Sports are a terrific medium for learning a range of skills and building habits that are essential for life. Goal setting, time management, relationship management, recovering from setbacks, and disappointments are just some of the lessons that are learned navigating sport as a high school and college athlete.
For that reason, employers look favorably on applicants who have experience as student-athletes. Recent studies have shown this to be true, as well as the fact that many people in management and leadership positions are former student-athletes themselves. They know that during your period of competing, you have been faced with a range of situations that will mirror some of those that you face as you enter the adult world and the workplace. However, they also know that because of your experience playing sport at a high level, you will be more well equipped than others to manage these.
Here are some of the reasons why employers love hiring student-athletes:
Conceding a last-second buzzer-beater or losing break point in the final set of a tennis match- these are setbacks that every athlete is familiar with in their own sport. Having to pick yourself up from disappointments like those takes great force of will as well as the desire to do better next time. Athletes know they can’t win all the time but that doesn’t stop them from trying to do so.
It is the same in the workplace, where project pitches and proposals might not come off on the first go around, but you have to be willing to put in the work to ensure that next time you get things right. Being able to step back, re-evaluate approaches and learn from mistakes are necessary traits in having a successful career. Student-athletes are usually well equipped to do all of these things because of their experiences facing injury, benching, and other obstacles that come up in their athletic careers.
They Are Committed
Student-athletes put in a lot of work for the love of their sport. For a swimmer, training twice a day is the norm, meaning they put in hours of work each day working to improve, and at the end usually only compete in a race or two their weekend meet in which there is no guarantee of victory. That level of commitment to improvement while appreciating the delayed gratification involved is hard to replicate, and competing in sport is a sure-fire way for teenagers to build up those skills.
In the workplace, where big victories are few and far between, it’s important to have workers who understand the importance of taking pride in doing the little things daily that may add up, in the end, to take the company forward. Student-athletes have this skill down and will be able to bring it from the first day they are on the job.
They Are Good Time Managers And Multitaskers
Playing a sport in high school and college means training for hours weekly. This is in addition to going to school and completing homework, trying to spend time with friends and family to ensure you have some sort of social life, and dealing with other distractions that pop us a teenager and emerging adult. This is a lot of juggling to do, and with only 24 hours a day available, finding the time to be able to do all of these things can become a nightmare.
However, student-athletes are usually great time managers with the ability to prioritize tasks and complete them all. In the workplace, being balanced and knowing what tasks to tackle when is important to the success of the company, something student-athletes are adept at.
They Are Good Team Players
If you have played a sport, chances are at some point you have had to team up with others to get the job done. Even for sports such as track and field where competitors are scored individually for the most part, you know that ensuring you do your part for the cause is essential to your team getting enough points to win the meet.
Student-athletes know how to work with others- when and how to lead or follow and how to work with people who they may not even get along with- all for the good of the cause. In the workplace, where everyone is tasked with delivering a product or service at the highest level, being able to navigate group dynamics is essential to success and student-athletes come ready for these challenges.
They Are Goal-Oriented
An essential aspect of being a successful athlete is setting goals and working towards them. If an athlete strives to make their All-State team, break a personal record, or get offered an athletic scholarship, they will put in the work needed to make those things happen. If they have to get up earlier to do cardio work, shoot more shots after practice, or do anything else needed to get to this goal, they will make it happen.
Having that kind of work ethic and motivation in the workplace is a joy for any employer, helping to drive the output of the company.