Professional athletes in the United States are some of the most highly compensated people. Many earn millions of dollars each year, and some even make more than $100 million throughout their careers.
Some are also celebrities like LeBron James and Tom Brady, who have lucrative endorsement deals with major companies. Someone like LeBron James can earn as much as $40 million per contract, not including the sponsorships he has with other brands.
Being a professional athlete is no easy task. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work, with some starting this career path as early as their childhood. Here’s what you need to know if you want to become a professional athlete in the future.
Choose Your Sport
There’s a good chance that you’ve already chosen your sport. It might be something you have liked ever since you were little. However, note that some athletes choose certain sports because they can earn them a lot of money. For example, Michael Jordan became a professional basketball player because the sport pays very well. But he also got into golf later on in his career because it also pays well.
Inherently, soccer has the most fanbase worldwide, reaching 3.5 billion people globally. This is also why it’s the biggest and most valued sport globally.
Choosing a well-known sport and one that pays well is always a good choice. But don’t worry about choosing a niche. Something like esports used to be ignored years ago, but now it has become one of the most viewed sports in the world.
Get in Shape
No matter what sport you choose, it’s essential to be in good shape. Most professional athletes work out intensely every day to stay in top condition. You’ll need to do the same if you want to make it to the big leagues.
Many athletes also follow a strict diet to maintain their physique. This might be something you’ll have to do, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle. Later down the line, once you get some sponsorships, you can get advanced treatment like cryotherapy, which can advance any injuries you might have.
It’s also good to be close to a physician. You should find a doctor that specializes in sports injuries. These doctors can help you get back on the field as soon as possible if you ever sustain an injury.
Start Training Early
If you want to become a professional athlete, it’s best to start training early. Most pro athletes began when they were very young, and many of them had professional coaches training them since they were kids.
This isn’t to say that you can’t make it if you start training later in life. But it will be much harder, and you’ll need to work twice as hard.
Repetition and drills are key. Most are inherently good with the sport they decided to enter, but most have to learn through repetitions and drills. Eventually, by training yourself through these ways, you can start applying them creatively.
Get a College Education
A college education is not mandatory for becoming a professional athlete. But it can certainly help. College provides athletes with a chance to develop their skills and learn more about the sport they love. It can also give them a chance to meet other athletes from around the world.
Many professional athletes have gone to college, and it’s not uncommon for them to earn scholarships. LeBron James, for example, went to Miami University on a basketball scholarship.
College can also help you get exposure. If you perform well in college, there’s a good chance that scouts will take notice. This could lead to a professional contract down the road.
As with any other career path, networking is important in the sports world. You’ll need to make connections with other athletes, coaches, and agents if you want to make it big.
Attend sporting events and talk to people working in the industry. Get involved with social media and create a strong online presence. There are many ways to network, and you should take advantage of as many of them as possible.
No matter what, always remain positive. This is an important trait for any athlete. You’ll need to have a positive attitude when you’re going through tough times, and you’ll need to be able to pick yourself up after a loss.
Many athletes deal with injuries and setbacks throughout their careers. But the ones that succeed are the ones that don’t give up and continue working hard.
The road to becoming a professional athlete is not an easy one. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can make it happen. Remember to stay positive and keep moving forward.