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A sports development officer promotes the participation of people in sports. Funding for this position may come from a community government trying to encourage fitness in its town, sports organizations trying to increase participation in their sport, or even community organizations hoping to utilize the involvement in sports to reduce delinquent behavior among young people. A person seeking this position will typically have an undergraduate degree in physical education or a related field, strong communications and writing skills, and an understanding of how to develop and run sports programs.
Recreational activities promote physical fitness, improve emotional well-being, and strengthen ties within the community. These benefits have spurred many towns to employ a sports development officer to increase participation in recreational activities. In a community setting, the requirements of this position are to develop sports programs that might interest the people in the community and stimulate community participation in those sports. For example, a person working in community sports development may start and run a little league, soccer club, or even a dance class for seniors.
Sports development officers may also be employed by a community or a non-profit organization to advocate the use of sports as a positive outlet for troubled youth. In this situation, the sports development officer would set up sports leagues, train coaches, and work to encourage kids to participate in the leagues. The sports development officer may also be required to write grants to fund new sports programs.
A specific sports association may also employ a person in sports development to promote participation in its sport. In this case, the sports development officer may travel to towns where participation in her particular sport is poor in order to start leagues or promote league participation. The sports development officer may also organize short-term clinics to introduce the sport to young people. This person may also be required to keep statistics on which programs failed to promote participation and which programs succeeded.
Sports development officers typically have a degree in physical education, sports management, or even recreational management. The person who holds this position should have strong communication skills in order to promote and encourage participation in the recreation programs. He also needs strong and well-organized management skills in order to run each of the sports programs. Many sports development officers are required to recruit and train coaches, so a basic understanding of the rules of sports as well as the ability to motivate and teach people is an asset. Grant-writing experience may also be necessary when funding for a new sports program is not available.
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