The college environment helps students grow as a person and prepare them for their future and a career outside the university walls. Like many other college activities, college sports have many advantages for the student. Firstly, they have to learn to create a balance between their academics and participation in a sport. The toughness they develop and their success in both fields prepare them for life outside college and gives them an extra edge in building a successful career. This is why many employers prefer to hire former student-athletes. They understand that these candidates have gone through several experiences in their four years of stay on campus, competing and studying. It means they have learnt to succeed against all odds and in the face of opposition. While this is a trait beneficial to the individual, the hiring company will also benefit from it.
If you’re getting into college and are considering whether to get involved in college sports and if you need it for your career, here are some advantages of college sports that can help you build a successful career post-college.
It requires a lot of discipline to balance sports and academics and succeed at both successfully. The sports environment helps to create discipline, fueled by the hard work needed to succeed in sports and as a student. College athletes are often expected to behave like professional athletes and are treated equally. So, you’re not just getting disciplined for yourself; you also have to match the expectations of your coach, teammates, academic colleagues, and the college. This helps you learn a valuable life skill that would be more than handy in your post-college career.
2. Time-keeping skill
Being a college athlete makes you different from a regular student. Apart from studying, you’re also competing at a high level. During the main season, you must attend countless training sessions, such as strength & conditioning, recovery, classroom or tactical, fitness, general technical, and other specific training. You must learn to balance all these training sessions with the matches, meetings, and other weekly events while being a student. To succeed, you need excellent time management skills. This is a trait that becomes part of you during the four years and would help you succeed with managing multiple tasks when you get to the real world. Timekeeping and time management abilities are crucial skills employers look out for in employees.
3. Mental toughness
Another advantage of college sports is that it builds a mental toughness in athletes that other college students don’t. Specialists at UK careers boosters often attribute success in a professional career to the level of mental toughness the individual possesses. It’s impossible to succeed as an athlete without mental toughness. You’ll lose and fail, but you must always get back up and try to compete for the win again. This is what creates that mental toughness in student-athletes.
Similarly, you must be ready to fail and make mistakes to succeed in any chosen career. The best employees would learn from these mistakes and get better. This is a trait student-athletes have already mastered, which gives them an edge over other college graduates.
4. Ability to handle pressure
Athletes compete under incredible pressure, and they have to carry it graciously. The weight of expectations from having a crowd of people rooting for them to win in a home game or the pressure of winning to make a point that comes from being jeered and booed by away fans. Every match is played under pressure. Imagine having to score a free throw with the clock ticking down or having to convert a potential match-winning penalty under either condition. These pressure moments cannot be taught in the classroom. It’s an experience that can only be learnt from within it. Athletes have to learn the act of handling pressure.
You need to set goals to achieve success in your business or organization. It’s hard to measure success in the absence of goals. However, it’s one thing to create goals; pursuing and achieving them is a different ball game. Student-athletes spend four years of their college lives pursuing different goals. Daily goals, weekly goals, fitness goals, match goals, and seasonal goals. They’re called to do it, and they work hard to achieve each goal. This goal-achieving mentality is a trait that every employer needs in their organization if they’re to succeed.
6. Self-confidence and independence
It may be daunting to take on a new challenge initially, but you’ll only grow when you leave your comfort zone. The college experience builds your independence and confidence, especially if you’re studying in a foreign country. However, becoming a student-athlete, the environment you get into, and the experience you get only helps you to be more confident in yourself and your abilities. This confidence transcends sports and sporting abilities into other areas of your life and would continue to be an important trait beyond the college walls.
Being a student-athlete may seem like something you do for fun or the love of sports, but it has immeasurable benefits both within and outside campus life. Due to the many traits and soft skills required to succeed in sports, employers are now giving more consideration to college athletes for job opportunities. So, to build a successful career, you can start developing yourself with college sports.