What if the sport I like isn't listed?
We’ve covered virtually every sport under the sun on this site, from football to kite surfing, but there are still a few rocks unturned and we intend to sort that out – right here, right now!
OK, so you’ve got the likes of golf and netball, but you’ve also got more niche sports, such as fencing, Gaelic football, luge, lawn bowls, swamp football, horse racing, ultimate frisbee, darts, diving, shooting, weightlifting and wrestling. We could go on but we’d be here for ever. OK, one more...modern pentathlon!
We’ll try and explain how you can immerse yourself in one or a few of these sports, whether in a coaching role, competitively or in a more organisational position. There are loads of options you can choose from.
Where do I start?
The best place to start with such a broad subject as ‘other sports’ is to point out how lucky we are in the UK to have access to pretty much all types of sport club. Whatever you want to do, have a quick search online and unless you reside in the Outer Hebrides, you’re likely to find a local club that will satisfy your needs.
OK, you may have to travel a little further afield for swamp football, but for virtually everything else, there’ll be something (or someone) kicking about down the road.
With most sports, you have the choice of pursuing a professional career, or going in to the coaching or organisational side of things. This is certainly the case with the likes of golf, netball, hockey and other more popular sports.
To develop a career as a professional athlete, you will have to spend hours, days, weeks, months and years practising. Consider how good Tiger Woods was at golf when he was two years old! This should give you an idea of how good you’ll need to be to make it to the very top. Of course, there are late bloomers in sport and with enough practise at anything, you have a chance to make it. However, it’s very competitive, so it’s important to have other irons in the fire.
To become a coach in any sport, you’ll need to learn the technical side of things and actually have a certain amount of ability yourself. You’ll need to be in tune with the tactics and strategies behind performing in big tournaments, whilst also knowing how to keep players fit, what they should be eating and how much sleep they should get.
You also need to have the ability to man-manage. This means getting the best out of your team or player when their confidence may be low for one reason or another. Think of yourself as the José Mourinho of the hockey world!
You could coach kids from an early age and hone your skills before moving on to working with more competitive and experienced performers. Eventually, a little further down the line, you could coach professionally and earn some decent money along the way.
Some sports, however, don’t really have coaching or trainer roles available. More often than not, the likes of mud wrestling and swamp football events would employ someone to get everything organised. These event organisers would also literally oversee the activity and keep things in line.
After a certain amount of experience working as a sporting event organiser, it’s quite common for people to set up their own business or sports centre, where they’d employ people to assist them and work to make the niche sport more popular.
What does it take?
As with pretty much anything, it’s important to have a passion for the sport you want to pursue a career in. It may sound obvious, but if you go into any sport in an apathetic manner, you won’t even have a chance of making it. That goes for hockey and netball, as much as it goes for football and tennis.
For most coaching roles, you’ll need some sort of coaching badge. For example, when it comes to golf, you’ll need to take your level one, two, three and four PGA coaching qualifications before you can teach professionally. There are similar expectations for almost all sports!
So, whether you can see yourself teaching children the off-side rule, fancy yourself overseeing some sort of bikini-clad mudwrestling tournament, or pushing out that final rep before downing a protein shake, there’s a place for a hard-working maestro like yourself in this diverse area.