Career in Sports–India

This article was written for Grey Matter Publications last year for one of their career booklets. Thought it was a good time to share.

A career in sports is turning out to be one of the most rewarding option in recent times. In the past, it was thought that a career in sports meant to be a sportsman. It was also thought that while the sports can give you fame and keep you fit, it is good for a hobby and not a career since the remuneration was not at par. There was also the fear that the sportsmen who don’t make it to the top ruin their lives. However, times are changing and options are opening up.

A decade ago, a New National Sports policy was passed by the Government of India which led to a lot of reforms in this field and thus raised its popularity among urban and rural population as a lucrative career option. The policy introduced special incentives to sportsmen, strong coaching support for all sports, growth in the infrastructure of facilities related to sports, encouraging participation of women as well as youth from other classes of the society and promoting sports through support from the Corporate sector.

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If you have had keen interest in sports and have the endurance to support you, then a career in sports beckons. Along with this you will also need a very strong willpower and self discipline accompanied with self motivation. With the right amount of dedication and the above qualities, you can definitely succeed in your endeavors to prosper in this career.

Education in Sports

Before the onset of any career it is of prime importance to understand the field, be educated about it. This prepares you for the future and also opens the gates for more options. The Sports Authority of India is making constant and successful efforts in promoting sports as a career option through various programs. It has also a huge list of academies as well as institutes that provide formal training to 10+2 students willing to take up sports as a career.

The course covers all the essential topics required for thorough education is sports. You can specialize as a coach, a professional in sports science, fitness manager etc.

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There are specific courses for mastering a special sport like Kho-kho, Kabbadi, Archery, Kayaking and many regular sports too. These courses cover topics involving the History, Science, Technique, training, evaluation and Management of sports and related activities. For most Physical Education Trainers or Teachers such courses and Diplomas are a must.

Other opportunities that you can explore in the field of sports with the help of this formal education are mentioned in further sections.

The Various Institutes and Academies from where one can procure formal education (Diploma and Post Graduation) in sports Include:

•    Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Gwalior
•    Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, New Delhi.
•    Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram
•    Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, New Delhi
•    Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports

The above mentioned options provide both graduation and post graduation courses for students with a 10+2 qualification or Diploma Holders with a B.P. Ed or similar qualification.

For those planning to take courses in Bachelors or Masters of Physical Education, following are the options in the country:

•    Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab
•    Marathwada University, Aurangabad
•    Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
•    Alagappa University, Tamil Nadu
•    Amravati University, Maharashtra
•    Andhra University, Waltair.
•    Bangalore University, Karnataka
•    Punjabi University, Patiala Punjab

All the courses for above degrees are between 1 to 3 year’s duration depending on the type.

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MBA in Sports Management

For those looking out for better profiles and roles in this career, an MBA in sports is a good option. Taking into consideration the fact that sports as a career is gaining a lot of popularity in the country, many institutes are offering this one of kind course and there are many who enroll for the course too. The course covers the regular MBA topics as well as other subjects like Endorsements, promotions, sports business communication, International sports Management, facility and event management, sports marketing, sports business, contract negotiations and so on. The job prospects are enormous post the course and the remuneration offered is the best in the industry with recognition at national and international levels.

Following are the top institutes in India offering this course:

Diploma in Sports Management

An MBA in Sports Management not only offers managerial jobs in fitness and health centers but there are many positions in the fields like media and promotions, event management, athletic administration, marketing as a sports agent, facilities management profiles and many other positions in the private and public corporate sectors.

Plethora of Options

If you thought cricket is the only popular game in the country, give it a second thought. There are many other options which may not be promoted or hyped as much but offer even better opportunities and scope. Besides hockey, football and cricket, you can also opt for boxing, tennis, badminton, shooting, wrestling, golf etc. Though these are unconventional options but if you fall in love with the game, you can be successful in it.

Another point to bear in mind is that it is not necessary to be only a sportsperson to make a career in sports. The industry provides a plethora of opportunities for those looking for offbeat options in the same field. In fact there are some options for professionals who are planning a transition from their existing careers too.

sports options

1. If you are an MBBS practitioner and want to adopt this field then a 2 year Diploma in sports medicine (DSM) or a PhD or M.Phil in the same field are great options. Once you complete this formal education you can practice as a Consultant and there are enough job prospects in Health Clubs, Sports Clubs and Hospitals for the same. If photography and sports are your passion convert it into a profession by being a sports photographer. Proper knowledge about sports is a pre-requisite for this and there is a high demand for this option too.

2. For people with exceptional communication skills, being a commentator or Sports Journalist is also an enticing option. With so many sports channels emerging and so many sports events happening, you will never run out of job prospects. Popularity will also follow with media coverage if you are consistently good at your job.

3. One of the most popular options for career in sports is that of Coaching. They are like teachers and hence there can never be a shortage of demand. Right from schools to huge institutions to Sports training academies, all are on the lookout for good coaches. This option also offers the satisfaction of training someone and using your skills to help someone succeed. The remuneration is also excellent since most parents want their children to be trained in some sport or the other. Even if you are working as a part time coach, you can also be self employed by conducting vacation programs for sports training. This is the next best option to being a sportsperson. Many successful coaches have gained popularity at international levels too.

4. Self-employment is also an option, if you have the moolah to set up a sports store or sports equipment manufacturing plant. If you have ideas and can invent or reinvent existing equipment, this can work wonders for you. Talented people are given an opportunity to showcase their creations at different international and national sports events.

5. Being a referee or umpire for various sports is also a great option for those who know the game but can’t play the game due any number of reasons. This job definitely needs formal education regarding the laws pertaining to each game and the regulations by different Governments. Moreover, monitoring and checking the sports equipment and accessories used is also the job of a referee/ umpire. The remuneration is also at par with other options in this industry.

6. If all the above options were not enough, there is one more. The sports industry has entered the private sector too and many sports clubs have come up in the last decade. These elite clubs have a plethora of jobs whether it is administrative, managerial, coaching and many more. They also offer opportunities to senior professionals and not just youngsters and hence prove to be a great option for those who plan to switch from their existing careers.

In conclusion, though for many professionals and youngsters, sports as a career is a new option, a lot of efforts have already been made to provide ample opportunities for those planning to pursue this in future.  Whether it is name, glamour, fame, money or media coverage, the industry offers you all. While many consider it as an offbeat career, if you have the interest, you will soar to great heights after choosing this option.

Image credits: Rennett Stowe, andy_carter, Free Digital Photos.


  1. Superb Post Bhakti . This great information complled by you should help lot of youngsters who want to take sports as the career .

  2. A really great article! Yes it is definitely a viable career option and the reason why a substantial
    amount of sports freaks are trying their hands on this field.

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