An athletic career may not be as hard to enter into as it first seems. Granted, becoming a professional athlete is a difficult road that takes years of dedicated training, advanced opportunities and a bit of genetic predisposition, but it is not the only way to make a living through athletics. Here are a few suggestions for those interested in pursuing athletic careers and the steps to make it happen.

Choose a Sport

Being a professional athlete means finding a way to be paid for your particular athletic talents. Typically, many imagine playing for a professional team. The way to accomplish this begins early in life by choosing one or two sports to fully pursue. As you grow, your ability and knowledge in the sport will grow with you. Along the way, young athletes hone their skills on teams. Playing year-round if possible will yield long term benefits, but cross-training in the off season can still help to keep the athlete’s body in competition condition.

Once you are ready to join the ranks of a professional team, the team needs to know who you are. Team scouts may notice your talent and offer you an opportunity to tryout, but most likely you will have to “walk-on” to an open tryout. The key to making it into the pros is dedication to a sport and persistence in pursuing the goal. For professional team-sport athletes, their exhibitive talent is their resume.

I’m just looking to learn, grow, stay focused, and become a better fighter and a better athlete.

Conor McGregor

Coach

Many athletes may reach a plateau in their pursuit of professional sports that eventually outlasts their ability to play at the competitive level. Aging is a time clock on the body’s ability to compete in most sports. However, the mind can continue to grow in experience and wisdom of a sport long after the body has lost its competitive edge. That is why many former professional athletes transition into coaching positions.

This is an opportunity to share years of understanding and strategy in the leadership of younger athletes. Coaches work in all sports, so finding a suitable coaching position is a reasonable expectation. The key to landing that position will be in the power of your resume. For this type of position, it is important to translate athletic experience into quantifiable value for the potential employer. Mentioning that you were on a championship team is not as definitive as highlighting that you were the captain of your college team, which more clearly defines your leadership characteristics. Look for other ways to use your resume to show you are an athletic leader and not just a team player.

Supporting Roles in Athletics

The world is full of people who love sports activities, but most require a supporting staff to facilitate it. This is where the opportunity to transform a resume of general athletic experience into a focused application toward a specific support position. Some supporting staff positions will require additional training and certification like personal trainers and physical therapists. There are hundreds of positions that support the efforts of professional teams and could give you the opportunity to advance from the inside of a big sports franchise.