A professional athlete is one who competes in a sporting activity for the purpose of earning money. He is expected to put up quality performance every time he enters the field. The money involved in the sport makes him different from an amateur. An amateur plays only for his joy and satisfaction, while a professional athlete has the additional responsibility to play well and live up to the expectations of his team owner or the team franchise.
There are no standardized steps specified for becoming a professional athlete. If one aims to become a professional athlete, he has to follow the basic steps of becoming a good athlete and also 'market' himself well.
The first thing one needs to assess is whether he has the ability to play a particular sport well. Reflexes, skills, and rigorous training are some preliminary requirements to become a professional athlete. To be passionate about the game is necessary; however, one needs to know and understand his strengths and weaknesses too. Thus, being realistic is important to have a good career in sports.
Sports is not just about possessing skills but also executing and demonstrating them on the field. To gain control over the moves in a game, practicing for long hours is of utmost importance. Starting early in life helps, because one learns quickly at a young age. It also helps instill discipline in a budding athlete.
Studying the Sport
If one understands the subtleties and nuances of the game, he can handle crucial situations in important matches. For this to happen, studying the rules, strategies, moves, etc., becomes indispensable in this age of competitive sports. Nowadays, videos of previous matches are studied for devising game plans and understanding the weaknesses and strengths oneself and others too. This helps players tremendously, as it avoids repetitive mistakes.
Health and Diet
The body and mind of an athlete are his biggest assets. Keeping them fit thus becomes his duty. A nutritious diet and enough rest helps an athlete recover from stress and tension. Meditation is practiced nowadays, which helps in maintaining mental balance. Totally avoiding the intake of harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco is recommended. Injuries can hamper the career of an athlete, so he should try to take all the necessary precautions.
Planning the Career Professionally
When one thinks of entering the arena of professional sports, its commercial aspect needs to be studied. Estimate your budget and decide upon the amount you can afford to spend for taking up a particular sport. Don't assume anything while planning to raise money and always be realistic about expenses. Try to fit in your expenses within the budget; think of approaching sponsors later. The habit of adjusting with the available budget helps you devise ways of saving money. One should be confident of his capabilities as an athlete. Getting the best staff and technical coach makes it easier to focus on the game. It is not a wise move to compromise with the quality of training and coaching. Moreover, a coach plays an important role in motivating an athlete.
Dealing with Sports Federations
Patience and consistency in performance increase your chances of getting selected in a professional sports league. Being an athlete, you know more about your needs and demands than anyone else. Try to be honest and polite when you put forth your requests and demands to the authorities of the federations.
Developed nations like the United States have invested heavily for athletes to prosper. Athletic scholarships are granted to budding athletes by the US Government. It is a good sign that we are promoting a system that nurtures and respects professional athletes. The success stories of professional athletes have inspired youngsters to consider sports as a career. Nowadays, parents too are assured of sports being a viable and sustainable career option for their children. Sportsmen inspire us to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, through their ability to spread energy and enthusiasm.