Careers in sports: skills, job prospects and courses

Sport science students on exercise bikes

In the exciting world of sports, careers extend far beyond the playing field. From guiding teams as a coach to analysing the action as a commentator, there are many diverse and rewarding careers in sports.

Liverpool is at the centre of football in the UK, boasting an impressive tally of at least 55 league championships earned collectively by its two biggest clubs: Liverpool and Everton. Beyond the football pitch, the city’s sporting spirit extends to many professional sports jobs.

Skills needed to succeed in sports

Success in sports requires many skills, such as physical fitness, teamwork and strategic thinking. These skills are what make athletes able to excel in their chosen sport.

Liverpool John Moores University is dedicated to developing students' sporting talents by offering cutting-edge programmes and practical experiences, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the dynamic world of sports.

Physical fitness

Physical fitness is the foundation of strong sports performance, providing the essential groundwork for athletes. It involves strengthening muscles, endurance and flexibility. Building physical fitness allows athletes to run faster, jump higher and endure the demands of their sport.

Mental toughness

Engaging in sports requires both physical and mental strength. Whether facing a crucial penalty kick in football or taking the final shot in basketball, athletes must maintain composure and concentration.

Developing mental toughness means an athlete can be resilient under pressure, have quick recovery from setbacks and stay motivated during challenging times.

Teamwork and communication

In team sports, success relies on seamless teamwork, where players recognise the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates. This helps them coordinate passes and provide support.

Effective communication is essential. If players are not letting their teammates know they are passing to them or where they are positioned on the field, the game will not run in their favour. Teamwork and communication are the driving forces behind a successful team.

Strategic thinking

Sports aren’t just about running around aimlessly; they involve strategy and thinking on your feet. You need to plan your moves, adapt to your opponent’s tactics and make quick decisions.

No matter what sport you are playing or if you are coaching a team, strategic thinking is essential.


Enthusiasm fuels athletes, driving them to practice, improve, and compete. Without it, physical fitness, mental toughness, teamwork, and strategy fall short. Enthusiasm propels you through early morning workouts and sustains you in challenging times, allowing you to stay motivated.

Careers in sports

Jobs in sport offer diverse opportunities for individuals who are passionate about the industry. From athletes and coaches pursuing excellence to sports therapists and commentators supporting and informing, it’s an exciting field for professionals to chase their sporting dreams.

Liverpool John Moores University offers a comprehensive range of career support services, spanning from the International Student Centre to lifelong support, ensuring students have access to guidance and resources at every stage of their professional journey.


An athlete is a dedicated professional that competes in one or more sports. Their focus is to excel in their chosen sport through rigorous training and maintaining peak performance. They do this through conditioning, practicing techniques and following a strict diet and rest regimen. They compete in various events, aiming for victory.

Sports coach

A sports coach guides athletes to enhance their skills and performance. They develop training plans, organise practice sessions, and analyse game strategies. A typical day for a sports coach involves instructing athletes, conducting drills, and strategising for upcoming matches. They also promote teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship among their athletes.

PE teacher

A PE teacher educates students in physical fitness, sports, and healthy lifestyle choices by designing lesson plans, teaching various sports and activities. They assess students' physical abilities by conducting physical education classes, leading exercises and sports games. PE teachers also educate on nutrition and promote well-being through exercise.

Sports therapist

A sports therapist specialises in preventing, treating, and rehabilitating sports-related injuries. They assess injuries, develop treatment plans, provide therapeutic interventions, conduct injury evaluations, administer treatments, collaborate with healthcare professionals and assist athletes with rehabilitation.

Sports commentator

A sports commentator provides live or recorded commentary on sports events, describing the action, analysing strategies, and engaging the audience. They research teams and athletes, prepare commentary scripts, deliver live broadcasts, stay updated on sports news, provide play-by-play commentary and convey excitement and drama to viewers or listeners.

Sports manager

A sports manager is responsible for overseeing and coordinating various aspects of an athlete's or a sports team's career. This includes contract negotiations, financial management, scheduling, marketing and overall strategic planning to optimise performance and success in the sports industry.

Study sports at LJMU

Studying sports at Liverpool John Moores University is an excellent choice, backed by impressive global rankings. LJMU is ranked 9th worldwide for Sports-Related Subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings by Subject, emphasising its commitment to top-tier sports education.

In the UK, LJMU is 14th for Sport Science in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024, demonstrating its dedication to quality education in this field.

LJMU offers state-of-the-art facilities such as:

  • a forensic scene-of-crime lab
  • 360° ship simulator
  • mock courtroom
  • clinical practice suites
  • science, technology and engineering laboratories
  • broadcast-quality TV and radio studios.

The University also offers a renowned faculty and a vibrant academic and athletic community. Whether your ambition is to be an athlete, sports therapist or coach, LJMU's strong rankings and commitment make it an ideal choice for those wishing to pursue a sports education.

As an international student, you can begin your sports education at Liverpool John Moores University International Study Centre. Here you will find pathway programmes such as the International Foundation year in Business, Law and Social Studies. This programme prepares you with the academic and English language skills required for various courses in sports at the University such as Sports Business and Sports Journalism.

You can also choose the International Foundation Year in Engineering, Computing and Life Sciences for progression to degrees such as Sport and Exercise Science, Sport Coaching and Sports Psychology (Applied).

The International Year One in Business allows you to progress to the second year of the Sports Business undergraduate degree at the University. The successful completion of this programme will allow you to complete your undergraduate degree at Liverpool John Moores University in the typical three years.

Find out more about fees, visa information and how to apply for a pathway programme at Liverpool John Moores University International Study Centre.


Is sports a good career option?

Choosing a career in sports is a good option as it offers opportunities for professional growth, financial rewards and the chance to pursue your passion. 

What are the important benefits of sports?

The important benefits of sports include:

  • Improved physical health
  • Enhanced mental well-being
  • Development of teamwork and leadership skills
  • Potential for personal achievement and recognition. 

Is having a degree important for a career in sports?

Having a degree can be important for a career in sports, as it can provide valuable knowledge and credentials that enhance job opportunities and earning potential.

Yuto, an international student, looking at the city

I chose LJMU because it is famous for the Sports Science programme and I love football. Liverpool is also a great football city, with two Premiership teams.

Yuto from Japan

Studied International Foundation Year in Engineering, Computing and Life Sciences