While having a passion for sports is an important qualification you will need to become a sports beat writer, you will also need a combination of education and work experience that lends itself toward strong, detailed writing. Once you become a sports beat writer, you will be responsible for covering one sports team in most cases, and you will need to cover every game and transaction as they occur. This may mean you will need to travel often to cover games and events. A willingness to travel and an ability to record events as they happen will be important to the job.
You will need to complete high school or an equivalent qualification in order to become a sports beat writer. It may be possible to get a job without a college degree, but your chances are significantly improved if you earn a college degree in journalism, English or another relevant language, or communications. This field can be quite competitive, so employers will often sort through job candidates by finding the ones with college degrees as well as sports backgrounds. Participate in or follow team sports as often as possible, and develop a passion for sports that will be evident in your writing once you become a sports beat writer. It may help you to choose one sport in which to specialize; learn the rules and regulations of this sport thoroughly.
It is a good idea to take an entry-level position with a sports organization while you work on your degree or on elevating yourself to a sports writer position. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about the organization and develop meaningful business relationships that may help you get a sports writing position later on. Try to write as much as possible for local newspapers, magazines, and websites; this will help you accrue the portfolio you will need to become a sports beat writer. Present your best work to employers when you apply for a position, and stay active in the sports world consistently by writing as much as possible.
Be sure to research various job openings, even if you do not yet qualify for them. Read the job descriptions carefully to find out what employers are looking for in a sports beat writer. Try to earn credentials that will mesh with the desires and needs of a potential employer, and begin to apply for jobs as you develop these credentials.