Career In Sports

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." -- Heywood Broun

If you yearn to be a professional sportsperson, you will need to show plenty of character. Of course you would need an immense amount of skill. But it’s only dedication, hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity that will swing that little bit of luck in your favour that is necessary to turn an amateur into a professional. The grind gets easy to bear if you are driven by your love for the sport not just by your love for winning.

Road to becoming a Professional Sportsperson:

No matter what sport you are considering, to become a professional you will have to go through a similar route. You are likely to have already done a bit of the same thing already. You have most likely already learnt the rules of the game and explored and tested your skill in interschool or club competitions, and even possibly reached the peak of the level you play at currently. The journey going forward is likely to be similar. The only difference you will notice is that you will now be competing against those with similar skill levels as you, may be even better.

Success from here will depend on your realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, the ability to work with the strengths, to address the weaknesses, to organize your life around the sport, and to manage failure and competition. Your talent alone won’t take you too far. You will need to ride on your attitude if you wish to go the full distance.

For a sportsperson, there is nothing more important than his/her body. So even at the earlier stages of your career, you need to start taking care of your body. Eat the right things, exercise the right way, and stay as fit as possible.

Finally, you will need a great support system. You will need a good Coach who not only understands the game to coach you on it but also takes the pain to understand you as a person to be able to bring out the best in you. If you are driven to learn the game, work with your strengths and work around your weaknesses you will keep moving forward - from the school/college level to regional, state and national levels.

Organizations and Associations:

You cannot forget that one has to face a lot of obstacles before he/she becomes a professional sportsperson. There are many organizations and associations that provide aid and support through their sport specific programs to aspiring sportspersons. Government organizations such as the ‘All India Football Federation’ provide you with programs such as the ‘Grassroots Football Program’ for beginners in football amongst other programs. Some Government bodies such as the ‘Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports’ also provide assistance to talented sportspersons who have excelled in their sport within their respective categories.

Such organizations and associations help you on your road to success and provide you with professional and monetary assistance. As a sportsperson, it is important to take part in the programs that are organized by these associations and federations as they help you gain exposure and improve your skills.

Government Assistance:

The opportunities for sports people are very limited. The competitive nature of the career requires the need to insure against failure. To overcome the unpredictability, Government provides players with a ‘Sports Quota’ through which you can get jobs in the Income Tax Department, The Indian Railways, and The Indian Postal Service among others. Even colleges and universities provide you with a sports quota that allows you to gain admission into a university on the basis of your sporting skills. Such help from the Government makes sports as a career a much more viable and secure option. Make use of these privileges available to you.

Life of a sportsperson:

A Sportsperson has to be an extremely focused individual who should have the ability to lead a strict and disciplined life. You need to be patient and have nerves of steel, as there will be times when you will face rejection and self – doubt. You need to believe in yourself and keep working hard. One needs to have Physical and mental toughness along with extraordinary sporting ability to become a sportsperson. Without talent and ability, one can never become successful.  

The career span of a sportsperson is short and riddled with uncertainty. As you move forward, you will figure out where you stand. Since you are capable of far more than you can imagine, you may have the capacity within you to plan for an alternate backup career option. It’s wise to have a fall back plan in your mind. You may however decide a time frame to act on it seriously. Degrees like B.A in Physical Education or a B.Sc in Physical Education and Sports can serve as an effective back up option, as it will allow you to remain connected to your sport even if you don't make it.

Alternative career options:

There are many alternative career options that are related to sports in areas such as Broadcasting, Sports Journalism, Player Management, Statistician, Officiating, Sports Psychologist etc. All these are secure career options and well paying. They will let you remain connected to the sport you love and at the same time make a successful career for yourself even if you don’t become a professional sportsperson.

Find out about the Top 7 Physical Careers.

Even though it is a long road to success which is filled with obstacles, there are some who will jump above all hurdles, dodge past all opponents and hit the bulls – eye. It’s important as you set out to build a career as a professional sportsperson that you can visualize yourself being the one.

Sports related careers

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.