Many people want to become professional athletes and wonder what it takes. Natural talent is very important. However, other factors are important as well. The willingness to work hard is a second important trait. Sports is physically demanding and requires many hours of training. You must be willing to put in the time and effort in extensive, exhausting practice sessions and in play.
Discipline goes hand in hand with hard work. You have to discipline yourself to train long hours and not get into trouble with drugs and alcohol, which wreak havoc on an athlete's body. Having one drink is one thing (wine is the least damaging) but getting high on drugs and drunk on alcohol is quite another. There have been high profile cases of notable, talented athletes, whose careers were derailed by drugs and or alcoholism.
The willingness to listen and cooperate is also an asset. Managers, coaches and trainers prefer athletes who are not stubborn and are willing to listen to their advice that comes from many years of experience. The willingness to listen to instructions, correction and advice, putting it in motion in real life situations in and out of play, will make you more successful.
No matter how good of an athlete you are, you don't want the manager or coach to become exasperated with your attitude or antics in or out of play and bench you. There's only so much the average manager or coach is willing to take. Get behavioral issues under control.
There have been a few athletes who were warring with people they work with because training and team commitments interfered with their partying scheduled. That's another thing, you cannot be a successful athlete chasing tramps and partying all the time. It will sap your strength and damage your career. Your performance off the pitch/field/court with all these women will negatively impact your performance on the pitch/field/court.
See your career as something you love, but also a business. Only listen to the most experienced, tried and tested individuals, who are professionals with a track record for being correct and successful. Listening to your friends and or girlfriends, who do not know the business, with some acting out of self-interest, will not help you in the long run.
For example, your friend wanting to manage your career, with no business experience or contacts in the industry, as opposed to you signing with a manager or agent with years of experience and proven success. That is a big no-no. Many careers have suffered going this route. The entertainment and sports industries are very specific and complicated. It's not cut and dry. There are many intricacies. An experienced and connected manager and or agent will get you places and more income much quicker than your inexperienced, untrained friend off the street attempting to trade off your burgeoning name.
A good manager or agent will confidently and constantly work via their connections to get you deals with corporations that make sports drinks, soft drinks, food, footwear, apparel, cars and other items that are a good fit with your brand. Your friend who is not in the industry will have a very difficult time getting meetings with the aforementioned people.
Another example, your girlfriend not wanting you to sign with certain teams in certain cities. You think it is because she does not believe they are the best teams and will not win championships, when it has been proven in quite a few cases it's about the number of models and groupies that reside in said cities (Miami, Los Angeles and New York ect). Don't laugh, I know of cases where this happened but I don't want to name names and embarrass anyone. That's not the purpose of this article.
Save for a rainy day
Unless your girlfriend is a professional athlete, manager, agent or works for a sports organization in an executive capacity, it is best not to accept life changing career advice from her. She may mean well, she may be only thinking about herself, you don't know, but at the end of the day, it is best to listen to the professionals.
Additionally, whether you are on a squad or in a solo sport, once you get signed, you will have a team of professionals behind you and you need to make the best effort you can to cooperate and work with them. No man is an island. There's nothing wrong with getting help from others under the correct, prearranged terms, hammered out in proper contracts. And remember, you head up your personal business team, you set the agenda, don't let anyone push you into anything you do not feel comfortable doing.
Work with knowledgeable, experienced people, as it will make a difference in how much of an impact your career makes and how much income you earn. It's not about greed, but one must keep in mind, the average professional athlete's career lasts roughly 5-years. Some exceed that, but many fall under the five year average as well. Therefore, you need to make the most of it while you have it, to set yourself and your family up financially for the future. As the Judiciary Report always advocates, use a small portion of your earnings to start a sensible business.
Bills don't pay themselves. Think big and try to think ahead and with that in mind, make the most of today with the best deals and endorsements your team can find.