Sports is typically an organized industry that caters to most athletes and their fans. Many sports careers don’t require you to be an active athlete. Jobs in the sports industry can be within any domain of business, such as marketing, PR, journalism, health and nutrition, event management, and commentary. In this article, Pritish Kumar Halder discusses different types of non-athletic careers in sports, explores their skills and salaries and describes the primary duties of these toles.
10 non-athletic careers in sports
The sports industry and fraternity employ several professionals in non-athletic careers in sports. In fact, these professionals constitute a majority of the industry. Here is a list of 10 non-athletic careers in sports that may interest you:
1. Sports journalist
Primary duties: Sports journalists report on the latest sports-related news, such as match scores, highlights of a match, venues and any news concerning the sportspersons about recent, current and upcoming events. Sports reports and journalists stay updated about all the latest happenings in the sports world and read or listen to sports news regularly. The job of a sports reporter is especially important because of the increase in demand for sports coverage and the public’s desire to know about their favourite sports personalities and their lives. Most leading publications and news channels have dedicated sports departments.
2. Sports commentator
Primary duties: A sports commentator, also known as a sports announcer, delivers a running commentary in real-time to the audience, viewers, and listeners of a game via radio or television. For those who cannot be physically present to watch the game, sports commentators help them stay updated on everything that is going on in the game. Sports commentators use their excellent communication skills, knowledge about the game, its history, the players, and the news to create an engaging experience for their listeners.
3. Sports writer
Primary duties: Sportswriters create informative and opinionated content about sports, sporting events, and sports personalities. They provide their analysis of games and share predictions about future matches based on their analysis and known factors that could influence games or players. Sports writers may write for various publications, such as magazines, newspapers, blogs, and websites. They may specialize in a particular sport or write about different sporting events while freelancing or working directly for a publishing company.
4. Sports photographer
Primary duties: A sports photographer takes photographs at live sporting events for magazines, newspapers, and websites. They use their expert knowledge and skills in photography and camera angles to take photographs of the players while they are in action on the field, moving fast and not deliberately posing for a picture. Photojournalists time and position themselves well in advance to capture the best moments in the game. Their main purpose is to capture the most important moments in the game and they may work for specific magazines, newspapers, sports organizations or teams.
5. Sports massage therapist
Primary duties: Sports massage therapists (SMT) provide physical or massage therapies and treatments to athletes before and after their sports activities or events. Their main purpose is to prevent injuries, treat any injuries that may have occurred while playing, increase flexibility and ease any pain or tension in the muscles. An SMT may also test and identify the problem areas in an athlete’s body. They are also usually the first ones to identify severe cases of injury or anything out of the ordinary with an athlete’s health.
6. Sports event coordinator
Primary duties: A sports event coordinator manages and coordinates all phases of a sporting event, including booking venues, managing vendors, adhering to a budget, coordinating with the media and arranging performers for entertainment. A sporting event is usually a large-scale event and a large number of people may attend it. An event coordinator uses excellent coordination and the ability to multitask to ensure that the event goes smoothly. They handle several aspects of sporting events like security, registration, ticketing, media, transportation and crowd management.
Primary duties: A referee monitors the game, calls out players who violate the rules and gives the final verdict when there is any dispute between players on the field. Referees arrive early to check on the players and ensure that they are ready for the game. They can also make decisions about the safety of the players on the field. If a player gets injured or hurt during the game, the referee can stop the game. He also acts as the time-keeper of the game and enforces fair play.
8. Exercise physiologist
Primary duties: Exercise physiologists design training plans according to the athlete’s body, regimen and any known injuries to help enhance their performance, fitness levels, strength and flexibility. They also help athletes in preventing injuries or healing any existing ones. They are usually an integral part of any sports team and unit and travel with the players for training and matches. Exercise equipment manufacturers may hire exercise physiologists to help design sports machinery.
9. Sports nutritionist
Primary duties: A sports nutritionist designs diet and nutrition plans that align with the strength and training programs of athletes. These plans aim to provide sportspeople with the necessary energy boost while being suitable for their typical body type and requirements. Sports nutritionists also suggest the right supplements suitable for the hectic training and traveling schedules that athletes usually follow. They may possess excellent counseling skills to help the athletes stay on track with their diet and nutrition plans.
10. Contract negotiator
Primary duties: Contract negotiators work as mediators to discuss and work out suitable deals between the athletes and teams or sports organisations. They are familiar with statutory and labour laws and keep their athlete client’s interests in mind while reading and drafting the fine print of a contract. They ensure compliance with the contracts between the two parties and may be a part of any discussions arising out of disputes concerning the agreements.
Skills required for non-athletic careers in sports
The requirements for most non-athletic careers in sports depend on your specific job title or role within the industry. But there are certain aspects that are going to be similar across all roles. Here are some skills required for individuals who wish to have non-athlete careers in sports:
Interest in sports
The most basic requirement is a deep fondness and passion for sports and games. It would be difficult for anyone who does not meet this condition to truly enjoy their profession and be successful in the sports industry. Most people who embark on this journey are already major sports enthusiasts, which is their motivation to work in this field.
Desire to stay updated with the latest in sports
It is important to be proactive and stay updated with the latest happenings in sports. You might want to follow sports news regularly and associated developments. If you are specialising in a specific type of sport, it is even more important to keep track of upcoming events, important dates and matches.
Penchant for travelling
It is important to have a love for travelling to pursue a non-athlete career in sports. Often, you may have to travel to locations where sports events are happening. Similarly, you can end up spending large stretches of time outside your home and away from family. If travelling is an activity that you do not enjoy, you might want to rethink your career decision.
Problem-solving skills are a critical element of these most non-athletic sports professions. Things usually move at a fast pace in the sports industry. It is essential you are swift and energetic, not just physically, but also able to think fast and make quick decisions when needed.