As youngsters, most of us aspire to become globally famous, high-paid, superstar athletes. As we see our names in fictitious spotlights, we picture the excitement of winning Stanley Cups, Champions Leagues, and Super Bowls.
We envision ourselves playing in Gretzky, Messi, and Jordan replica jerseys on the playground. Each three-pointer, goal, and touchdown we score is a preview of future triumphs to come.
However, it never turns out that way for 90% of us. Few people reach that elite, exclusive level, whether due to a lack of athletic ability, a particular career-ending injury, or simply a lack of opportunities.
Fortunately, there are other ways to stand toe to toe with the greatest athletes in the world. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dreams of having a professional sports career are over just because you didn’t quite make it on the pitch, court, or ice.
Many other sports-based professions allow you to make a living within the sports industry. So, in light of this, here are a few lucrative sports-based career options for non-athletes.
Coaches don’t need prior professional playing experience, as many start their careers at the entry-level, acquiring progressively esteemed credentials and nurturing cutting-edge coaching techniques that can improve player development.
Coaches typically instruct players about rules while fostering sportsmanship and accountability. They devise game strategies and do everything possible to ensure their players play at their maximum potential.
Coaches typically begin their careers by helping head coaches, and after gaining enough expertise, they start coaching alone. To become a professional coach, candidates must hold a campus-based or an online sports management degree. That being said, a coach’s salary can vary depending on the sports they are in.
For instance, according to Zippia.com, American soccer coaches earn an average salary of around $43,616.
Like coaches, individuals don’t need any previous professional playing experience in their chosen sports to work as scouts.
Andre Villas-Boas, a Portuguese football coach, is an example of this. When he first began playing, he would write thorough scouting reports through his neighbor Sir Bobby Robson’s letterbox, the manager of Porto at that time.
Porto’s youth team hired the 16-year-old after Robson, who was greatly pleased, offered him a role. He then moved up to the senior team and, eventually, management, where he gained notoriety for the nature of his scouting reports.
Of course, this is an exception rather than the rule, as scouting is a cutthroat industry, and candidates might work for little pay or even for free to develop expertise as scouts.
But if you can provide something distinctive and identify traits, skills, and flaws that others might have missed, many professional teams may be eager to hire you.
3. Statistician/ Data Analyst
Professional sport is only just catching up to the tremendous need for data experts in today’s workplace. In fact, corporations are eager to adopt any strategy that could provide them an advantage in a situation where even the tiniest of details can be the difference between losing and winning.
Their conclusions may be used to evaluate athletes’ physiological performance levels, identify or highlight the advantages and disadvantages of rivals, or even direct the organization’s entire hiring procedure.
Following the success of the stat-heavy “Moneyball” technique, which Harvard economics graduate Paul DePodesta promoted (turned into a Hollywood movie later on), this approach has, in fact, gained popularity in recent years.
4. Journalist/ Sports Broadcaster
Talking about a game is the only activity that sports enthusiasts appreciate more than watching a game. This means a sizable media market exists for sports bloggers, broadcasters, and journalists eager to share their forecasts, observations, and opinions about their chosen sports.
In fact, several websites, print media, and even entire TV channels are devoted to nothing but sharing views about a particular game or sport. So, ultimately, there is no lack of platforms on which to accomplish this.
While universities and colleges now offer courses specifically for sports journalism, most professionals begin their careers with a degree in journalism. The next step would be to obtain experience in the workplace through an internship with a media company.
With more experience, more career opportunities might become available, albeit a lot depends on your output’s quality and style and your ability to get it noticed by major media outlets.
Few jobs have the same potential for financial reward as becoming a sports agent, especially if your aspirations for athletic success have always been fueled by money. Professional sports has been inundated with shrewd negotiators who want to make a fast buck, particularly after Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire set the norm for unethical, sunglasses-wearing, convertible-driving sports agents in the mid-1990s.
Many have also succeeded, including “super-agent” Mino Raiola. When French soccer star Paul Pogba transferred from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016, he received a staggering £41 million cut.
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portuguese advisor Jorge Mendes was given an entire Greek island as a birthday gift.
In theory, anyone can work as a sports agent. While sophisticated negotiating abilities and an understanding of contract law are a good place to start, the capacity to create and manage networks is as crucial.
Additionally, you will require a license, which is often handled and governed by the regulating body of your preferred sport.
6. Umpire/ Referee
Why not become an umpire or referee if you lack the necessary talent to play but still want to be in the center of the action? You’ll be well compensated, but you’ll also need to be physically fit, knowledgeable about the nuances and laws of your chosen activity, and able to react quickly under pressure. For instance, NFL umpires typically earn an average salary of around $173,000 for a full season.
That said, you will have to start at the bottom and work your way up, gaining a thorough understanding of the laws as you go. Eventually, with experience, you could be chosen to be retained by your sport’s main leagues full-time.
In the end, you may never be able to achieve your lifelong dream of scoring the winning goal in the cup final. However, assisting someone else in accomplishing the same is an excellent alternative.
There is no reason why you can’t work with the world’s greatest athletes. At the end of the day, who knows, you might even meet your heroes if you have the ambition to achieve and the ability to recognize opportunities.