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Posted at: Apr 11, 2018, 12:09 AM; last updated: Apr 11, 2018, 12:09 AM (IST)

A game played well

A game played well

Usha Albuquerque

Barely hours after the Commonwealth Games opened with a flourish in the Gold Coast of Australia, India already grabbed the headlines with shining Gold and silver medals and the country’s winning spree continues till now. In fact, this time at the CWG, India is expected to better its medal tally with a larger number of talented and professional athletes participating. Victories such as these, along with cricket, football and hockey successes the year round, give many a youngster motivation to take up a career in sports. With more and more money coming into sports, and media attention and interest, those with potential and talent can now seriously consider a professional  sporting career. Awards, rankings, prize money, sponsorships, scholarships, contracts, endorsements, revenue from TV telecasts have all boosted the prospects for careers in sport. 

Giving a further fillip has been the introduction and the proliferation of sports leagues with numerous exciting matches attracting media attention not only to the Sport itself, but also to the hidden talent of unknown sportspersons, apart from providing players an additional source of income. What started with Cricket, Indian Premier league (IPL) and the Champions League T-20,  has now spread to cover  football — Indian Super League, Badminton — Indian Badminton League, Hockey — India Hockey League, Kabaddi — Pro Kabbadi League,  and many more sports leagues to come. 

Professional Sports

So can you make a career in sports? 

Yes, if you have the talent and are willing to put in a great deal of effort and dedication. To be successful in the sports arena today you require lot of physical and mental energy and stamina, patience, perseverance, a sporting spirit, and a huge commitment to the game, besides possessing the ability and talent to excel at a national/international level. 

Today several sports offer good possibilities for those with talent. While there are sports associations supporting many different sports, it is cricket, badminton, tennis, football, and golf that have received  major sponsorships, and government and private sector support. Today there are several academies and institutes that select and train talent for practically every sport. But all this training does not come cheap. Besides the fee to be paid, these associations  bring out qualified foreign trainers to mould promising youngsters to international levels.  Sports equipment, too, is expensive. In some cases a few select sportsmen are provided with professional coaching and all their costs, including boarding and lodging are taken care of by the sponsor, but only after they have reached a national level. In most cases parents have shelled out for these expenses in the hope that their investment in the child will pay in time.

There are many opportunities for a career in sports — whether as a professional national/ international level player, or in the numerous athletic disciplines related to sports, such as training and coaching, umpiring and reporting, sports management, or manufacturing of sporting goods.

Can you still make it in sports if you are not a national-level player ? 

While only a limited number of sports persons make a full-time living out of professional sports, those interested in the sports arena yet unable to get to the national level can also look forward to a career in sports.

Physical training/Coaches

Trained coaches are in demand at all the training centres set up by SAI and by state and central sports bodies. There are coaches for each game and athletic event. Normally a coach selects potential players, determines the potential player’s physical and mental abilities, and through a well designed training programme and specialized techniques on and off the field helps raise the athlete’s ability  to the maximum. Often coaches are professional or national level sports persons themselves who understand the psychology of sports and provide the necessary guidance to players. Coaches often accompany players during tournaments, and by  observing and studying the opponent players help the player develop strategies to counter an opponent’s game 

Coaches can also find openings in sports clubs, schools and colleges and as in-house coaches for corporate sports teams, and to take responsibility for the maintenance of gymnasiums and sports equipment. Sports persons on retiring from active play can also look forward to satisfying jobs in assignments such as umpires and referees or to organise games and tournaments and events For this, appointments or certification by recognised state or national bodies is required. 

Physical education instructors conduct physical training classes and train students in calisthenics, gymnastics and other physical exercises to promote strength and fitness, or to reduce and correct bodily posture in games and athletics. For the training of coaches, there is also the Diploma in Coaching in different sports disciplines for graduates proficient in some sports at national or international level, and the Bachelor in Physical Education, a three-year course for school leavers. 

Sports Management

A specialist area becoming increasingly popular today is the area of Sports Management. Today practically all successful players of sport have their own personal managers who keep a track of their clients' schedules, look after activities such as their career progression, talent management, business promotion, licensing management, endorsements, sponsorships, sports marketing as well as media and public relations. International companies like IMG and PMG are some of the names in this arena, but there is also Globosport promoted by Mahesh Bhupathi, Percept Sports, GroupM, Decathalon Sports India, among others. 

Further, you don’t  need to be a sportsman to get into sports management. If your career in sports has been cut short, or you have a passion for sport but not national level talent, an MBA in sports management can certainly take you places. Clubs, hotels and resorts that have sports facilities and leisure centers, also employ Sport Managers who have a knowledge, interest and expertise in sports. Many private and government sponsored sports institutions employ qualified officials to plan and manage sports activities and events. They can also get on to state and national bodies in the area of administration.

Health Clubs & Gyms

With the growing interest in health and fitness there is an increasing demand for trained physical education instructors at health clubs and gymnasiums. Clubs, holiday and sports resorts and hotels take on PE/sports coaches for training their clientele, as well as for organising and maintaining the sports facilities provided. There is also great scope for private enterprise in this field.

Sports Journalism

Those with communication skills like popular Navjot Singh Sidhu  and Ravi Shastri, can take on sports commentating, or sports journalism, working with television, newspapers or magazines that have a sports column or programme. Harsha Bhogle may not have got to national level in sports, but his passion for sports and excellent articulation has certainly helped him reach there in sports television.

There are many opportunities for the sports minded. Sports goods manufacturers often require sports persons for marketing, or developing sports goods. Sports photographers are also much in demand, particularly when major sports events are held.

Institutes that impart sports education are:

  • Panjab University, Chandigarh
  • Gujarat University, Ahmedabad
  • Bangalore University
  • University of Calcutta 
  • University of Delhi 
  • Benares Hindu University. 
  • Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak
Training in sports/physical education

For those wanting to undergo a formal education in sports, the Laxmibai National College of Physical Education at Gwalior and at Thiruvanthapuram, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Delhi conduct Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses in physical education, sports medicine and research  in sports, as well as a range of other training programmes:. 

  • Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala
  • Laxmibai National College of Physical Education, Gwalior  and Thiruvanthapuram, 
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Delhi
  • Sports Authority of India

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