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How College Sports Prepares You for a Career

Tags:  Career advice, College degree

Okay, if you're thinking that that the only reason to play college sports is to try to get into the bigs and become a world-class financially successful mega sports star, think again. Yes, it can happen; however, not for everyone. And there are a lot of other reasons to play sports in college.

Immediate Physical and Mental Benefits

If you haven't already figured this out, college is stressful and your time away from your family can lead to a whole slew of bad habits (see the companion article Four Years and Five Bad Habits). One that many young adults slip into is not getting enough exercise and not taking enough personal time.

Studies have actually shown that participating in school sports can help reduce stress. In addition, it provides you with an emotional release allowing you to take your mind off your other pressures, it's good exercise and you get the opportunity to meet new people, all while having fun.

Long-Term Career Benefits

What many people don't consider when participating in college sports are the skills that you develop during the process.

Whether individual or team sports, well-trained athletes who engage in regular exercise benefit physically by establishing an exercise pattern that they can utilize throughout their lifetime. In addition, a well-disciplined athlete learns organization and commitment skills.

Team sports provide you an opportunity of camaraderie and friendship leading to better relationship building and teamwork skills. It can also help you develop your ability to network and form lifelong bonds that may benefit you later in life.

Career Opportunities in Sports

While many young athletes hope for a career as a professional player, there are limited slots available across all sports. So while you should definitely aim high, be prepared to look at other opportunities in the field of sports.

Other areas you might want to consider include general sports management, sports marketing, event management, physical training and sports medicine, legal and risk management, teaching or coaching and facility management. Here are just a few of the positions you might consider that will provide you the opportunity to work within the field of sports.

  • Athletic Trainer: Certified athletic trainers (ATC) are certified health care professionals who work with doctors to optimize physical activity for athletes. This profession requires an undergrad or graduate degree in an athletic training curriculum and 800 hours working in an internship with an ATC in addition to specific certification such as CPR. Check out the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
  • High School Coach: If you like teaching and have a background in athletics, consider a career as a high school coach. Your role would be to teach/train students in the techniques, rules, and strategies of their particular game. Depending on the school and program, along with your college degree, you will need hands-on experience and specialized training including training through the American Sport Education Program or you may want to check out the National High School Athletics Coaches Association.
  • Broadcast Coordinator: A broadcast coordinator provides you with the opportunity to work in radio operations along side the broadcast director. Generally requires a college degree and previous marketing, radio, media relations experience. 
  • Collegiate Scout: If you think you have what it takes to go out and find the sports talent that a college is looking for, you might want to consider a career as a collegiate scout. College coaches are always looking for the right high school talent and with your college degree and knowledge of and experience with your sport, this may be the route for you. Check out the National Collegiate Scouting Association.

Remember, participating in sports can build character and skills that you might not get elsewhere. And if you're an athlete who wants to pursue a career in sports or even if you just enjoy staying fit, participating in college sports can benefit you and your career. Keep that in mind when deciding whether to join the team.

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