The sports development officer, or SOD, is one of the more unusual roles in a university, but it serves an incredibly valuable purpose.
These individuals are responsible for all things related to the school’s athletic facilities and events and help the school’s programs succeed in both the short term and the long term.
By learning more about what these officers do, you can see how they can be an asset to your team or organization now and in the future.
What is a Sports Development Officer
A sports development officer is someone who works with a team to plan and organize all of their community outreach. This person identifies potential partners, sponsors, and different opportunities for public relations that are available in their area.
They also work on developing relationships with local colleges, universities, other teams, and leagues, as well as ensuring that each game or event runs smoothly once it starts.
Sports development officers help spread awareness about both individual teams as well as specific leagues. As a result of these efforts, they help get more people interested in sports than ever before.
Additionally, they provide an increased level of safety at events because they make sure all materials used such as field goals are up-to-date and safe for everyone involved.
How it’s similar to being a volunteer coach
Think of SDOs as volunteers who get paid. They may have special training or an advanced degree in kinesiology, but their role is still essentially that of a volunteer.
SDOs are valuable additions to any sports team for a variety of reasons they can help out at practices and games, set up new facilities and equipment, manage finances, plan travel itineraries and promote team events. But just like volunteer coaches, they work mainly because they love sports and working with athletes.
How it differs from volunteering as a coach
Unlike volunteering as a coach, a Sports Development Officer is an official position within a team. This means there are several perks such as paid housing and healthcare that come with being an SDO.
Also, because they are employed by their team, SDOs have more of a say when it comes to how they help players develop in sports.
In fact, one of their main focuses will be training athletes in different ways than coaches do so that they can stay on top of their game even after getting out of school.
Sample job descriptions and responsibilities
You’re a member of your team in every sense, and you bring invaluable assets not only to your passion for the sport but also experience and training as a sports coach.
You work with local schools and groups that want to get involved in sports, helping them to devise suitable fitness programs and determine how best they can help their students stay fit.
Career paths leading up to becoming a sports development officer
First, you should take college courses in coaching and athletic administration. In college, you can also coach varsity-level sports such as football, basketball, or baseball.
As a head coach of these teams for two years, you’ll gain experience leading large groups of young adults. You’ll also earn coaching certifications through USA Football or USA Baseball; these certifications open up opportunities for advancement in leagues that are affiliated with each organization.
Why you should apply for this job
If you are passionate about sports and enjoy working with others, then a sports development officer role may be for you. This is especially true if you have experience with coaching, volunteering, or mentoring in athletics.
The primary responsibility of a sports development officer is to work with local communities to organize events and activities aimed at increasing community involvement in various sporting activities.
The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills and be able to work with people from all walks of life on a wide range of topics, from sports statistics and strategy to social engagement initiatives.
While requirements vary from employer to employer, most employers prefer candidates who have completed or are pursuing degrees in physical education or recreation-related fields.
The sports development officer’s resume example
Just like any other job, you’ll want to make sure you have as much experience as possible in your industry. The S.D.O. needs to understand and be knowledgeable about sports and keep up with current events and trends on-field, off-field, etc. related to athletic programs.
It also helps if he or she is passionate about sports because passion usually translates into success at any job. Most importantly though, they must have an appreciation for athletics, meaning they understand why athletics are important on a personal level and can effectively communicate that message to their stakeholders such as players, parents, and coaches.