Kickstart performance skills image

Six step checklist to get work ready for performance sport


If you’re mid-way through your sports and exercise science degree studies and you’re not sure what you can be doing to maximise your chances of developing yourself towards a career in sports performance – then look no further.

Sports performance career readiness checklist

Here’s a checklist for you to follow that will help you decide if you are ready to make the breakthrough into sports performance and take that career you’ve been studying towards.

  1. First, have you explored the different career routes in sports, exercise, health, research, non-sport and exercise industries? If not, then this is a vital first step in understanding if you want to work in performance sport, by exploring and so ruling out the other alternatives. At the very least you’ve explored your options and understood what is out there.
  2. If Q. 1 is a YES and you want to work in sports performance, have you got an idea what type of work you want to do? Do you want to work in sports nutrition, sports physiology, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, physiotherapy, biomechanics, or sports performance analysis? If you don’t know, go to this article about the different routes.
  3. If Q. 2 is a YES, have you found out what it is really like working in sports performance? I mean REALLY like, not just a guess or what you’ve seen on Instagram. If not, consider taking Kickstart Performance Skills course where you’ll get a much clearer idea about what it is really like to have a career in sports science and what pressures you’re likely to be under.
  4. If Q.3 is a YES and you’re clear you want a sports science career, are you clear on what characteristics sports performance employers are looking for? If no, and you’ve signed up for Kickstart Performance Skills, then jump to the module that looks explicitly at that area, taking a deep dive into three key areas, 1) Character and attitude; 2) Ability to manage self, and: 3) teamworking skills.
  5. If Q. 4 is a YES then you need to gain insight into the best way to develop work experience for sports science jobs. Most people just go straight to emailing a top club or team and when they don’t hear back they get frustrated and never try again. The reason they often don’t hear back is that their initial contact was crafted poorly. Even if it was well received most people ‘bounce’ when they first encounter someone who could give them experience – because they haven’t done the ground work. Take a few steps back and work on a) how you communicate your subject; b) practice applying what you know to yourself and your own physical, psychological and movement based goals; c) apply what you know to others; d) now you’re ready to approach people for sports science work experience – but importantly frame it as an offer to help them – not about your needs.
  6. If you’ve ticked 5 off then you’re developing real momentum. Have you now undertaken work place specific skill development? If not then this is the important step that many people miss when launching their career in sports science and so don’t improve in a way that differentiates themselves from the pack. Sports science work experience is all very well and good, but what you need to do is reflect on that experience so that you’re rapidly improving each time you engage with athletes and coaches.

If you’re not sure how to go about these six steps then consider taking Kickstart Performance Skills course which is my step by step guide to readying yourself to break into sports science jobs.