Pursuing a career in the sports industry – Introduction :
A career in the sports industry is a metaphorical golden apple among the world’s vast number of job opportunities and careers. People who pursue a career in the sports industry are mainly ardent sports fans who love the sport so deeply that they wish to be a part of it in some form or fashion. The great news is that with the rising growth rate of the sports industry in our country and around the world, the opportunities in the sports industry are innumerous.
Even though the opportunities in the sports industry are great, a trend in people pursuing a career in the sports industry is that there is no prior planning beforehand. This is a huge mistake because it could be very detrimental to your future. You need to understand what you are getting into before you take the leap of faith and pursue a career in the sports industry.
With no prior planning is that people end up being extremely unhappy with the work they have to do even if they do land a job in the sports industry. This is because there are a few key things you must make sure of before you wholeheartedly pursue a career in the sports industry. In this article, we will discuss 5 major steps you need to take before you pursue a career in the sports industry.
Understand the opportunities in the sports industry :
Often, as fans that wish to be a part of a sports team or a sport itself, we fail to understand the various pieces that make the sports industry work. This creates a delusion that you will be content with just being part of the industry and any role you take up will be fine. This is the first mistake you have to avoid if you plan on having a career in the sports industry.
Understanding the sports industry is extremely important because you have to have an idea of which field in the sports industry you could contribute to while enjoying the work and the environment that being a part of the industry brings. It is crucial that you identify which field interests you the most and then go ahead and pursue a career in that field within the sports industry.
Once you have understood the various fields within the sports industry like sports management, sports medicine, sports law, sports analytics, etc., you can then begin to focus on the steps that you need to take to eventually make use of the opportunities in the sports industry available in the field of your interest. That way you can end up having a career in the sports industry that you would truly enjoy having.
It is also important that you understand everything involved with the role you wish to pursue. What is the lowest level in the field as well as how high you could rise up to be an integral part of the sports organisation . You need to understand what skills are required are needed to be great at what you do and what skills you need to keep on adding to your arsenal in order to keep improving your productivity in the sports field of your choice.
In the same way that athletes compete in sports, jobs within the sports industry are competitive as well and only the best of the best can hold on to the opportunities in the sports industry that they get and have a successful career in the sports industry. At the end of this article, a few resources are available that you can use to begin your journey to having a career in the sports industry.
Understand the sport at a higher level relative to your field :
Everyone has their own sports preferences from football, cricket, basketball, kabaddi and so many more. Most times it is just entertainment and you do understand how the sport functions in order to enjoy it. But if you wish to be a part of the sports industry, then you definitely need to understand the sport you wish to be a part of at a much higher level based on the field you pursue in the sports industry.
I am not saying that you need to understand the ins and outs of the game like a sports coach does (unless you wish to pursue sports coaching as a career in the sports industry) but to know more than the average fan does. This is especially true when it comes to jobs in sports fields like sports medicine. An athletic trainer or kinesiologist needs to understand the muscle groups that are used in the particular sport and pay close attention to those particular parts of an athlete’s body.
If a medical professional does not know which parts of the body are used more than others in the sport then there will be issues that continuously arise due to the athlete’s treatment not being done as it needs to be done based on the athlete’s requirements and the requirements of the sport itself from an athlete.
An example of a situation going extremely bad for a sports organisation was when NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard accused the medical staff of the San Antonio Spurs of not treating his injury properly and requested a trade from the team. A mistake from the medical team cost the organisation a superstar that could have changed its fortunes for years to come.
In the case of a sports marketing executive or sales executive, the understanding required is lower than in most other sports but it needs to be above that of the average sports fan in order to market the sport and sell sports products more effectively. For these kind of roles, it is also important to understand what the fan wants and their requirements when it comes to the sport. This is the second step you need to make sure you take before you pursue a career in the sports industry.
Understand your strengths and weaknesses :
One of the most important things to make sure of before you pursue a career in the sports industry is to understand your strengths and weaknesses. While you may be passionate about a particular sport and wish to pursue some of the opportunities in the sports industry that involve interacting with players, it is important that you pursue a career in the sports industry in which you can thrive and be successful for the rest of your career. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you make the most of the opportunities in the sports industry.
Once you identify what your strengths are and which careers require those strengths to be used for the job then you can make a practical decision when it comes to your career in the sports industry. Every job in the sports industry has different requirements. That is exactly why the opportunities in the sports industry are endless and the growth of the industry also increases the number of opportunities in the sports industry every day.
It is also important to understand your weaknesses so that you are sure about what you can do well and where you could struggle. Even if you end up having a career in the sports industry that employs your strengths, there might be occasions where you will be required to employ your weaknesses for the organisation. In those times, if you did not understand your weaknesses and take the lead and do the job, you could end up making a mess of things. Instead, if you took a backseat to someone that could do a better job and help when needed you could be a more effective contributor to what needs to be done.
There are tests like SWOT analysis and leadership assessment tests that you can take to identify the areas you could excel at and where you might need help. There are many more tools to identify your strengths and weaknesses and I would suggest that you definitely use them before you start pursuing a career in the sports industry.
Work on building your interpersonal skills :
It is of utmost importance that everyone that pursues a career in the sports industry works on building your interpersonal skills beforehand. Interpersonal skills as the name suggests are skills that help develop cohesiveness and relationships between employees in the organisation which in turn will improve the productivity of the organisation. These skills are important in any industry and the sports industry is no exception. While there are individual sports like tennis and golf, the only part of the sport that is individual is the athlete. It takes a team of individuals to organise sports events, make sure everything is working well and manage any issues that arise during the sports event.
Some interpersonal skills are effective communication, teamwork, time management, listening skills, collaboration, etc. These skills are required to ensure that an organisation functions as an effective unit and that there is a free flow of ideas within the company. It is also important that you know how to work in teams and deal with individuals that are not on the same page as yourself. A critical skill that comes into play in such situations is conflict management. When conflict arises you cannot be aggressive or violent when dealing with it but have to have a diplomatic and employ a civil approach so that the issue is solved instead of escalating.
Interpersonal skills are one of the most important aspects looked for by general managers and sports organisations that are hiring. A great way to improve these skills is to be a part of clubs and cultural activities in school and college so that you understand how to work in a team. It is also important to participate in group activities because you need to show proof of these skills through your experiences as hiring managers will not be satisfied with having these skills mentioned in your resume and will need to know what experiences you have had in order to develop these skills.
In order to have a successful career in the sports industry, building your interpersonal skills is a very important step in your journey to becoming a part of the sports industry. These skills will ensure that you can establish yourself as a very valuable asset for any sports organisation. Developing interpersonal skills will often take you out of your comfort zone. If you are determined to land a job in the sports industry then it is important that you push yourself and put yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. To achieve your dream of having a career in the sports industry, you have to do all that it takes for you to achieve that dream.
Networking Skills and their importance in the sports industry :
Networking skills are one of the most important aspects of the sports industry. It is all about who you know and how well you know them. To rise up the ranks in the sports industry it is not enough to just be great at what you do but you also need to build connections with other individuals within the industry. Even if you do not consider it from the standpoint of rising up the ranks, it is important to build connections within the industry so that you have the opportunity to discuss topics related to the sports industry and possibly learn things you did not know from speaking to other individuals within the industry.
Networking is a major reason why building your interpersonal skills is a very important step to have a career in the sports industry. While those skills will help you establish a successful career in the sports industry, they will also help you develop the skills required to speak and connect with sports industry professionals that you might come across during your career in the sports industry. These connections that you build could also lead to opportunities to further your career. A dialogue had with a manager of another team could have left him/her with a great impression of you and once an opening arises on his team/organisation he could consider you as a candidate for the job.
Building a network is also helpful as it makes you even more valuable to your sports organisation. This is because if a business transaction needs to be made with an organisation and you have a great relationship with the manager/ CEO of the organisation, having you negotiate the deal will be beneficial to the company. In case you are great at developing relationships with athletes, you could be a great sports agent or general manager for a sports team. Those jobs are greatly dependent on the networking skills that you have/ develop.
Building a great network within the sports industry is a great skill to have as it helps you further your career in the sports industry and makes you more valuable to a sports organisation. Networking is a very important aspect of the sports industry and you have to work on improving your networking skills and building your interpersonal skills to have a successful career in the sports industry. Even before you have a career in the sports industry, you can reach out to individuals in the sports industry to pick their minds and build relationships early on using platforms like LinkedIn. This will help improve your networking skills as well.
Pursuing a career in the sports industry – Conclusion :
In conclusion, these are the steps you need to take once you have decided to have a career in the sports industry. While there are 5 steps, it would be best, to begin with building your interpersonal skills and networking skills. Once you have developed those skills you can then work on identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Once that is done you can do your research on the sports industry and the various fields and opportunities that are available in the sports industry and then you can begin to study the sport you wish to be a part of at a higher level.
Ultimately you need to have a great deal of focus and determination to have a career in the sports industry. You need to make sure that you are productive and can contribute to the growth of a sports organisation to have a sustained and successful career in the sports industry. You need to be able to step out of your comfort zone and develop skills that are integral to a career in the sports industry. You also need to have a competitive spirit in order to be a part of the sports industry.
Despite following these steps there might be doubts in your mind regarding which field in the sports industry is the best fit for you. If you are unsure of which fields you would like to pursue a career in the sports industry, then Mad About Sports has just the thing you need. At Mad About sports, we offer interactions and courses with professionals in the sports industry to provide guidance and help you understand which field would be the best for you. To know more about having a career in the sports industry click on the link below :
Author : Aniruddh Sunil Kumar