychology. Understanding human behavior is very important because it helps you develop listening skills so that you’re able to understand a person's deepest desires, anxieties, and hopes. If you are in sports management, you need to understand what drives an individual and this will help you craft whatever strategies you need to have in place to provide good service. Having an understanding of human behavior will also help you negotiate for the best rates, help in damage control, as well as market your clients.
Having an understanding of the business is important. You need business plans, branding, and marketing to ensure that you have a constant cash flow.
Do not become a jack-of-all-trades, get an area and specialize in it. If for example, your interest is in marketing, then stick to sports marketing and leave the recruiting to someone else. If you can, get an internship so that you are better able to understand what area is of interest to you.