Athletes And Sports Compitetors

By: Driken Langbata

Athletes And Sports Competitors

What They Do: Athletes and sports competitors participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators.

Work Environment: Athletes and sports competitors often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. They usually work more than 40 hours a week for several months during their particular sports season. They often work outside, so they may be exposed to all weather conditions.

How to Become One: No formal educational credential is required to become an athlete or sports competitor. Athletes must have superior athletic talent and immense knowledge of their sport, which they usually get through years of practice and experience at lower levels of competition.

Pay: The median annual wage for athletes and sports competitors was $44,680 in May 2015.

Job Outlook: Employment of athletes and sports competitors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for most professional athlete jobs will remain very strong.

Athletes and sports competitors typically do the following:

  • Practice to develop and improve their skills
  • Maintain the equipment they use in their sport in good condition
  • Stay in the best physical condition by training, exercising, and following special diets
  • Take instructions from coaches and other sports staff during games regarding strategy and tactics
  • Obey the rules of the sport during competitions and games
  • Assess how they did after each event and identify their strengths and weaknesses

Many people dream of becoming a paid professional athlete. Few people, however, beat the odds and make a full-time living from professional athletics. And when they do, professional athletes often have short careers with little job security.

When playing a game, athletes and sports competitors must understand the game strategies while obeying the rules and regulations of the sport. The events in which athletes compete include team sports, such as baseball, softball, hockey, and soccer, and individual sports, such as golf, tennis, swimming, and skiing. The level of play varies greatly, where sometimes the best from around the world compete in events broadcast on international television.

Being an athlete involves more than competing in athletic events. Athletes spend many hours each day practicing skills and improving teamwork under the guidance of a coach or a sports instructor. They view videotapes to critique their own performances and techniques and to learn their opponents' tendencies and weaknesses so as to gain a competitive advantage.

Some athletes work regularly with strength trainers to gain muscle and stamina and to prevent injury. Many athletes push their bodies to the limit during both practice and play, so career-ending injury is always a risk; even minor injuries may put a player at risk of replacement.

Because competition at all levels is extremely intense and job security is always in question, many athletes train throughout the year to maintain excellent form and technique and remain in peak physical condition. Very little downtime from the sport exists at the professional level.