In Summary - Sports Professional
Sports Professionals typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Sports Professional
Sports professionals are people who earn money from playing sport in front of an audience. There are a wide variety of sports that can be played at a professional level, ranging from snooker and horse racing to rugby league and golf.
For the majority of people the amount of money they earn from their sport is not enough to live on. They must combine their sporting activities with a paid job.
Sports professionals spend most of their time practising the skills of their chosen sport. This skills training is combined with fitness training in order to improve performance. Most have coaches who teach them new skills, help them improve existing skills and keep them motivated.
Professionals who play a team sport practise their skills with other team members. Sport professionals have to train regularly and have to follow strict advice about diet and lifestyle.
Skill and fitness training have to be undertaken in the lead up to participation in matches or competitions. These may be just one match or race, as in league football, or a tournament made up of a series of matches. Successful competitors who win their matches may play several times over a period of days or weeks.
After some time off to recover, sports professionals return to their training regime. Some sports are not played all year round, so sports professionals may have time off out of season.
Top level sportspeople are often paid by companies to promote their products. This may involve some discussion with company representatives, possibly via a promoter or manager who looks after the sportsperson's interests. It may also be necessary to appear in publicity shots or adverts and give interviews to television and radio stations.
Most sports professionals spend a considerable amount of time travelling to competitions. Some sports, for example, tennis, require players to spend most of the year travelling from one competition to the next, nationally and internationally.
In several of the more physical or contact sports, the average career may be only 10-15 years. Many professionals have finished their playing careers by the time they are in their late twenties and early thirties. Some go on to opportunities in coaching, management or broadcasting.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Attend scheduled practice or training sessions.
- Participate in athletic events or competitive sports, according to established rules and regulations.
- Exercise or practice under the direction of athletic trainers or professional coaches to develop skills, improve physical condition, or prepare for competitions.
- Maintain equipment used in a particular sport.
- Maintain optimum physical fitness levels by training regularly, following nutrition plans, or consulting with health professionals.
- Assess performance following athletic competition, identifying strengths and weaknesses and making adjustments to improve future performance.
- Receive instructions from coaches and other sports staff prior to events, and discuss their performance afterwards.
- Represent teams or professional sports clubs, performing such activities as meeting with members of the media, making speeches, or participating in charity events.
- Lead teams by serving as captain.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Developing and Building Teams Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interests - Sports Professional
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
It is essential to be exceptionally talented in a particular sport as competition for entry is intense. If you want to compete at professional level, you must be dedicated to achieving success. Training schedules are long and tiring and consequently, many professional sportspeople find it affects their social life.
Inevitably, sometimes even the best sportspeople do not play to their full potential and lose competitions. Therefore, you must have the self-confidence and determination to carry on competing.
Self-motivation is also important to compete in what can sometimes be a highly pressurised profession. Added to this is the pressure of injury that could put a sudden end to a sporting career.
Entry Requirements - Sports Professional
Pay & Salary - Sports Professional
Salary Range (thousands per year)* k - k
Pay rates for sports professionals vary widely depending on the sport, and the level played.
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Sports Professional
The vacancy data indicates that job opportunities exist for fitness instructors, although no shortages have been identified in this area.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Sports Professional
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
- Head Office, 44 Kildare St, Dublin 2
- LoCall 0761 001 601 (+ 353 1 670 7444 outside Ireland)
- Click Here