There are a number of professions in sports and related to it, but to excel in them one has to go though professional training and education. If looking for education and training as a sports person, one way to approach training is to start early and get admission in one of the Sports Authority of India ( SAI ) centers at the State level and then gradually move up.
Career in Sports Physical Education :
The basic course for trainers and coaches is formal education in Physical Education that is also graded from the basic level and moving up to the Doctorate level. Even otherwise, a degree in Physical education comes very handy for those seeking a long career in sports and affiliated fields. A number of government colleges also run full time courses in physical education right up to the doctorate level. A basic structure of sports education in India may look like as under
- NIS Diploma
- Bachelor in Physical Education ( BPE )
- Masters in Physical Education ( MPE )
- MPhil Physical Education
- Doctorate in Physical Education.
Career in Sports Management :
There are options available in Sports management too, with the Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management being the course offered most widely. However, after getting the Postgraduate Diploma in sports management, it’s still not possible to get MBA in Sports management which one can get from a number of universities in the western countries. The broad areas covered under courses in sports management are as under
Career in Sports Administration :
- Managerial Principles
- Organizational Behaviour and Sports Psychology
- Theory, Philosophy and Sociology of sport
- Sports Economics
- Sports Finance
- Sports Marketing
- Business and Government including monetary and fiscal policy
- Sponsorship and Broadcasting
- Sports Science
- Sports Journalism and Public Relations
- Sports Law
- Quantitative Methods, Research Methodology and Sports Statistics
- Project Work and Practical Training and Development of Sporting Talent.
Career in Sports Institutes in India :
Some of the centers where one can get Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management are :
- Alagappa University, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu,
- Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, New Delhi.
Both these are government recognized and offer one year program in Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management. Eligibility for the study in Alagappa university is successful completion of BPE and NIS diploma exams.
For studying PGDSM from Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, New Delhi, Eligibility requirement is achievements in the field of sports and Bachelors degree with minimum 40 percentage marks. Sports management is becoming fashionable course in many private institutions too. In the Eastern region, Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business management, Kolkata, offers Postgraduate Diploma course in Sports management.
Career in Sports Learning Centers :
The premier learning and training institute for sports persons in India is run by the Sports Authority of India.
Sports Authority of India :
The Sports Authority of India ( SAI ) is a national level body set up to encourage and develop young sports talents in the country. It was set up in the year 1984 to promote sports ad sporting talents in the country and is considered a successor to the 1984 Asian Games held at New Delhi.
The SAI has a number of sports facilities and stadiums under it in the capital that include Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Indira Gandhi Stadium ( Indoor ) and Yamuna Velodrone, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Dr.Shyam Prasad Mookherjee Swimming Pool Complex, Dr.Karni Singh Shooting Ranges etc.
Besides these, SAI also runs two centers of excellence at Patiala and Thiruvananthpuram, SAI runs various programs at the state level too and the minimum qualification is 10 plus two, SAI hostels are considered best places in India to train in sports and there are a number of sports scholarships available for deserving candidates.
Netaji Subhash Institute of Sports Patiala :
Netaji Subhash Institute of Sports, Patiala ( NSIS ) is also known as the ‘Mecca’ of sports training in India and is housed in a huge palatial building and sprawling lawns. It is Asias largest sports Institute.
Government of India spares no end in bringing some of the best coaches from around the world. To give an example, boxing is catching up fast with Indian youngsters and players like Vijender, Suranjoy and Akhil have done India proud.
The success in boxing goes a lot to the NSIS boxing center where top coaches from Cuba ( widely considered the best boxing country in the world ) have regularly been giving coaching. NSIS Patiala also runs Centres of Excellence in 4 sports disciplines of Athletics, Cycling, Judo and Hockey.
Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education Thiruvanathpuram :
The Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram was established in the year 1985. It runs under the auspices of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The college is affiliated to the University of Kerala and its academic wing is at par with the NSIS Patiala.
Career in Sports Programs :
- Bachelor of Physical Education ( BPE ) ( 3 years )
- Master of Physical Education ( MPE ) ( 2 years )
- Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Fitness Management ( PGDHFM ) ( 1 Year )
- Besides SAI there are other good training centers as well.
- Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education ( LNUPE )
The Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior came into existence in the year 1957. It started as an affiliated college to the Vikram University as LCPE, moved on to become LNIPE as Deemed University and finally became LNUPE. It came under administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in the year 2000. It also carries a number of courses beginning at the diploma, certificate level to research degrees.
Young Mens Christian Association – College of Physical Education Tamil Nadu :
YMCA College of Physical Education is affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University and was founded in the year 1920. It is also considered a pioneer in physical education for student, trainers and coaches. It is a project of National Council of YMCAs of India. The college offers a number of programs in physical education both for girls and boys.
List of Some of the top Places for Sports Education and Training in various parts of India :
- Alagppa University, KaraiKudi ( Tamil Nadu )
- Andhra University: College of Arts and Commerce, Vishakhpatnam
- Awadesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa, ( Madhya Pradeh )
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Bharathiyar University, Coiambatore
- Dr.Babasaheb Nandurkar College of Physical Education, Yavatmal, Maharashtra
- Dr.Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar, Madhya Pradeh
- Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, Delhi
- Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior, Madhya Pradeh
- Queen Marys College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati, Maharashtra
Most importantly, to be successful in sports one has to have commitment, passion, hard work, discipline, energy, enthusiasm, team management skills, good communication and leadership qualities besides the required skills in sports. All these can be developed and honed and if one is ready for the hard work, a great career beckons.
From the early Roman days when sports in the Olympics was a glorious spectacle to today’s ultra managed events like modern Olympics sport has come a long way in terms of both scale and management. To give an example, the organizing committee of the Beijing Olympics put an advertisement to recruit as many as one lakh volunteers to work in various centres.
And this is just the number of volunteers, we are not talking about the actual administrators and managers and workers required for the event, the coaches and the support staffs attached with the various contingents, referees and umpires, medical support staff, journalists who covered the event, the public relations managers and other media staff and so on.
And unlike the temporary volunteers, these are full time professionals who enjoy the intricacies of their respective trades.
The vast exercise of Olympics is an epitome example of sports requirements and as said earlier, it’s not once – in – four – years opportunity only but requires year around preparation and full time devotion.
Let’s have another example to understand the various aspects of sports as a profession. When the Indian cricket team toured Australia recently, other than the players there was a huge retinue of sport professionals on the tour.
With the team there was a main coach, ( Duncan Fletcher ), manager, bowling coach, physiotherapist, physical trainers, mental conditioning coach ( another word for sports psychologist ), masseur, video analyst ( to record video footage of players and analyse the problem areas etc ), liaison officer, media manager and a selector to help in team selection. And of course there was a huge contingent of Indian media travelling with the team that included correspondents, photographers and video journalists.
So let’s have a look at the alternative career available in sport.
Coaching / Training :
Coaching is a well respected and a much needed profession. Coaching at the top level, national and international, usually requires a lot of experience. Such coaches themselves have long and rich experience as players themselves. Thus coaching at the top is a viable option for retired sports persons. This also helps a top level athlete to prolong his or her career as a sportsperson’s life as a player is limited.
It is important to note here that one doesn’t have to be a world record holder himself to produce a new world champion. It is usually the deep understanding of the game, its finesse and man management that qualifies a good coach. However coaching also is not limited to top professionals only and with the emergence of sports and fitness, a wide number of jobs are available as trainers that cannot be ignored.
For one the educational institutes, schools and colleges employ physical trainers who are usually referred to as PGTs and TGTs. Parents nowadays are preferring schools that offer a lot of physical activities like yoga, swimming, horse riding, etc. other than regular games and sports. All these activities require trained coaches and trainers.
Other than that a large number of trainers are employed by fitness centres and institutes. Also there is a growing demand for skilled trainers to work on personal basis as well.
Umpiring / Refereeing :
Games and sports are rule specific and need a judge to oversee that the game runs in its true laws and spirit. Other than having solid judgement for the game, a referee needs to be physically and mentally fit as well. He or she needs to be in control of the game and while being strict also has to show reserves of calm and patience. It is often said that umpiring is a thankless job as an umpire or referee is not judged by their right decisions but by their mistakes. Often a mistake ruins all the good work done through the course of the game. It is important to accept that mistake is only human error and one cannot be perfect. But within the realms of these heavy expectations, if one excels under stress and enjoys challenges, few careers can be a rewarding as judging the game.
It helps if one has played the game, but it isn’t essential to be a top umpire. There are a number of training academies for coaches usually run by their respective sport federations. Usually the coaches are graded level 1, 2, 3 and 4 according to their skills and experience. State and national sports organisations employ umpires and referees. They also work as freelancers, having a full time job and working in their spare time as referees.
Career in Sports Medicine :
It is one aspect where there is acute shortage of trained personnel.
Doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians, nutritionists, etc. are very much required to build, maintain and monitor optimum physical fitness.
During the course of play also physios are needed to treatminor injuries, sprains etc.
Doctors are also needed to train athletes on list of banned substances and to educate them on avoiding illegal drugs intake. Sometimes even common medicines may interfere with blood samples hence a sportsperson has to be well educated on what to take and what to avoid according to the WADA guidelines. All these and more are the roles of a sports medicine expert.
Sports medicine experts are also employed by rehabilitation centres, health clubs etc.
Career in Sports Media :
Media has grown manifold in sports and even its role and functions have grown with time.
Earlier while a few reporters and one or two still camera person were enough to cover an event, now their numbers have gone to hundreds. Media is a fast growing industry in India and huge spurt in number of newspapers and television channels have only grown the need for trained media persons.
Career in Sports Journalism :
Most of the newspapers and TV channels have strong sports team nowadays. Normal strength of a sports desk is around 10 people that include sports editor, correspondents on various beats, sub – editors, anchors, page designers etc. Usually the entry into sports journalism is as a trainee reporter or trainee sub – editor and one moves up from there. Journalists are given fixed beats to cover, like cricket, football, tennis, athletics, Olympic sports, hockey etc. Sometimes these are rolling beats and everyone gets to cover all in a cycle. A sport journalist is expected to be hands on the intricacies of the game and to be in good contact with the sports persons and administrators of his particular beat.
There is growing trend to adopt sports journalism as a career and to sum it up in the words of a colleague who covers cricket, “People pay to watch cricket matches, I get paid to watch them”.
Other than reporting, there is also option of becoming sports commentator which is a highly paying job but the requirements for live commentators are only a few.
Career in Sports Photo Journalist :
Action photographs are lifeline for a sports story and brilliant photographers are worth their weight in gold in media houses. They try to tell the story in pictures and other than being at their creative best, they also need to be at the right place in the right time.
With the advent of TV and sports channels, sports camerapersons are in huge demand. They cover for news bulletins and programs and also are required for live coverage. Once again live coverage is a very responsible job and requires great experience and expertise.
Career in Sports PR Professionals :
A number of Public Relations agencies have sprung up in the field of sports which require PR professionals with a passion for sports. Sports federations need PR managers, event organisers need PR managers and even sports persons themselves need PR experts to guide them in the media field. Events like IPL and F1 have opened doors for a huge number of PR managers who work exclusively for sports.
Career in Sports Administrators and Managers :
Able sports administrators are required for maintaining and running sport federations and organisations. As sport becomes increasingly professional, the requirement for trained managers and administrators is only bound to increase. Right now job opportunities exist in both public and private sector.
This is not an exhaustive list of careers available in sport, just an indicator of current professional trends. Besides if one gets creative, other avenues like sports tourism, academies manufacturing equipment’s etc. are also available for those with entrepreneur bend of mind.
Sport in India has really come a long way from being a voluntary pastime to a rewarding career that it is today.
Sports come naturally to some people, but to most others it could still be developed at least to a reasonable level with proper techniques and training. In the evolution of man from hunters to the modern day, activities such as running, throwing or even warding off physical dangers have come to reflect today in the sports that we play.
Sport is an exciting and healthy pastime to many, but if sport is really ones passion it can be a very rewarding and satisfying career too.
If one has to look at the growth and development of sport in India, 1982 was a water shed year. The Asian Games hosted at Delhi provided new infrastructure like modern stadia and holistic and fulsome training and coaching structure with the onset of Sports Authority of India. Media covered the Games in a big way and television beamed matches live to homes.
All these aspects were replicated at a much higher scale and magnitude during the Common Wealth Games in 2010 providing spurt to sport on the whole in the country.
India : Emerging Sports Destination :
In between India has hosted numerous other big ticket sporting events like the two cricket world cups ( 1996 and 2011 ), formula one race, yearly ATP event the Chennai Open Tennis etc.
Besides top football clubs like Bayern Munich have come to India along with the Argentina football team.
This is also happening partly because India is seen as a major emerging sport destination having untapped potential both in terms of player talents and a huge market.
Then there are successful players like Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra, RVS Rathore, Sushil Kumar, Viswanathan Anand, Mary Kom and many others who have raised the profile of sports people in India and have attracted youth to take up their respective games as a full time passion.
All this has resulted in a huge demand for people in sport.
The growth is happening two fold. At one level, government through the National Sports Policy is investing heavily in sports and also by organizing top events the facilities are getting better every day.
Secondly, growth has also accelerated because of the private sector realizing sport as an important part of not only their corporate social responsibility ( CSR ) but also a valid investment for their own promotion.
Private sports regulatory bodies like the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI ) with the successful organization of the Indian Premier league have showed the way for other sport federations too to look for corporate sponsored events.
Approach for Sports Career :
It is always good to identify career in sports as young as one can. This is more crucial if one is aspiring to be a sports person.
One of the better options to look for training is the various facilities of the Sports Authority of India. More about SAI is discussed later in the article. Usually the entry is at the 12th level. One can begin career at the amateur level and start participating in the State level, regional level and finally graduate to the National level.
While SAI is at the National level, it has various State level branches that cater to the regional sport talents. Other than this there are various State level organizations that look after nurturing sporting talents.
In most cases, the government bears the cost of training and in bringing in top level coaches. For example, the SAI centre in Patiala has four core disciplines like boxing and often coaches from Cuba and other countries are hired to provide best training. Obviously, government bears the cost for these coaches and other training facilities. Most of the SAI programs also have scholarships and student supports and students can also look for financial assistance.
Age Group Competitions are a Good Starting Point for a Beginner Sports Person.
As said above, being a sports person is not the only option available. One can train to be a coach, physiotherapist, sports medicine practitioner, physical trainers, sports journalist, public relations practitioner, sports manager, administrator, sports event managers and so on.
Eligibility for Career in Sports :
Physical and Mental Traits Required
If spotted and trained early, almost everyone among us has the talent to excel in some sport at a reasonable level. But to some people sport come naturally and it becomes their passion as well. If one is passionate about sport that is the first starting point.
Sport is career that requires lifetime of dedication and there is no point entering the field half – heartedly.
Most of the games require strong physical attributes. This doesn’t mean that one has to be born with it, the whole purpose of training and coaching is to attune the body to its optimum level and imbibe the excellence in skills for top results. One definitely has to be physically strong, agile and flexible among other qualities and for that the very basic eligibility is the ability to work hard on fitness.
Strong work ethics and perseverance are the key qualities that will take a person far ahead in his or her sporting career.
But sport is not physical only, coaches around the world will tell that games are played between the years, that is, they are high on mental quotient as well.
One has to be tough mentally, show a lot of patience at the sport, have a right mix of aggression and cool mindedness and be intelligent enough to grab the little chances that come their way and use it to come out the winner. That’s what separates a champion from the also – rans, the margin is thin.
Sport is a great teacher in life and the biggest characteristic coaches want their wards to imbibe is the ‘spirit of the game or the sporting spirit. It is not something tangible, but it comes out from respect for the opponents and spirit of fair play.
Sport also builds team spirit and bonding and leadership qualities as well.
These are few of the physical and mental aspects that a sports person seeks to learn, build and improve throughout their careers.
Career in Professional Sports Prospects :
There are various exciting careers available for people pursuing sport and it is not limited to playing the game actively as the only professional prospect available to them.
Other than being a player, one can be coach, trainer, journalist, medicine practitioner, etc. Some of the most popular professional and job prospects are enlisted below.
Career in Sports Person :
If one excels in a particular sport and has the right work ethics, few other professions can be as satisfying as that of a sports person.
Just like Elena Isinbayeva, the famous polevaulter, one has to keep raising the bar and if successful, the joy and pride that comes through by it can be hardly found anywhere else.
Every game has its National team, and that is where a young athlete / sports person should aim to find a place in.
Once a career as a sports person is identified, one has to gradually move up the ladder with intensive training and hard work.
Playing right at the top, at the international level is immensely rewarding. One is usually paid well to lead a good life. Besides, there are sponsorships and jobs, both government and private reserved for sports person of high calibre.
The range of monetary benefits vary a lot from sport to sport. Games like Cricket, Golf, Motor Sports, Tennis, international football, etc. are highly paid.
While most of the other games may not get one millions but still something that is above average.
Money however is never the first aim and is not the only reward for sports persons.
The pride, joy and self – fulfillment that come with bringing top honours for oneself and the country at large is irreplaceable.
Also a lot of government jobs are assured for sports persons at the national level.
A sports persons playing career doesn’t last lifetime. But once active playing is over, one can look for coaching, managing and other jobs.