For most collegiate athletes, the chances of going pro are under 2%.
So — why do we play?
College often provides students the most memorable years of their life — full of new friends, parties, and the opportunity to take the next steps in defining your future. A select few of us choose to take on additional responsibilities by participating in a college sport. Often participation requires shortened summers, daily practices and weekend commitments.
From the outside looking in it doesn’t make much sense. Why put in the time and the effort if it almost can’t lead you anywhere?
It’s a false choice. Collegiate athletics stay with you forever – and do a fantastic job of preparing you for your eventual career.
College athletes are wired differently, there’s a deep need in us to practice, perform and improve. We thrive to be a part of something, and to achieve success through hard work and preparation. Below are 7 attributes of college athletes that translate directly into success on the job:
A team’s success depends on all other teammates performing to the best of their abilities; this is true on the field and in an office. As athletes, we were surrounded with new teammates our first day freshman year, and this is exactly like entering a new job.
You don’t know anyone’s skills or past history, but you know you were brought in to be a piece of the puzzle and to help drive success. We can quickly integrate ourselves into a team and identify which skills we can contribute. We work well with peers and senior level employees and don’t shy away from getting involved. We know team success always comes above personal success and accolades.
As a college athlete we are expected to perform both in the classroom and on the field. In order to succeed at both we must be effective time managers.
Time management is one of the most important attributes when starting a job, it is essential to prioritize and organize your office life. The ability to manage time instantly sets up an employee for success: we’re used to pursuing several challenging goals simultaneously, and we’re used to the stress of balancing several demands on our time.
College students often come out of school thinking they have everything figured out, because of their success at school. As athletes, we know there is always room for improvement — and we’re great at accepting suggestions. Collegiate athletes develop a deep respect for senior players, coaches and the chain of command.
We respect figures of authority and put our trust in them to lead us to our ultimate goals. At the same time we are not afraid to put in our two cents if we think a certain play or strategy will help us win.
As an athlete, you are expected to own up to your mistakes and take accountability for them. Finger pointing or blame is unacceptable and irrelevant after a loss. We watch the film, determine what could we have done better, and identify the mistakes we will not make again.
Personal accountability is a good trait to have and often is un-teachable to those who always point the finger at their peers or superiors. Personal accountability is one of the biggest attributes that can create a desirable company culture.
Competition often drives a team to levels of performance that were once deemed unachievable. We play college athletics because we have that inherent thirst to compete.
A competitive spirit cannot be taught, but you can rest assured anyone playing at a collegiate level has it in some form. Competitive spirit within a company drives friendly competition that can propel companies to new levels of success.
Desire to Improve
College athletes lift weights to get stronger, practice to get better, and watch film on competition to get smarter. As an athlete we never reach a level of complacency because we feel there is always opportunity to improve.
Whether we are trying to get faster, hit for a higher average or make a higher percentage of baskets the level of excellence remains just out of reach. Imagine a company’s performance where every single person is striving for a new level of excellence each and every day.
Dan Monarko was a 3-year starter at defensive tackle for the Allegheny College Gators football team.