Playing a sport professionally is a huge dream for many people. Being a pro athlete can mean playing the game you love, traveling the world, meeting new people, and getting an incredibly lucrative paycheck. While it is a dream of many, it is only a reality for some. Becoming a professional athlete, no matter what the sport may be, is no easy feat. It takes time, hard work, and immaculate dedication.
College and Beyond
To become a professional athlete, your career is mainly determined by your performance in college. In high school, it can be quite easy to be the best of the best. Reality sinks in when athletes make it on a college sports team and realize there is tough competition. Many are battling for the same dream of becoming a professional athlete. Unfortunately, about less than two percent of college athletes will make it on to a pro team.
Catching Your Big Break
If an athlete is lucky enough to make it on to a pro team after college, keeping their spot on the team can be incredibly difficult. Most new professional athletes will spend most of their time on the bench. Unfortunately, not many athletes will get the playtime that Lebron James or David Beckham has. In reality, they have to fight for their spot every year if they have not yet made a name for themselves. The average career will only last about three to five years; and that’s if their career isn’t cut short by an injury first.
Paychecks Run Out
The most appealing thing about becoming a professional athlete is the amount of money they can make. However, because their career typically only lasts a few years, those paychecks are going to have to last them over the next forty to fifty years. Many pro athletes end up going broke due to bad investments, overspending, overly charitable behavior, and terrible accounting. Unfortunately, not many of them understand how fast their career is over and what retirement really means for their financial future.
It’s not to say that anyone with enough talent and drive couldn’t overcome the odds and become the next Peyton Manning with a lengthy career and sizeable retirement, but it is extremely rare. Never mind the low probability of playing on a professional team, most will see the end of their career within a few short years.