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Professional sports Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career in the Professional sports industry

Professional sports is a multi-billion pound global industry and, with the right talent, can provide a very successful career. Chances are if you’ve landed on this page you already have a sport in mind and you’re trying to think about how you can turn that sport into a career.

Any professional sportsperson has to dedicate an incredible amount of time and effort into pursuing their dreams. Those that reach the top of their sport will have invested most of their lives.

The income is not always steady within sport, particularly if you are not sponsored and your money comes from winning competitions. Whilst some sports can be extremely lucrative, like Premier League football, this is not the case for many others.

The working hours can be very irregular for professional sportspeople, involving lots of travel, and a lot of your day will be dominated by training and preparation. You will also likely have to follow a very prescriptive dietary plan, designed to ensure that your body is in top physical condition and able to perform at your very best. Most sportspeople will eat, sleep and breathe their sport.

Skills & interests required for a career in Professional sports
It probably goes without saying that you must be incredibly talented at your sport to make a career out of it. On top of this, you need to be willing to dedicate the time and effort to being the best that you can be. For some sports this can mean strict diets and training regimes. You will also have to contend with the risk of injury (sometimes serious) throughout your career, and will need the mental strength to deal with lengthy periods out of contention for your sport.

For some sports there are very specific requirements. Boxing, for example, has strict weight categories. The average height of NBA basketball player is 6 ft 7, so if you’re less than 6ft tall you may want to consider an alternative sport!

If you are competing at a level that is very high-profile, you could be on TV and competing in front of a sizeable audience. Therefore, it’s important that you’re confident and able to perform under pressure.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Self-Confidence
Professional sports apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
Many professional sportspeople are talent scouted at an early age and begin training through an academy, a personal coach or within a development squad.

Your career progression route will dependant upon the sport that you are in, but generally it will be performance-based and will rely on winning matches and competitions.

Sports are extremely physically demanding and most careers come to an end around 35. After this, many remain in the sports world but pursue work in coaching, journalism or presenting.
Tips for getting into the field
Get in contact with local coaches and other professional sportspeople in your area. Ask for advice and they may be able to direct you towards training plans, or the best local clubs and teams to join to help make your dream a reality.
What do Professional sports professionals get paid?
Here are some of the salaries for jobs within professional sport, but remember these are just a guide and salaries can vary widely in this industry:

Dancer – on average £23,019

Rugby league – between £20,000-£40,000

Rugby union – between £20,000-£70,000, with substantial increases for players representing their countries

Jockey - Usually contracted by horse owners and receive a percentage of cash prizes

Premier League Footballer – Over £50,000 a week (not including substantial bonuses and appearance fees!)

Lower league footballers - still highly lucrative - averaging between £300,000 and £40,000 per year
What qualifications do I need for a career in Professional sports?
There are no formal education requirements to be a professional sportsperson and your career will be built upon merit and experience.
Read more about the Professional sports industry

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