Parents often ask me, what comes after being a student-athlete at college? Why should my child put so much effort during high school and college, only to realize that the ‘professional sports career’ opportunities are slim due to intense competition?
Today, I want to tell everyone a truth - playing a sport builds your character in a way that no classroom ever could.
Playing a sport at high-school is tough. Kids have all sorts of pressures nowadays – pressure to perform well academically, pressure to ‘fit in’ with classmates, and pressure to get admitted to a good college or university. Also, let’s not forget, high-school students are adolescents that also need time to socialize with their peers. In this whole process, sport naturally becomes less of a priority for a lot of kids.
This is your wake-up call parents. Do not let this happen.
So why is playing a sport important for your child?
We all already know that playing a sport improves health and personal well-being, so I am not going to talk about that. Let’s focus on the aspect that you have never thought about.
Have you ever wondered if playing a sport increases your chances of securing a good job? Ever wondered if it increases your chances of succeeding as a business owner?
Well, you don’t need to wonder anymore because the answer is yes. Playing a sport helps you in more ways than you can imagine.
Playing a sport at high school or college level is all about time-management. You need to prioritize academics, sports, and a social life. It’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. There are more than 460,000 student-athletes competing at NCAA level (US Colleges) that are mastering their time, day in, day out. In addition to their sport, each one of them has the same pressures that any other student has. Playing a college-sport builds your character by presenting new challenges each day. You need to keep your head up even when things aren’t going your way. Each day, you are working harder and better than yesterday – And recruiters eventually see that.
Effective communication, competitiveness, perseverance, teamwork, and attitude – 5 key skills that most athletes develop during their time at college. Luckily for them, these are also the 5 skills that every employer is looking for.
Most people in their twenties complain about their lives. And it doesn’t stop there. The complaining carries on as life goes on. They complain about their jobs, they complain about their businesses, and they complain about every other small thing they can find which is wrong with the world. Athletes, on the other hand, they know how to adjust and adapt to new surroundings. They know when things aren’t going their way, they have to keep pushing themselves and withstand the storm, instead of quitting.
Just to be clear, I am not making any of this up myself. There are various research studies done in the US that suggest these themes and trends. And being a former student-athlete myself, I tend to agree.
So parents, I understand that you may want your children to prioritize other things in life such as academics, music or art, but do encourage them to pursue a sport at some level. They don’t need to be the next Roger Federer or Lionel Messi, but they should pursue it as much as they can, and for as long as they can. Just like a doctor and a nutritionist suggests a balanced diet, I am suggesting a balanced life.
Trust me, it works.