Professional sportspeople are highly skilled and talented in their chosen sport, and are paid to compete in front of crowds. They take part in competitive national and international individual and team sports such as athletics, boxing, tennis, snooker, cycling, golf, soccer, cricket, rugby and hockey. The work of a professional sportsperson is mentally and physically demanding. They are required to be in top physical condition and usually train all year round, not just when they are playing.
Professional sportspeople do the following:
- compete in matches and competitions
- keep up and improve their skills by regular practice
- maintain their general fitness and stamina by training
- attend meetings and review film of their opponents
- make sure their diet and lifestyle helps them to achieve peak performance
- take advice from nutritionists, exercise professionals, sports psychologists and doctors.
Well-known sports personalities may also give media interviews and promote products by appearing in adverts.
DON’T PASS THIS UP
Why did you choose this profession? I played rugby at school in Zimbabwe and absolutely loved it. It keeps me fit, and I get to travel the world and meet lots of interesting people.
What training is involved? Our coach puts together a special gym and conditioning programme for us. I do running, gym and skills practice at least four times a week.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this career? All types of personalities could do it, as long as you are dedicated and prepared to work hard. Of course, you need to have what it takes.
Describe a typical day on the job Gym session, team meeting, morning training session, lunch, afternoon training session.
Your favourite moments Playing in front of thousands of people, and the friends you make whilst playing.
Any aspects you don’t like? Ice baths after training and injuries!
What’s been the highlight of your career to date? Definitely playing for the Springboks.
Share one of your future goals To play more games for South Africa.
Any advice for youngsters just starting out? It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but most important is to enjoy what you do.
Describe your job in three words Physical • Testing • Fun
To become a professional sportsperson, a high level of skill and experience in a chosen sport is needed. To develop the necessary high level of skill, start at a young age. Participation in sport during secondary school is essential for most professional sportspeople. Many sports have junior or development squads or leagues. Performing well at the junior level can qualify candidates for elite or representative teams, and a chance to gain competition experience. Most professional sportspeople are ‘spotted’ early on by a talent scout. If they continue to do well, they may be offered professional opportunities. The professional sportsperson needs to acquire the services of the best coach they can afford.
WHERE CAN I STUDY?
South African Athlete
Athletic Coaching Workshops
Coaching Unity International
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFO?
WHAT SUBJECTS DO I NEED?
Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended:
• Physical Education