Across the globe, individuals have made a vow to compete at the highest level of their preferred sport. For some, it was a natural fit to choose this path. On the other hand, quite a few professional athletes had to work diligently to achieve the goal. From amateurs to the major leagues, being a professional in any capacity takes much more than dedication.
One thing that often is overlooked is the fact that a professional athlete’s full-time job, is to be an athlete. Spectators often don’t take into account the fact that even when they aren’t competing, the professional is doing their job. Everything from what they eat to their sleep schedule is affected by their sport. For sports requiring athletes to maintain peak physical condition, workouts encompass a major portion of their daily routine. For NBA and NFL players, the work week can range anywhere from 60-90 hours. Interviews, practice, and training along often take up a majority of that time.
Another demanding aspect of being a professional athlete is being in the public eye. For rookie’s especially, media training and public relation best practices take up quite a bit of time. Whether part of a team or an individually sponsored athlete, they constantly represent an organization. At all times, professional athletes are under a microscope. In today’s climate, it has become challenging to escape criticism. Taking precautions when speaking out, posting to social media, or taking action is crucial for all athletes.
As the title of this blog reflects, dedication is far from what it actually takes to thrive in their designated sport. The sport becomes your life. Of course, it is important to make time for family and friends. For many new professionals, finding the work-life balance becomes one of the biggest challenges. It is important to include the ones you love in your daily routine. That being said, they must show compassion and understanding of the demands of the sport. The lives of professional athletes is truly all about the sport. Every life decision will likely revolve around or impact their athletic career.
The final key ingredient to an athlete’s success is their passion. Most professional athletes warmly welcome their hefty paychecks. For the ones that excel in the sport, it has to be about more than just they money. Stepping into the gym or onto the field has to give an athlete the best feeling in the world. If their heart is not it in, it will show in their performance. It is hard to hide a lack of passion. Many professionals seek retirement once they realize they don’t fall in love with the sport after every match. It is hard to come to terms with for many, but ultimately eliminates the possibility of a visible burn-out.