From Golf Ball Divers To Get Back Coaches - The Weirdest Jobs In Sport

The under-appreciated roles that make the sporting world go round
13:00, 21 Oct 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Virat Kohli, Steph Curry. These are the stars who dominate the sports pages, the world’s best in their respective fields.

However, have you ever stopped to think about those in the background, the people who make the sporting world go round?

Ever wondered who retrieves those stray golf balls? What about the person responsible for ensuring race horses are in peak condition?

Here, The Sportsman looks at some of the more unusual jobs in sport.

The Get Back Coach

Yep, the get back coach. You could be forgiven for assuming he’s a defensive tactician, ensuring his team are back in position on counter-attacks? But no, it’s much simpler than that.

LA Rams coach Ted Rath is tasked with keeping head coach Sean McVay in check on the touchline - the ‘get back’ coach.

The team’s director of strength training and performance during the week, on matchday, he’s glued to McVay’s side, pulling and shimmying him out of the way of the sideline officials when his emotions start to boil over during the heat of the battle.

Ensuring the Rams avoid any penalties should he step out too far, he’s also there for the boss’ safety, constantly manhandling him back and forth as he marauds down the line.

Golf Ball Getter

Diving into water to retrieve golf balls doesn’t sound that profitable but trust us, it is.

These guys, taking on a seriously hazardous occupation that includes dodging snakes and alligators in America, have the capability to be as affluent as most League One and League Two footballers.

One report by CNN claimed some lakes are lined with $150,000 worth of golf balls with divers finding up to 5,000, yes 5,000, in just one pool of water. 

Selling each ball on for 75 cent a go, this is a real money-spinner - if you can cope with the water's sub-zero temperatures!

Nascar Spotter

The team spotter is an extra pair of eyes for the driver during the Cup Series. As the helmet affects the ability to see the sides and rear of the car, the spotter communicates blind spots and helps navigate the track. With 40 cars in each race, the assistance is vitally important.

The role is often undertaken by former drivers as it is essential they know when drivers are able to manoeuvre and pass rivals.

Positioned high above the course, often from a press box or grandstand, the informer has a birds-eye view of proceedings.

Using a radio, the spotter also keeps the driver up-to-date with race conditions, informing him of race developments including when crashes occur.

Horse Masseuse

The rigours horses go through when racing are vast. Obviously, just like a human, the body is pushed to the limits and needs time and help to recuperate and re-energise - so a massage is really useful.

Equine therapy has been around for nearly 30 years and aids the horse in day-to-day competing and post-trauma rehabilitation.

Now, this isn’t a job you can just walk into and plenty of study and a degree is required.

Therapist Eleanor Frost told Your Horse Magazine: "I love that the days are so varied. All the horses are so different and each one needs me to work in different ways, so they keep me on my toes.”

The work of the masseuse often includes walking, trots, canters, limb and trunk function on small circles, plus palpitation of muscles to identify areas of tightness. 

Cyclist Starting Assistant

The races at the velodrome are always a thrilling watch at every Olympics, as cyclists fire around at electrifying speeds.

But on how earth do they get started? Well, there is an assistant on hand, with the help of special apparatus, holding the competitor in place before the start of the race.

They are simply there to ensure the rider is ready to start the race at the optimum position in order to reach top speeds.

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