Is It The Perfect Career For You?

Sports and recreation is a profession that encourages free spirit, instills discipline, brings people together, teaches people to win and lose gracefully, and most importantly acts as a catalyst for cultural and societal change.

A career in sports perfectly symbolizes the proverb – ‘Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life’. A career in sports ceases to feel like a job for those who are passionate about it.

The career options in the sports industry are diverse, challenging, and rewarding. You can consider becoming a sports analyst for a newspaper, fitness instructor or a coach at exclusive gyms and sports training centers, sports professional in exercise physiology and fitness & wellness centers/resorts. If you have a knack for writing and reporting, you can take up a job as a sports journalist. With mass media in limelight, the demand for experts in sports photography is also on the rise.

Other disciplines that provide ample opportunities for those interested in sports are management, medicine, nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology, sports law, and sociology. Sports Biomechanics & Kinesiology, Sports Business management and Sports infrastructure engineering are also fields that are in focus due to the recent surge in the sports and recreation activities.

Recreational sports are known to have far-reaching positive impact on one’s health, well-being, and happiness. They cater to individuals as well as families and communities as a whole. Even though career opportunities in the sports and recreation sector are varied, many of the skills required are the same including high levels of motivation, and being confident and interactive with an outgoing personality.

Industry Snapshot

Sports and recreation is a rapidly growing industry worldwide and it is no different in India. Contemporary Indian sports is a diverse mix of traditional games such as kho-kho, kabaddi and kusti and those imported from abroad like cricket, football, and field hockey.

Unlike the organized business of sports in developed economies, in India sports has mainly been a Government led initiative with contribution from the corporate sector which has recently taken an active role in the hosting of the premier leagues in popular sports such as cricket, football, badminton, hockey, and tennis. Corporate funding continues to ignite sports development in India.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has a twin agenda for sports as part of its India @75 vision - achieving excellence in sports globally and broad-basing sports that involves setting up sports infrastructure in tier II/III towns, more coaches and equipment, and increased scholarships for children in rural areas. This basically means a higher demand for sports professionals across the various career disciplines in the sports and recreation sector in the immediate future. 

Nature of Work

Sports are mainly of two forms- one is on field and other is off field. Off field is the time when you are practicing, developing and enhancing your skill sets and on field is the time when you actually perform in a competition. The third form is the back desk person who does a lot of work but is never in the lime light.

  • You have to travel to the places where the competition is being held.
  • Being a Sports person you will be involved with the press, media interviews and various PR communications.
  • You will have to compete in various climatic conditions.
  • The work of a player is skillful, yet stressful and tiring during competitions.
  • It’s mostly the mind game which gives results; physical fitness helps in performing the act.
  • As a Trainer: you will teach relevant skills, tactics and techniques and monitor & enhance performance by providing tuitions, encouragement and constructive feedback.
  • As a Trainer/ Coach: You will have to organize games with other teams, secure practice space, and procure necessary equipment.
  • As a Sports Medicine Specialist: You will have to coordinate Sports Care activities with other experts including Specialty Physicians and Surgeons, Athletic trainers, Physical therapists, or Coaches. Often, you will have to do special training in Sports medicine. 

Skills Required

Many different skills are needed for the many different kinds of Sports & Recreation careers, but the one thing you really need is a true sporting passion. If you really want to work in this sector, you need to -

  • Be focused, hard working and determined as it is important for you to excel.
  • Every Coach, every Athlete, every Media commentator and every fan will tell you that the fundamental element of all sports is skill- so, master that skill.
  • Have good knowledge of various sports, networking skills, innovativeness, convincing power and leadership skills.
  • Candidates must be physically fit and should possess sound business, management, sales and marketing skills.
  • Have good problem solving, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills as these are essential.
  • Have mental fitness and the ability to perform well under stressful conditions.

Different Disciplines of Sports and Recreation

There are tons of options available to choose from while opting for Sports as a profession. One can specialize in a profession, such as, Law, Medicine and Journalism and then focus on Sports as a super-specialist.

  • Professional players
  • Coaching & Training
  • Sports management
  • Fitness & Wellness
  • Journalism
  • Photography
  • Sports Medicine
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Sports Journalism/ Mass Media and Sports Journalism
  • Sports Administration
  • Sports Psychology
  • Exercise Therapy/ Exercise Physiology/ Clinical Sports Psychology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sports Sociology
  • Sports Biomechanics
  • Sports Analyst
  • Sports Physiotherapy
  • Sports Business Management
  • Sports Event Management
  • Sports Infrastructure Engineering
  • Legal Studies (specializing in Sports Law)/ Sports Law
  • Commercial Law (specializing in Sports Law)
  • Recreational Sports
  • Sports Engineering


At the school level, too, Sports & Fitness are being taken seriously; the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced a vocational course in Sports on Fitness and Gym operation from the academic session 2012-13. 

Educational requirements for Recreation workers include graduate degrees for some administrative positions in large public Recreation systems. Full-time professional career positions usually require a college degree with a bachelor's degree in any liberal arts field which may be sufficient for some jobs in the Private sector. In Industrial Recreation, or 'Employee Services' as it is more commonly called, companies prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree in Recreation or Leisure Studies and a background in Business Administration. 

After 10th

A student should study 11th and 12th or PUC or its equivalent from any stream. For eg: If a student wants to take up sports journalism than he must choose arts with psychology and journalism. If he has to get into recreation activities then he is required to choose Humanities as a subject.

Developing an interest in a particular sport is important from an early age. Falling in love with the game and enjoying it, is a key to develop a career in that field. Proper training is required once you realize whether you want to develop your talent in a particular sport

After 12th

A student has to fulfill the following basic educational requirements to pursue a career in Sports & Physical fitness: For graduate level programs as well as certificate courses, 10+2 is required. To enter into teaching positions, Bachelor of Physical Education (B.P.Ed) or Master of Physical education is required; the former is a 3year course with 10+2 as eligibility to enter while the latter is a 2 year course after graduation respectively.

There are also graduate and post graduate programs in Physical Fitness, Sports Medicine etc. for which the requirement is graduation. One can seek admission into a Sports Management course after completion of graduation. Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education will have an upper hand in the field.

A degree in any subject is acceptable for entry into the profession, although employers may prefer graduates with qualifications in Sports Science, Recreation/Liberal Arts/Humanities, Health Management, Physiology, Life Sciences, Social Studies, Economics, or Business/Management etc.

A relevant post graduation qualification (for example an MSc in Sports Science- Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy) can be useful - particularly for graduates without appropriate first degrees. Related work experience is normally necessary. This can be gained via employment or part-time/seasonal work as a Coach, Fitness instructor, Recreation assistant or Leisure/Fitness centre attendant.

Institutions like Gold's Gym University, Mumbai and Symbiosis Institute of Health Science, Pune, also offer diploma courses in Fitness Management. Other graduates and post graduates are also eligible as long as they are physically fit and possess entrepreneurial skills. Knowledge as well as experience in the field and good communication skills are some other important prerequisites.

Career Prospects & Job opportunities

Many talented Sportspersons are employed in Railways, Government Sector enterprises or with the Private sector firms that they represent in the Sports events/games in various tournaments and matches. Nationalized Banks, Public Sector undertakings, Corporate Houses and some Private groups recruit outstanding sportspersons. TATA, BPCL, MRF, IOC, BSNL have their own sports teams to compete in matches/tournaments.

Apart from serving as a player, those who have a passion for a career in Sports can also work as a Coach, Team manager/Sports manager, Fitness instructor, Athletic trainer, Sports journalist and Photographer. Sports persons on retiring from active play can also look forward to satisfying jobs in assignments such as umpires and referees. In our country Spas and Yoga centers have grown rapidly in most of the urban, suburban and semi-urban areas.

Ranging from Medical Doctors, to Facility Managers and Lifeguards, there is something to suit a wide variety of interests and skills, with entry through a growing number of courses, being offered by Private training organizations as well as Universities.

Potential areas of work include:

  • Leisure centers or Gymnasium - as a Manager, Assistant manager, Lifeguard, Personal trainer, Fitness instructor or Spa therapist.
  • Coaching & Instructing – as a Health & Fitness consultant, Sports manager, Horse riding instructor, Football club coach, Outdoor activity coach, Yoga teacher or a coach for a specific sport.
  • Professional Sports – as a Footballer, Jockey, Golfer, Caddie, Rally Driver, Promoter, etc.
  • Entertainment -  Like working in cinemas, horse-racing, theme parks, betting shops, casinos, etc.
  • Voluntary & Social - Youth clubs, Community workshops.


Below is the list of some of the career options in this field:


Outdoor Adventure/Recreation



Professional Player

Outdoor Activity coordinator

Fitness Instructor


Sports Administration Officer

Outdoor Instructor

Membership/Sales Consultant

Aquatics/Swimming Instructor

Sports Trainer

Adventure Tour Guide

Administration manager

Swimming Instructor

Sports Official/ Umpire 


Fitness Center Manager


Sports Science Physiologist 




Stadium Manager




Sports Science Physiologist 




Stadium Manager 




Angels and Demons


  • Name, fame and money are limitless for successful professionals.
  • You will be traveling to various countries.
  • You will be idolized by millions.
  • You can move to diverse sub sections for employment after retiring as a player.


  • Work hours are often irregular; travel may be extensive.
  • Career-ending injuries are always a risk for athletes.
  • Job opportunities will be best for part-time Coaches, Sports instructors, Umpires, Referees, and Sports officials in High schools, Sports clubs, and other settings.
  • The career graph of a player is of short duration.

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam -1st Aug to 20th Aug, 2017; Tier 2 Exam - 10th to 11th Nov, 2017; Tier 2 Exam - 21st Jan, 2018