A professional athlete, as opposed to an amateur, is broadly defined as an athlete who essentially becomes an employee and earns money from competing, while an amateur does not play for monetary gain. For example, in the US, college basketball players are considered amateurs until they are recruited by an NBA team, then they have turned professional as that is now their job. Here are 5 reasons to go pro.
1. Making a living
If you have the skills in your chosen field to be able to play on a professional level, then you can make a living doing what you love. Not everyone has the opportunity to be able to do this in any field, but the ones that do can live a happier life enjoying their job.
Most professional sports require a lot of traveling be it internationally for sports like Formula 1 and cricket, or within the country for sports like the NBA in the US and the AFL in Australia. Either way, a lot of traveling is done and provides you with the chance to gain a more enriched knowledge of different places and people all the while engaging in the job you love.
3. Easy access to health and fitness
Worried about getting a gym membership? Well, the pros aren’t. They are paid to not only play their best but also stay in the best shape to be able to do it. All the Coleman Medal winners who played in the AFL are an example of this. They received the award for kicking the most goals during the season, so staying at peak fitness is imperative to that endeavor. Staying healthy is also a high priority so many sports will have nutritional experts for their teams and if athletes get injured, they have the best doctors and rehabilitators at their disposal.
Pro athletes can command high salaries, and the more prolific and skilled you are, the more you can potentially earn. Take Tiger Woods for example. He is one of the best golfers to have ever lived and is currently worth around $800 million, and makes between $50 – $65 million a year. Not bad for strolling around on a golf course. The more famous you get, the more high-level sponsorships will come your way where you will be paid to endorse a specific product or brand. Michael Jordan still makes around $150 million a year from endorsing Nike alone.
5. Retire Early
Pro athletes can retire earlier than most people. Athletes generally retire at a younger age as they may be past their prime and find it harder and harder to remain at the elite level that a pro career demands. Retiring early means athletes can move on to other interests they may have, with the money to back them up. Some athletes may try another sport they are interested in, for example, when Michael Jordan retired in 1993 he had a stint playing in the Minor Baseball League, however, he was still only 40 years old when he retired for the final time in 2003.
There are many reasons for athletes to consider taking their skills to the professional level. Professional sport is a tough industry and making it to the big leagues takes a great deal of time and an incredible level of skill and training. Though many will try to go pro in their sports, not everyone is guaranteed to make it.