Professional sportspeople earn all or part of their living through participating in sporting events, either as individuals or as members of a team.
You can work as a sportsperson without formal qualifications. However, a high level of expertise in your chosen sport is essential. Sportspeople in a team sport will come under the guidance of a coach whose job it is to develop and refine their skills. Individual sportspeople usually find a coach to assist them to reach elite level. Sportspeople who are still at school may elect to develop their skills by attending a specialist sports high school that combines traditional school subjects with specialist sports coaching and competition in a wide range of sports. Many sporting organisations offer traineeships to potential top-level sportspeople in specific sports. Training is also available in related areas such as coaching, sport development, refereeing/umpiring and sports administration. It is recommended that a sportsperson complete a traineeship in Sport Career Oriented Participation that may assist in the development of skills to improve their career prospects both during and after a career in professional sport. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. Sportspeople may study courses in sports-related areas such as sports science, human movement studies, physiotherapy, sports administration, sports coaching, sports journalism, physical education and sports psychology. However, such studies are not essential for employment as a professional sportsperson. Courses in these areas are available at most institutions in Australia. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.
Professional sportspeople may perform the following tasks:
Most sportspeople compete as amateurs (unpaid) until they reach a sufficiently high standard to be offered payment for their performance.
In all areas of sport, the number of top professional and amateur competitors is very small compared to the number of people aspiring to compete at a professional level. Earnings from sport for professional sportspeople depend on the individualâ€™s ability and the public popularity of the sport. Depending on the sport, playing careers for sportspeople generally last no more than a few years. Accomplished sportspeople may progress to employment as coaches, trainers, administrators or media personalities after retiring from their playing careers. Others may go into business ventures relating to sport, such as marketing sporting equipment or clothing, or managing other sportspeople. Some pursue careers they have established in other areas.
A sports commentator describes the progress of play during broadcasts of sporting events and explains the technicalities and the tactics of the sport to the audience.
A sports development officer works for clubs, associations or state or territory sporting bodies promoting their sport or their club. They may visit schools, address pupils on the benefits of playing a particular sport or for a particular club and organise demonstrations and activities relating to the skills of the sport.