You’re at the plate. Two outs in the last inning. The big red ball comes rolling toward you. You time the bounces, pace your steps, and kick.
The ball soars into the left field gap as your team leaps from the dugout. The winning run rounds third and crosses the plate.
While this game of kickball may seem like just a recreational activity you engage in for fun and socialization, it can actually help you find work in sports and manage a successful career.
The truth is, you learn and strengthen a lot of skills when you start a sports team in a recreational league, like kickball, softball, flag football, and basketball.
In fact, the soft skills you develop from starting a team are in demand, according to a 2016 LinkedIn survey. The top 10 soft skills employers look for are communication, organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, interpersonal communication, adaptability, and friendly personality.
The survey also found that the sports industry is the fifth ranking industry where soft skills are most common. In other words, if you work in sports, you’re likely to use them.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to start your team and how it prepares you to work in sports:
Promote Sign-ups and Recruit Players
This is one of the first steps in starting a team — you need to gauge levels of interest and learn how to persuade and get people excited to join your team. Plus, recruiting players helps you look past networking myths and start to connect with people who have similar interests.
This is especially helpful if you know people who work in sports. They can provide some guidance on what it takes to succeed in the industry.
Promoting sign-ups also requires creativity. How do you want to tailor your messaging to encourage people to join? How will you stand out and grab attention?
This is a great skill to have, especially if you want to work in sports marketing and other creative occupations.
Manage Your Team
When it comes to managing a sports team, you are often juggling a lot of responsibilities. It involves scheduling practices, coordinating with local parks to find fields that you can use, and determining roles and positions for each player.
For example, you may want one of your friends to act as coach because they have done it before. However, if you’re the coach, you will learn how to determine strengths and weaknesses for each player, which helps you create a strong lineup by identifying each person’s best abilities.
This helps you build leadership skills yourself and shows how you can apply critical thinking in a team environment.
The process of getting sponsorships involves contacting local businesses, describing your team and the league, and persuading them to sponsor your team. Sponsors will pay for your uniforms and maybe some equipment.
In exchange, you will promote their business on the back of your shirts. When you work in sports, no matter your profession, it’s always good to learn how to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Adapt to Win
Adaptability is crucial in both playing and working in sports. When you play in a rec league, no matter the level of competition and intensity, you and your team still need to adjust and adapt to constant changes in play.
You learn how to overcome challenges by focusing on your team’s strategy and athletic abilities. Adaptability is crucial in any career, and if you can make an “L” stand for ‘lesson’ and not ‘loss,’ you’re bound to manage a successful career.
How to Promote Yourself
After you have recruited your team, coordinated scheduling and set lineups, found sponsors, and learned how to see losses and shortcomings as growth opportunities, you’re ready to prove these skills to potential employers.
Start documenting and sharing your entire process. For example, start a blog where you reflect on each stage of building and managing your team. Then, use your social media profiles to share this content.
Highlight what you learn along the way, what difficulties you face, and how you apply skills during the process. When you start to look for work in sports, show employers your online presence so they see that your hobby also brought you a lot of value.