Seven key career skills you pick up playing sport

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Research by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) has found that graduates who participated in sports at university earn on average 18% more than their non-sporting counterparts.

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If you want to know exactly what benefits sport at university can bring, or just need help articulating what exactly your hours of training have brought to your CV, then fear not; we’ve picked out some of the skills that give the active among us an edge.

Table of contents

  1. Teamwork
  2. Leadership
  3. Time management
  4. Competition and sportsmanship
  5. Handling pressure
  6. Management and responsibility
  7. Commitment

sports skills playing volleyball

1. Teamwork

‘There’s no I in team’.  It’s the most used term in the sporting skills index, and yet the reasons for this are well-earned.  A boat will only race at its fastest when all rowers move in one rhythm, whilst a goal scored in football is thanks to the varying skillset of the team.

Learning to work with others and appreciating how different talents can contribute to one goal is essential in every workplace and industry.

2. Leadership

From captain of your team to a captain of industry, developing leadership skills in sport is crucial to any future employment, whether you’re in charge or not. 

Making tough decisions about the team list or the workforce; developing the ability to inspire, motivate and lead your colleagues; these are skills that are always in demand.

Want to know how develop leadership skills? Learn how with this insightful module from Bright Network Academy. 

3. Time management

Any university athlete who still wanted to achieve their desired academic grade will know the importance of time management

Juggling daily training sessions with the demands of lectures, seminars and coursework (as well as maintaining a social life!) act as essential practice for maintaining a work- life balance in the ‘real world’.

4. Competition & sportsmanship

Wanting to win goes hand in hand with accepting defeat and there is no better teacher. A drive for success is sought by every employer, and found in all athletes. However, learning to accept loss is a much tougher lesson, but can be much more valuable. 

Whether that teaches you to brush off rejection or learn from your mistakes is your call, but sooner or later most of us will face that in the workplace. 

5. Handling pressure

It’s all about adrenalin! From preparing for the big game to standing on the start line of the final race, coping with high-pressure situations is a natural occurrence in sport.

Whilst not all careers are high stress, companies always value an individual capable of coping when times get tough; whether that be staying calm in an interview or meeting a short deadline. 

Read: Why Avid Travellers May Be Miles Ahead in the Job Race

6. Management & responsibility

Sports clubs don’t run themselves.  Securing new equipment, raising funds and maintaining club numbers are just some of the tasks required of committee members; providing a brilliant environment to develop and practise managerial skills and learn how to get things done before leaving university.    

7. Commitment

Last but not least, no medal is won without dedication, early starts and personal sacrifice. It’s that grit, determination and focus given by all university athletes to their sport that is valued so highly by employers. 

So what are you waiting for! The research from BUCS also found that 94% of employers agreed to a clear link between employability and university sport participation. 

Don’t be afraid to emphasise your sporting triumphs, and enjoy the benefits.  University is one of the few places where such a large and diverse range of opportunities is available.  So whilst you may not have been the sportiest at school, why not give a new something new a try?

Learn more about the 10 key career skills employers look for.

Develop core career skills with Bright Network Academy

There are many skills you can be working on during the application process and throughout your career. Develop your core career skills with Bright Network Academy and stay ahead when applying for jobs and navigating the world of work.