5 Things PR Students Can Learn from Sports

Sports and public relations have many of the same characteristics, so I’ve used those characteristics I learned in my athletic career to improve my public relations skills. In my short time at Waynesburg University, I have learned that a strong work ethic, being coachable, having discipline, being committed to a cause, and being on time are the most important parts of public relations.

Have a Strong Work Ethic.

a strong work ethic in sports taught me that if I worked hard, I could accomplish any goal or  task that I put my mind to. For example, during my senior year of high school, my soccer team worked incredibly hard during the offseason. This dedication allowed our team to prepare for the Regional Championship, which we won. That same strong work ethic in the public relations field will allow students to show that they are hirable, and that they are capable of doing various types of work. It takes just as much dedication, motivation and strength of will to be successful in public relations.

Be Coachable.

eing able to take constructive criticism is a highly sought after skill in the public relations and communication field. After receiving constructive criticism, you should take what you learned and not make the same mistake again. During basketball career,I learned to be coachable and take criticism because we didn’t always win. In public relations, you may receive a lot of criticism, but it is what you do with it that will make you a better practitioner.

Have Discipline.

Being disciplined looks different for each sport I’ve played. In soccer, for example, you have to know when you can make a run or when you should wait and see what happens; in tennis you have to be disciplined with your stroke. When starting a new sport, you have to be disciplined into practicing. By the same token, being disciplined in public relations helps you to get all the tasks done in a timely manner. Our work load is often daunting, and it takes drive and focus to complete the checklist.

Be Committed.

hen you play a sport, you have to be committed to the game that you play. It shows that you care about your team. By playing many different sports over the years, I learned that if I wanted to get better at one, I would have to step down from others, or not play at such a high level. In public relations, you have to be committed to the organization to get the job done.

Have timeliness.

n sports, being at practice on time is considered late, and being early is on time. When I was going to practice, I always wanted to be there more than 15 minutes before practice started. I did this so I could get all my equipment on, as well see the trainer if I neededJust like showing up for practice, in public relations, you need to be on time for deadlines. There is a constant cycle of work to be completed in a timely manner, and late submissions can throw off the entire operation. To be successful in public relations, a healthy respect for adhering to deadlines will help you go far.


Tanner McKnight is a freshmen public relations major at Waynesburg University. He is a general body member of PRSSA, as well as an Account Specialist for Red Brick Communications, a nationally affiliated, student-run communications firm. He is also a member of the men’s soccer and tennis teams.


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