By Nadene Hart
Athletes are known for their superior ability to move, react, and perform in their respective areas, but what do athletes bring to the table in day-to-day life? The value of a life-long athletic career transcends far beyond stadium lights and physical ability. Sports in their entirety are a never-ending learning curve. From understanding of the game and individual moves and plays to the ability to work within a team and be a part of a greater whole, sports are an organized microcosm of what it means to function successfully, even exceptionally, in the real world.
A study by the Human Kinetics Journal claims that participating in sports produces the development of “transformational leadership skills” which greatly add to an individual’s strength and marketability as employees. Beyond being energetic and hard-working, the profusion of desirable qualities that athletes possess extends well beyond the capacity of a list.
Concisely, athletes as employees are a preferable choice for employers for numerous reasons:
Athletes are punctual
Before an athlete can touch a ball, take a shot or make a play, they have to be on time. Athletes are consistent and punctual; whether it be for practice or a game, it is the expectation that all players be, not only on time, but early. Punctuality is never a cause for worry when employing athletes.
Athletes are competitive
The innate desire to be competitive works to the employer’s benefit. May it be to meet a sales goal, stay late to finish their work or go above and beyond for a client, athletes have a natural inclination to want to push themselves. According to an article from Business Insider, the competitive streak, while typically seen as an interpersonal quality, actually has most to do with the way an athlete pushes themselves. Always expecting more from their performance, an athlete knows that the only way to get the job done right is to give it their all, every time.
Both single player sports and team sports produce desirable qualities
Athletes from a team sport vs. the single-player athlete: not all athletes have a team sport background, sports like tennis and boxing leave an individual to perform on their own. May it be a team sport or individual, the benefit the employer reaps is equally as effective. A team sport player understands how to be part of a whole. They understand their role and how to interact with others in such a way that it benefits the group, as well as how to work with different personalities and backgrounds to complete a common goal. Athletes from an individual sport have an intrinsic sense of responsibility, and because they have no one to rely on while on the court, are always going to push themselves to get the job done.
Athletes are coachable
Coachability is a skill which combines the value of humility with the initiative and desire to learn. To excel at any sport, athletes have a career-long trial and error process. According to a CNBC article, the ability to not only be critiqued and pushed constantly, but to hear critical information in a receptive, calm and eager way is an invaluable quality that athletes consistently display in their work environments. An athlete in the office will be told what they are doing wrong, ask how to fix it and immediately put the wheels in motion. “Accountability and coachability are two of the most marketable qualities for an employee to exhibit,” said Lisa Strasman of the NCSA, an analytic and data driven recruiting network for athletes.
Athletes are natural multi-taskers
Not only are they able to balance several projects at once, but athletes stay calm under pressure and even thrive in stressful environments. In a game setting, an athlete has to be aware of the clock, the score, their coach’s demands and the players on the floor. Deadlines, quotas and client expectations are the corporate parallel to the components of a game, and an athlete is sure to excel in their careers as they would in a competition. Punctuality, reliability, the desire to compete and excel, the ability to work well with others, coachability and staying calm and focused under pressure are just some of the qualities an athlete brings to their job.
Vincent McCaffrey, CEO of Game Theory Group, claims that for young people entering the workforce out of college, playing a sport serves as a sort of resume to show a prospective employee’s ability to be punctual, reliable, and hard working. “Collegiate athletes make some of the best employees,” said McCaffrey. “Most 22-year-olds have no track record from an employment standpoint, but the experience a student athlete has developed bodes well in the workplace.”
Overall, athletes possess several great qualities that any employer would value. So for your next hire, look to these focused and driven individuals to add to not only your workplace culture but also your bottom line.