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A professional athlete is a person who receives money as a salary or from product endorsements for their training and exemplary performance in competitions. Some athletes play in team sports and compete in organised, professional leagues, and some compete in individual sports. Most professional athletes consider this their primary source of income, and many become successful.
To become a professional athlete, you must know how to determine the sport and discipline in which you think you can excel. Successful professional athletes did not do it overnight and went through many procedures and processes that took years to fulfil. Read on and find out if you have what it takes to become a professional athlete.
Becoming a Professional Athlete
Professional athletes and sports competitors do not need a particular level of education, but many sports teams that compete in prestigious leagues and other associations prefer recruiting athletes from colleges. Schools would also find prospective athletes in the early stages of their careers who have the potential to become professional athletes. Some important qualities of a potential athlete include athleticism, decision-making skills, eye-hand coordination, concentration, dedication, stamina, and the ability to work with co-athletes as a team.
Athletes need to know the game's rules and increase their skills and strategies while they are still young to triumph. Many organisations that are developing professional athletes provide pieces of training and sporting camps to determine their skills.
1. Athlete’s Job Description
People who want to be professional athletes should know that there would be rigorous training, exercising, and proper mental and physical stamina maintenance. They need to learn strategies from their coaches, teammates, and other sporting staff to prepare for their development. Professional athletes must also test themselves in individual or team competitions to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Athletes must anticipate almost endless pieces of training and practices conducted by their coaches and trainers to prepare them for a professional sporting event. These competitions have different intensity levels, which needs the athletes' job security. They also need to maintain their skill levels even in the off-season. They must keep their form, improve their game skills, and keep healthy to play at a professional level.
While many people dream of becoming professional athletes, there are only a few people who can make it to this level. Once they reach this level, there are still athletes who cannot maintain their careers due to injuries or the lack of performance improvement. Professional athletes usually have irregular schedules and support 40 hours of practice, travel, competition, and weekly training. Only 10% of professional athletes receive more than $200,000 from their contracts and salaries. Some can make more money from product endorsements for their popularity and superior sports performance.
2. Important Skill Sets
Every sport and player roles need various skill sets that match certain body types. Sports such as boxing and wrestling are particular with the athlete’s body weight. Aspiring athletes will benefit if they can start young in developing proficiency in their core body, legs, arms, quickness, flexibility, foot-eye and hand-eye coordination, and endurance. Your training will also include learning patience, teamwork, and stress perseverance, which your trainers and coaches will provide.
Professional athletes undergo many pieces of training to develop their physical and mental fortitude. A healthy mental state gives an athlete the awareness of important factors such as the team’s timeouts, game clock, and opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. To become a professional athlete, one should always be prepared for the stresses of finances and fame that are usually connected in this field.
There are many different institutions and bits of knowledge for sports training. The athlete’s development starts from freshman, junior varsity, and high school varsity, and you should increase your skills to help the team’s rankings.
3. The Transition to Becoming a Professional Athlete
Some athletes became professionals at a young age, while others had to wait months or years for their big break. There are athletes that would hire an agent or promoter to help them land a good deal with reputable teams and companies. You can also do charitable works and fundraisers in your local community or team autograph signings to show your dedication, personality, and many aspects to gain a good roster position in the team.
4. Alternative Careers
There are many aspiring athletes that want to pursue a professional career, but only a few would succeed. There are other sports-related jobs that might interest you. You can be an instructor or a fitness trainer, where you could still work with groups or individuals to train them using various exercise techniques to develop their general wellness. As a fitness trainer, you can help other athletes get in shape and prepare for future competitions.
Instructors and fitness trainers may need at least a high school diploma as their education requirement. It would also be better to have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in a fitness or health-related course. You can also have another option in becoming a sports official, like an umpire or referee. Sports officials are responsible for judging performances, inspecting sports equipment, and calling penalties to keep the integrity of the competition.
If you are considering a sports official career, you have to understand that this profession can only be part-time. You will also need to secure a high school diploma to pursue this career.
5. Retirement Plans
Professional athletes work hard to sustain a good career and secure steady financial plans, which leads to important discussions about life after their career in sports. Retirement plans also include settling all your debts and having passive income investments for your retirement expenditures.
A lot of professional athletes establish their second careers in broadcasting, food business, fashion, real estate, or other business ventures. Some former NBA players exhausted their earnings just five years after retiring, proving that it is not enough to save up for retirement. NFL players should also consider their retirement plans due to poor financial management, lavish lifestyle, and short career. There are also famous professional athletes who seek financial advice from experts, which is an effective way to protect their money during and after their careers.
6. Important Solid Foundation
Successful professional athletes make the proper preparation before they start their careers. A solid foundation is an important step in becoming a professional athlete. It would be best if you were patient in building a career in sports by going through proper conditioning, mobility and injury prevention, and overall strength-building exercises.
low-intensity workouts may sound too easy for aspiring athletes, but it is vital to building a solid foundation. Low-intensity workouts will make an athlete tolerate heavy training load and fatigue slower, which they will need for improvement. Focusing on low-intensity training will give you a significant boost and changes in your body to prepare you for heavier work in the future.
7. Discipline in a Weekly Schedule
Professional athletes have good time management for their training and other activities. It is normal for many people to spare 30 minutes from their daily schedule to dedicate it to more focused exercise activities. It would also help your training to have a specific weekly routine and ensure that you follow it. You need to maintain this discipline and be consistent throughout the process to be a more efficient athlete and become a professional soon.
8. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is an important aspect of recovery for professional athletes. During sleep, your body stimulates muscle tissue repair, regulates internal processes, and relaxes your nervous system. It is also best to have an 8 to 9-hour full sleep to restore the energy lost from intense training. Sleep improves your overall performance and will keep you alert and energetic in your games and training.
9. Set Your Goals
You need to set your goals if you want to follow successful professional athletes. Long-term goals need serious focus to stay on track and prevent lags in pursuing your career. Your long-term goals will also help you make decisions easier, but some will experience changes because of unforeseen events. These events may cause delays in your goals, and you should anticipate recoveries to keep you on schedule.
10. Practice Patience
Many of us are competitive in almost all aspects of life. This trait may cause us to be impatient and takes away our concentration in reaching our goals. Professional athletes learn the value of being patient in everything that they do. Pieces of training and exercises require patience to produce better results for good performance, which they need for their career. You must also know that there are no shortcuts or quick fixes in pursuing your sports career. Your sustainable progress will take time, but it will give you good results.
Successful professional athletes have an enduring process in achieving their careers. It involves hard work, determination, good values, and discipline that may someday give you fame and fortune. This career also needs good financial management to preserve everything that you will earn. There are many temptations, such as living a lavish lifestyle or gambling to drain all your savings.