Sports is a glamorous industry, with top athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and more often appearing in the public eye through their performances and promotional deals. Many young souls dream of emulating the success of their idols - just ask our very own Loh Kean Yew, who grew up watching Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei exhibit their mastery of badminton.
Yet, being a sportsperson is not everyone’s cup of tea (and it is not for a lacking of trying). So what do you do if you love sports but don’t see a career as a professional athlete in your future? Fortunately, the sports industry isn’t just about life in the spotlight. The supporting cast that toils behind the scenes is just as, if not more important for bringing sports to the public.
In the first segment of this two-parter series, we explore the top performance-related careers one can pursue to incorporate his/her love for sports into day jobs as a non-athlete.
Athletes need a coach who can effectively guide their technical, tactical, and physical development to help them improve at their sport. This is accomplished through analyzing their performances, instructing relevant skills and providing encouragement. The guidance may extend beyond the sporting stage if the athlete trusts the coach enough to confide in his/her struggles.
Exercise physiologists assess the athlete’s medical history to craft personalized fitness and exercise programs that improve recovery, flexibility, and performance. This is essential in helping with injury prevention or treating chronic issues.
Athletic trainers work with athletes to treat and prevent common sports injuries. They are often the first medical professionals on the scene after an injury. Athletic trainers are critical in helping athletes train, perform, and recover from injury as safely and as effectively as possible. They also provide a vital communication link between the injured athlete, the physician, the coach, and sometimes the athlete's family to determine when it's right to return to practice and competition.
Physical therapists work with other medical professionals to develop treatment and rehabilitation plans for athletes who are recovering from injuries, illnesses, or suffering from chronic conditions.
Sport Psychology plays a critical role in performance enhancement and in developing and maintaining athletes’ well-being within the competitive sports environment. Athletes are often under immense pressure, whether it be intrinsic, extrinsic, or environmental factors like the pandemic. Sport psychologists are therefore vital in helping these athletes self-regulate cognition, emotions, and behaviour, as well as optimize their performance on the big stage.
Without the proper fuel, an athlete's body cannot achieve peak performance. Sport nutritionists are introduced to help athletes plan their diets, ensuring that they are getting the proper nutrition during training, competition and recovery. Nutritional needs vary with each phase of training, and sport nutrition promotes healthy, responsible eating at all times.
In the second segment of this two-parter, we overview the careers that pertain to the sport industry as a whole. Stay tuned!