Across the world, hundreds of millions of people could be considered sports enthusiasts of some kind. Some of the most recognisable names and faces in the world are elite athletes in major sports – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in football, LeBron James in basketball, Roger Federer and Serena Williams in tennis, the list goes on.
Yet for every professional athlete who makes it to the top, there are hundreds if not thousands of others who had the talent or the passion for the game but didn’t make it to the highest level. Sometimes, an athlete’s career gets cut short due to lack of financial support, or an unfortunate injury. Others might have lost out to stiff competition in the professional leagues.
If you’re among the many one-time or aspiring athletes who now have to find an alternative career path, the easiest way forward is to play to your strengths. Here are some career options where you can best apply your skills, competitive drive, and passion for sports to find fulfilment and success.
Your background as an athlete allows you to draw upon countless hours of physical exercise and nutrition management. With a health coach diploma course, you can formalise your expertise into a business, and develop a successful practice as a fitness trainer, tapping a vast base of potential customers who are all interested in improving their physical fitness and maintaining a healthy diet.
There may be no other job that better fits a competitive nature than coaching the next generation of athletes. There’s a demand for coaches in all sports at every level, starting in school and moving on to various levels of professional play. You can also narrow down your focus to aspects such as strength building, conditioning, or specific skills improvement, and work as a consultant in this capacity for professional players or teams.
Not all sports enjoy the same level of exposure as major league team sports, but you don’t have to be on broadcast TV or radio, or get published in a major magazine or daily, to be a successful sports journalist. Many online sports blogs and social media channels enjoy a devoted following and need someone with excellent communications and in-depth knowledge of the game.
Marketing and public relations
A sports background can be precisely the sort of ticket you need to get into a marketing or PR agency. Your knowledge of the ins and outs of the sports industry will make you an ideal candidate for coordinating sporting events, managing an athlete’s or team’s image and relationships, and other logistics involved in running athletic enterprises.
People across the sporting world are becoming increasingly aware of the stress experienced by athletes, and mental health can be a concern at every level. Athletes rehabbing from injury can be particularly prone to these issues. If you study to become a licensed sports psychologist, your experience as a former athlete can make you the best possible professional to provide this sort of treatment to current athletes.
With your well-trained understanding of physiology and movement, you can also pursue an education that will lead to work in occupational therapy. This lets you serve a wide range of people from different walks of life who are injured, ill, or otherwise disabled, helping them to improve and recover their functions for a healthy life.
Even if you didn’t become a world-famous superstar, you could leverage your passion and competencies as an athlete to continue to succeed and do meaningful work in these and other career opportunities.