Anyone who has participated in athletics realizes there are a lot of steps to achieve success.
One of the more useful activities I employed in competing in the discus was writing down goals. The idea was to list goals in ascending order, putting down easier accomplishments first that would lead to more difficult achievements.
I thought about this after reading an excellent article by About.com Career Planning Guide Dawn Rosenberg McKay. She suggests people pursuing a career should write an action plan that will help them attain a job and advance in the field. Because this process is similar to setting goals in sports, I thought it would be something anyone pursuing a sports career would enjoy and find beneficial.
Many of these ideas are listed in McKay’s story, but I’ll add wrinkles applicable to sports careers. Be sure to read her story as it offers detailed ideas on writing up your plan.
The action plan will list the steps you need to take to go from being a career outsider, to getting your foot in the door, to excelling in your field. As you achieve one step, perhaps you will add new steps as you build on your sports career action plan.
Many people who pursue sports careers start out with a love of sports and want to spend their lives working in the field. It is important to know what steps are needed to excel in the sports career that interests you. Your plan will help define the steps you need to take in the often highly competitive sports career field.
The first steps are similar to putting together a resume. This information will include all of your current and previous jobs, your educational background, and your training.
In pursuing a sports career, be sure to also list your sports background as well. This could include different sports you have participated in, or experience you have gained in working around those sports, perhaps as a manager or a trainer.
While some of your experiences may not seem directly related to a sports career, they will show a level of commitment. As you assemble this plan, you’ll be able to see the experiences that are moving you closer to your career goals and any possible gaps in your experience. This will help you shape a plan.
In this step, you need to determine the sports careers that most interest you through working with a counselor or taking various personality and career tests. Assemble this information and use it to shape your sports career goals.
McKay advises listing all of the occupations that interested you during the assessment phase and gathering information about each of these careers.
Some individuals may add another step in pursuing a sports career. For instance, some people may love baseball and know that they want to find a way to work in the sport. Use the assessment step to look at the various baseball jobs that may appeal to you.
While a small percentage of people will be able to play baseball professionally, there are many jobs that would keep one close to baseball, including coaching, scouting, sports writing, marketing, team executive and management positions, field and stadium work, and many others.
List the possible sports careers that appeal to you. If you’re looking to work in a specific sport, find out about the sports career options in that sport. Then rank the careers until you narrow it down to the one you intend to pursue. You may have to conduct further research to narrow down your top two or three choices.
Perhaps you’ll find a career that interests you more than a particular sport. You can then find out what sports offer positions in your career.
Also keep in mind that you may list more than one career, especially when one career is needed to land your ultimate sports career job. Perhaps you plan to earn your undergraduate degree in marketing and work for a team in that capacity while pursuing an MBA with a focus on sports management. This would put you in position for a sports executive position down the line.
A swimmer might list a new time as her first goal or winning a small meet, knowing accomplishing those goals will put her on the path to her bigger goals. The action plan should be a similar process.
If you’re still in high school, you’re first goal should not be to become the general manager of the New York Yankees. That can be your ultimate goal, but you need to list the many steps needed to put you in line for that position.
McKay suggests breaking down the career plan into goals you can reach in a year or less. Then you can list goals that may take five years to reach, and so on. Listing these steps will help you stay on your path. Perhaps you’ll find new interests, you can always adjust your goals. But you’ll still be using the step process.
Many of these steps are going to start with education and training. Be sure to find out the education and training needed and make sure it’s a commitment you’re willing to make toward your career pursuit.
If you’re in high school, you’re first goal may be to get accepted into college. Your second goal may be to get accepted into a school with a top sports management program. Then your goal may be post-graduate education, perhaps in sports law.
The point is it is your plan and this will allow you to take it one step at a time.
This site includes numerous career profiles of people in top sports careers. You may want to review their paths to success to help shape your own action plan.
McKay said it’s important to list the possible barriers to be crossed in order to reach your career goals. People may face personal challenges that may make attending school difficult. It’s important to be honest with yourself in completing this process. It may help you find an alternative route that could help you reach your goals.
Talk to others in the field or others currently pursuing an education to get into the field. They may have ideas that will help you overcome your obstacles.
I think this type of planning will prove especially beneficial for people with a sports background because it is similar to the goal-setting process. It will allow your competitive nature to thrive in your career pursuit.