Sam from the sportscotland Young people's sport panel

My sporting life

Sam tells us how sport has offered her a career path she is passionate about

Just like my fellow Young people's sport panel members, I have had a passion for sport from an early age. Sport gave me a sense of belonging when I felt like an outsider during my school years and gave me the skills to succeed in life.

Most importantly, sport majorly increased my confidence and without this confidence I wouldn’t be where I am today. I started volunteering and coaching when I was quite young and instantly knew a career in sport was my future.

My positive experiences while at school and attending clubs laid the foundations for me wanting to give back and enable others to have the same opportunities I had through sport. Having a career in sport has been a dream of mine for a long time now; however, the journey to it becoming reality hasn’t always been the smoothest.

'Sport will get you nowhere in life, get a proper job.' This attitude provoked an ongoing debate in my house through my senior school years. Oh, how wrong my parents were…

One of the best decisions I have made was scoring out Higher Physics on my subject choices form and replacing it with Higher PE. Much to the surprise of my parents, they now also agree!

I think the views on sport not being a ‘proper job’ have radically changed over the years due to the increased exposure of sport through the media, the London 2012 Olympics and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, legacy programmes and more awareness of the benefits of sport and physical activity.

Highly skilled professionals are needed to run programmes successfully and continue to increase the opportunities for others to achieve careers in sport.

School support

In my 6th year of high school my world was opened to a vast array of opportunities. I started my own after-school basketball club, I became a classroom assistant in junior school PE classes, I was a Young Ambassador and I volunteered with South Lanarkshire Active Schools.

Instantly, I was exposed to many different opportunities that I didn’t know existed, which allowed me build up a new and exciting skill set. I started to see that I didn’t just have to be a coach to have a career in sport.

Everyone around me was successful and was enjoying working in sport. In the past three years I have been fortunate enough to be part of many events such as the Queen's Baton Relay and the Commonwealth Games in 2014, various events organised by sportscotland through the Young people’s sport panel and university events.

Each one of these events is unique and has an army of people working behind the scenes from communications, event coordinators, managers, athletes and media. Everyone has a part to play.

I realised I could do anything within sport. I could get a ‘proper’ job and I wanted to prove those who doubted me wrong.

So what now?

Due to my exposure to so many different career paths in sport while still at school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and to a certain extent I still don’t.

I chose to go to university to study Physical Education as the course covers a variety of areas such as teaching, sports science, education and sociology and there are extensive opportunities to take part in CPD courses and be part of university sport.

I am actively involved in Edinburgh University Basketball Club as Vice-President, which allows me to see a completely different side of sport through management, organisation and a little bit of stress!

Now one year away from my probation teaching year, I feel I can choose to go down any sporting career pathway due to the range of experiences I have had though volunteering, coaching, attending events and being part of the sport panel, as they have given me the tools to succeed in any sporting career path.

I like change and experiencing as much as I can so I imagine I will have numerous jobs in sport throughout my life.

Top tips

If you are thinking of a career in sport or already have a career in sport, keep your options open, always say yes, grasp every opportunity open to you and, most importantly, ensure you enjoy what you do. After all, one of the main purposes of sport is enjoyment. Without fun and enjoyment, how can sport be beneficial?

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Follow Sam and her fellow members of the Young people's sport panel using #sportpanel 

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