Interested in becoming a sports agent? There’s more to it than what’s portrayed in Jerry Maguire. In fact, if you choose a career as a sports agent, it’s important to understand it is extremely dynamic and includes a series of responsibilities aimed at achieving the goals of the sports organization or athlete, such as forecasting, planning, organizing, decision making, management, coordination, and control.
Sports agents have an obligation to fully understand the dreams and fears of athletes, from rookies to veterans, beginning with a client being instructed to evaluate their goals and priorities. Should you choose to be a great sports agent, here are five of the top qualities you need to possess.
Best qualities of a sports agent
Sports is like an iceberg, a representation of physical and mental health. Usually, only the smallest part is visible, and underneath there’s conflict such as tension, frustration, and fatigue. What fans see is the consequence, and the cause is hidden out of sight.
A great sports agent doesn’t just solve problems by addressing a consequence. He/she gets to the root of the cause and works with the player to solve the situation together.
The agent should also be looking ahead for problems that could arise before they even occur. Actively manage risks. He/she must plan to avoid the pitfalls and traps that many athletes have fallen into. From the player’s point of view, how much they matter to the agent plays a big role in a successful relationship. A prepared sports agent should be ready with various solutions for any problem that may rear its head, so the player can focus on their game.
The personal manager typically spends the most time communicating with the athletes and their teams. A great sports agent needs to be clear and honest in communication. It’s expected that an agent typically exudes confidence, but it’s important to set realistic expectations. An agent that masks the reality of a situation is someone that can’t be trusted.
Pay attention to the details and actively listen. Understand what is being said by asking questions. Effective communication can only help, and poor communication could be disastrous, leading to an avalanche of problems. Communication between agent, athlete, and team is key.
#3: Conflict solution
There are always conflicts within a sports organization, and these problems can grow if not addressed. A great sports agent resolves conflict as soon as it occurs. Team harmony is of crucial importance, otherwise, overhanging tension is being carried throughout the season that affects play.
In 2018, running back Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers has avoided signing the $14.5 million franchise tag through the first 10 weeks of the NFL season to become a free agent in 2019 in search of a better contract. His sports agent, Adisa Bakari, initially hinted that Bell might wait to preserve long-term health, but the situation has since compounded.
While many thought the Steelers would suffer imbalance with the absence of Bell, they’ve thrived with fill-in James Conner, third in the NFL in rushing yards, all while continuing to field questions about the status of Bell’s return. Meanwhile, each week Bell skips rejoining the team, he forfeits more than $850,000. It’s debatable if the All-Pro running back and his agent made the right decision as reputations have likely been tarnished.
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A great sports agent must be reliable for his athletes. They need to know that, as an agent, you’re at their disposal. They can rely on your door always being open to them. Much like family rules, a client should be able to call their agent at any time, and when the agent is unavailable he/she should be able to return the call within 24 hours. Give notice to players when being indisposed with travel and such for longer periods.
Giving the right advice at the right time can have a lasting impact, and this has a lot to do with the agent’s knowledge and experience. A great sports agent is knowledgeable and must think about an athlete’s best interests for both their sports career and retirement. Professional athletes need to understand personal finance – the agent should help teach how to preserve income to grow the client’s nest egg for life after playing the game.
Want to go the extra mile? Mold athletes to become role models by encouraging them to be active citizens and help to improve the quality of life through charities or foundations.
Begin your career as a sports agent today!
You don’t have to be a college grad to gain experience in the sports industry. If you want to start planning your career as a sports agent, start applying for internships today. Jobs In Sports offers the most up-to-date sports job listings available, including sports internships, to help people, just like you, land the job of their dreams. Subscribe now.