What Jobs Can You Do With Sports Science?
Sports science is a subject that focuses on the physical aspect of what happens to our bodies when we exercise. It covers everything from psychology and how exercise makes us feel, to physiology and nutrition. Many people who study sports science at degree level pursue careers in sports performance or become personal trainers or sports coaches.
A degree in sports science covers physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology, and is rooted in how we can obtain a better understanding of exercise and the benefits it gives our bodies.
What does sports science cover?
Sports science covers a wide range of sports, science and biology-related topics, including:
- The physiology of exercise, and how our bodies respond to it.
- The study of biomechanics, which is how our bodies respond to different forces when we work out.
- The psychology of exercise, including how it gives us confidence, happy feelings, motivation, and helps with mental health issues such as anxiety. (Sports scientists also explore how psychology and mental health can affect athletic performance).
- Sports-related illness and injury, including diagnosis and treatment of sporting injuries and long-term conditions.
- Nutrition and how it relates to sporting performance and general health.
- How to improve sporting performance through conditioning and strength training.
- Sports management, including the marketing behind sporting events, and how they are managed and organised.
- The psychological preparation needed before exercise, training or preparing for a big athletic event.
A sports science degree covers the various aspects of science that are connected to exercise and how the human body responds to working out. Students learn an understanding of body anatomy, how the muscles work, immunology, psychology, biomechanics, biochemistry, bio-kinetics and nutrition, among other topics.
The wide-ranging number of topics covered means that deciding upon a career path is easier for students, as they have plenty of options to pursue thanks to the wide foundation of knowledge given in a sports science course. Many undergraduate sports science courses are between three and four years long and offer a combination of theory-based work and practical exercises. Study and independent research is often combined with lectures and workshops, and students also take part in practical exercise sessions and laboratory work.
You may be expected to write a dissertation in your final year, but exams, essays and laboratory studies are other ways of assessment. Careers that a sports science degree can lead to are wide-ranging, and if you have experience or an interest in psychology, nutrition, or physical education, this is a great benefit.
Career options with a sports science degree
There are many career options you can take with a sports science degree. Some of the most common include:
Personal trainer/sports coach
As a personal trainer or sports coach, you’ll help people to improve their athletic performance and physical fitness, with clients ranging from professional athletes, to others who want to live a more healthy lifestyle and improve their well-being. Personal trainers and sports coaches provide motivation and guidance to their clients, making bespoke training programmes for them in order to meet certain fitness goals.
Fitness programmes created by personal coaches may include strength training, balance and flexibility, and cardiovascular workouts. Sports coaches specialise in training athletes, and develop strategies to enhance performance. Sports coaches work with athletes from all levels – from beginners to seasoned professionals.
If you become an exercise physiologist, you’ll specialise in how exercise can affect the body. They often work in clinical or research settings, and assess how working out can have an impact on our general health, and the body’s organs and systems.
Physiologists have a thorough knowledge of how the body functions and work with people from all walks of life who have varying kinds of fitness levels. Using their knowledge of the human body, they can develop exercise programmes that can help people to improve their health and well-being.
A sports nutritionist provides dietary and nutritional help and guidance to professional athletes and other individuals who are regularly taking part in sports recreationally. A sports nutritionist knows exactly what a sporting individual needs to fuel their body for physical activity, and understands how nutrients create energy in the body.
Nutritionists often create diet plans for clients, taking into consideration energy production, hydration, endurance, muscle recovery and repair and body composition.
A sports psychologist applies the principles of psychology to the performance, mental health and wellbeing of athletes. If you work in this role, you’ll work with athletes from all kinds of experience levels, and within different industries.
Sports psychologists understand how psychological factors can affect athletic performance, such as working as a team, collaboration, motivation, concentration, stress, and emotions. They create various techniques and strategies to help athletes and sportspeople overcome mental challenges so that their sporting performance is at an optimum level.
In the sporting world, physical therapists play an important role in helping athletes to recover from any injuries or illnesses that may affect their movement, so they can get back to training more quickly. A physical therapist will specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions that may cause pain, impact mobility and cause issues with mental health.
Physical therapists also work with non-athletes and can be found in healthcare facilities and environments. They assess patients’ physical abilities, strength and flexibility, and create programmes to help them improve mobility while recovering from their injuries.
Qualifications in sports science
If you have a keen interest in the science behind sporting performance and want to seek a professional qualification in the subject, our Level 4+5 Accredited Sports Science Diploma will give you a good grounding and knowledge in all aspects of sports science including nutrition, coaching and performance, and psychology.
This course is internationally recognised, and can be used as an entry requirement for further study at university level, or to start a career as a personal trainer. Another option is our Level 4 Accredited Sports Science Diploma, which is accredited by Accord and Accord International, and can be used for further study following A-Levels.
Getting a degree in sports science
Due to the specialised knowledge and skills required, some roles in the sports science sector may require a degree. Sports scientists, performance analysts, nutritionists, biomechanists and psychologists are very likely to require a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum, with some careers continuing to Master and PhD levels.
Taking a diploma such as the Level 4+5 Accredited Sports Science Diploma is a great way to prepare for degree-level study. Personal trainers and sports coaches are less likely to need a degree, and for these roles, a diploma should be sufficient to give you a career in these fields with the required further training.