• Jason Wulfsohn // MSc (Med) Exercise Science

Sport Science and the Job Market


South Africa isn’t exactly brimming over with general employment, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that there is a scarcity of jobs within the sports and performance industry. Of course there are jobs, one just need look around and be a bit creative.

With the Rand in apparent free fall, it means that prices will rise and consumers will be looking to tighten their belts. Unfortunately for us, sport science practices aren’t considered integral to life, which means that we will have to do even better to make the best of a bad situation. But what to do breaking through the apparent brick wall?

One should look inwards, and consider the aspects over which they have control. Matters such as qualification, attitude, and job skills are largely in our own control. The 1st and 2nd trial issue have sections on universities and the sport science qualifications offered. There also international qualifications to consider, for example the NSCA’s strength and conditioning qualification is widely known and respected. Then, one’s attitude is important, with the old adage of “attitude determines altitude” coming to mind. A study on golfers (and probably many other studies) shows that one’s mood state is influenced significantly by one’s personality traits, with performance ultimately affected[1]. Also, psychological skills and psychosocial factors are reported to distinguish between rugby players of different competitive levels[2]. So keep in mind your attitude when looking to undertake personal development. Apparently we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, meaning that the job market could see some changes by 2020, with technological advances being the primary drivers of change. Besides the skills which we learn through our studies, there are multitudes of unconsidered skills to develop. Some skills predicted to be important in 2020 are; Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and more (see full Fin24 article for more).

I would just like to harp on Creativity briefly, as I consider it imperative for sport scientists to be creative or innovative in the way we approach problems. Just because something has been done a certain way for the past ten years, doesn’t mean that it should remain this way. Sometimes, there might be limited resources, and creative testing and monitoring methods will have to be found. So get out your colouring books and Lego, and allow the creative juices to flow as part of your self-improvement drive. It may just be the skill that clinches that job 4 years down the line.

Below are some links to useful websites for sport scientists. It is highly likely that I’ve forgotten or not aware of some good sites. If you know of some and are happy to share your secrets, please contact me for future reference.

Another good website to look at is SportScienceInformation.com, or follow them/it on Twitter: @Sport_Sci_Info. This website has a great collection of categorised links to sport science related pages.

References:

1. Hassmen, P., Koivula, N. & Hansson, T. (1998) Precompetitive mood states and performance of elite male golfers: do trait characteristics make a difference? Percept. Mot. Skills 86, 1443–1457.

2. Potgieter, J. C., Grobbelaar, H. W. & Andrew, M. (2008) Sport psychological skill levels and related psychosocial factors that distinguish between rugby union players of different participation levels. J. Soc. Psychol. Sci. 1, 43–64.

#SportScience #Jobs

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