In 2007 – FirstStep.me highlighted the importance of balancing sport with education, science and commerce.
Years later, the world of sport has become a lot more intense. Individuals now look beyond the field of play, creating careers that combine the areas of technology development, athletic studies, business acumen and of course education.
In South Africa, Alie Brand is responsible for setting up the Stellenbosch Rugby Academy, which focuses on building a career within the rugby industry.
FirstStep.me spoke to him about the imperative balance between education and sport in rugby along with how it can be applied to all sporting codes.
The idea that a fulltime career in rugby can exist for individuals who are not players is perhaps often over looked, why is this so?
Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry, and is the creator of thousands of jobs. In terms of rugby there is a definite need in the market for expert professionals. Individuals can pursue a career path as a player, coach, referee or game analyst, or combine it with other relevant courses. It includes the following career possibilities:
• Ability to coach at junior to a First team level (also community projects)
• Qualify to referee at school and club level
• Game and performance analyst
Further individuals need to apply knowledge and skills that they have learnt as either a coach or student. This includes the following aspects: The principles of sport management, planning and organising management, leadership and controlling in management. It can also include: programme development and format, planning an event, event management, economic consideration and planning a tour. They must know how to deal with creating a climate for effective communication, codes of behaviour in sport, managing facilities and developing human resources.
Career prospects can extend globally into roles of management, organisational, administrative, marketing, scouting etc.
Colleges and Universities in the USA, Australia and the UK have a history of offering sport scholarships – allowing athletes to pursue an education as they look to go professional - is this a trend that should be globally implemented?
Yes. Sport is won in the hearts of players. Therefore a training institution is not only a Sports Academy – it should be a world class sports experience. This holistic approach must not only focuses on sport, but rather on using it as a platform to help develop balanced, well-rounded young people who reach their full potential in life.
There seems to be a rush for individuals to go professional during or on completion of high school, how should this be approached?
Sometimes individuals or their coaches don’t understand the real culture of sport. Culture in sport is everything, because it is about character (90% character, 10% talent).
Coaches must have a people-centered culture, because it's about forming relationships, confidence and personal mastery. They must try to create memories, as it is precious, and about people. Training and competition are the parts of the vehicle, whilst people (relationships) are the fuel. Aspects such as honesty, compassion, treat others the way you want to be treated; is very important in real sport culture – in and after school.
It is noted that some athletes whom have completed a form of higher education perform better, how true is this and is it applicable to all sports?
Well rounded players (3D - 3 dimensional) have outstanding character and competence in all aspects of life. They are supposed to be well developed in all three areas:
• Body: Academic and sport programmes.
• Mind: Life skills - motivated, confident, emotionally mature and can function well in an individual or team environment.
• Heart: Combines physical and mental development with each other, so that the total person develops.
Find out more – StellenboschRugbyAcademy.co.za
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