Tips for Becoming a Professional Athlete

If you're like me, you've probably dreamed about becoming a professional athlete. This is a great dream to have in life. Who wouldn't want to play the sport that they love for a living!? While I've never been a professional athlete myself, I have learned from others what it takes to reach your full potential and play sports at the highest levels. So I'd love to help others by offering some of my best tips for becoming a professional athlete. While every sport is different, I believe these tips can be applied by all athletes. I hope you find them helpful!

Tips for young athletes and parents:

Play many sports as a kid. One of the most common mistakes parents make is pressuring (or forcing) their kids to specialize in a single sport at a very young age. While early specialization may seem like the best way to help your kids become professionals, it actually does more harm than good. Having your kids play many sports helps set them up for long-term success.

Help find the right sport for your kid. One reason why playing many sports as a kid is important is because it helps kids find the sport that is best for them. In my opinion, the best sport for a kid is the sport that they love the most and is best suited for their specific strengths/weaknesses. To be honest, it's not very smart for kids to try to become professionals in sports that they are not well-suited for. For example, a kid who will only grow to be 5'5'' should probably not aspire to become a pro basketball player. While there's nothing wrong with having large goals, they need to be somewhat realistic too. This is why it's important for parents to help guide their children to the sports that are best for them. However, many parents assume they know which sports are best for their kids, but they end up being wrong. Parents are often surprised at which sports their kids end up excelling in and loving the most. This is why you need to allow your kids to explore a wide variety of sports as they grow up.

Be a parent first, coach second. Another major mistake that parents make is obsessing about their kid's athletic development at the expense of their mental health and well-being. When parents focus more on being their kid's coach instead of their parent, they are not doing them a favor. Your kids will have many coaches throughout their lives, but they will only have one mother and father. You need to make sure you develop a loving and supportive relationship with your children. This improves their psychological/emotional development, which will help them live happy and successful lives.

Put your kids a good environment. It takes a family to raise a kid, but it takes a village to develop a professional athlete. By putting your kids in the right environment, with great schools and access to good facilities, coaches, and competition, you help them reach their full potential.

Speaking of coaches, you need to find the right coaches for your kids. Finding a coach who knows how to teach, motivate, and build character is so important. Great coaches can get the most out of your kids and help them reach their full potential.

Tips for older athletes:

However, no coach can help you reach your full potential if you're not self-motivated. Once you are around 15-18 years old, you need to fully commit to becoming the best athlete you can be. Professional sports are extremely competitive, so you need be extremely dedicated and make sports one of your top priorities in life.

While you need to be self-motivated, you also need to be humble enough to ask for help. Becoming a professional athlete requires a full team of support. Not only do you need supportive parents and good coaches, but you also need good fitness trainers, doctors, and sports psychologists that can help you reach your full potential.

After you surround yourself with a good support team, you need to prioritize holistic training. This means you need to work on all areas of your game, including your technique, fitness, nutrition, recovery, strategy (sports IQ), and mental game. It's not enough just to work hard. You also need to work smart!

While having great coaching, support, and training methods is crucial, none of it matters if you don't have a strong mindset. Here are some of the most important attitudes to have as an athlete:

  • Believing you can improve with practice (growth mindset).
  • Being humble and coachable.
  • Putting the team first and being a good teammate/leader.
  • Loving the process.
  • Being detail-oriented.
  • Embracing pressure and adversity.
  • Prioritizing sportsmanship and integrity.
  • Having a good perspective in life (to help maintain balance in life).

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to trust the process and be patient. The journey to becoming a professional athlete can be very challenging and scary. There will be times when you lose hope and want to give up, but you need to persevere! If you keep trusting the process and work your hardest, you will maximize your chances of becoming a professional athlete. And even if you fail, you'll at least be able to say you tried your best, which is something to be proud of!

I hope you've found these tips helpful. Now go out and chase your dreams, one step at a time!