Staying in the World of Sports After Your Athletic Career is Over - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren


It can be hard to say goodbye to the sport you love when the lights go out in the stadium for the last time. But just because your time as a player up does not mean you can't find a rewarding career path that puts you right back in the action.

There are many jobs that former athletes are well suited to hold. Many of them bring qualified professionals right back to the field, albeit in a different capacity. In this article, we take a look at several of the many careers that will allow you to stay in the world of sports after your athletic career is over.

Coaching

Coaching is the obvious next step for the retired college or even professional athlete. Not only does having a competitive sports background make you well-positioned to stand out amongst other applicants, but it should also mean that you are more aware of various drills and training exercises that help competitive teams find success on the field.

high school basketball coach
High school coach Matt Stuck

Coaching as a career path can be challenging. The majority of jobs are part-time, and most coaches have to work another job to pay the bills. Former athletes who wish to pursue a career in coaching may consider getting certified as an educator. Teachers are in a good position to coach because:
  • They work in places that are already in need of coaches. Schools will be much more inclined to hire someone who is already on their staff as a teacher when it comes time to fill a coaching position.
  • Their schedules are conducive to coaching. Most teachers are done for the day by around 3 PM. They are also off on summers and weekends making it easy for them to cater to the needs of the teams they are coaching.

For those wishing to dip their toes in the coaching waters, club sports may offer a good recourse. Club teams hire on a part-time basis, providing potential coaches with a low commitment opportunity to see if this career path is right for them. While you won't get rich playing club sports, you will pad your resume, making it easier to find more lucrative coaching jobs in the future.

Lessons

Private lessons are a great way to make extra money while still interacting with the sport you love. Most sports have some variation of private coaching. With some, it's very obvious. For example, swim coaches, golf instructors, and tennis coaches are common jobs that most communities will have a need for.

Other sports may have fewer openings for private coaching. Get creative to market your services effectively. It's also a good idea to look into certifications. Golf instructors, tennis instructors, and swimming instructors all have opportunities for instructors to get certified. Not only will this help you attract customers, but it also may allow you to transition your side hustle into a full-time career.

Sports Media

Naturally, everyone would like to be a talking head on Sports Center. While this could be a good goal to have in mind, it's not where you are most likely going to start out. Instead, look for local sports media opportunities. High school football games need announcers. Local papers (they do still exist if you know where to look) need sportswriters. Radio stations may even be looking for someone to do broadcast reports. Again, having the appropriate educational background can help you land jobs in sports media. Your background as a former player will also be an invaluable asset.

high school basketball coach
Jay Bilas

Sports Tech

The world of sports has become increasingly more reliant on technology. From broadcasting to stadium planning, to marketing and camera work, tech is at the very heart of the sporting industry. Getting tech-driven sporting jobs will usually require an educational background in data or computer science. However, once you get the requisite education out of the way, you will enter a world filled with unique opportunities and jobs that pay significantly more than average.

Detroit Tigers groundskeeper
Heather Nabozny - Detroit Tigers Head Groundskeeper

Sports Medicine

Sports medicine is a difficult but rewarding career path that can put you in close contact with your favorite games. Some sports medicine doctors and nurses work directly with college and professional athletic organizations.

sports medicine

Others run a more generalized practice where they may care for student-athletes and the broader community. It takes many years to get certified as a doctor. However, the job is both high paying and rewarding.

Articles by Sarah Daren





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