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| June 23, 2017

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Athletics: It's More Than Just A Game

Athletics: It’s More Than Just A Game

If someone were to analyze a football, basketball, or softball game, they may be impressed with an athletic play or cheer on a particular team. Ultimately, they would come to the conclusion that the point is to win the game. Still, win or lose, it is just a game. Although winning is the goal all athletes want to reach, athletics is much more than just a game. Athletics, especially at the collegiate level, is a laboratory for the growth of future A-player employees. An A-player is a top-level employee who is a great leader, role model, and achieves success. Hiring one A-player will change a business dramatically and with proper tactics to retain valued employees, A-players will attract more high quality workers.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) the percentage of athletes who continue their athletic careers professionally is minuscule. 1.6% of all NCAA football players will play in the NFL, 0.9% of all women’s basketball players get the opportunity to play in the WNBA, and 1.4% of men soccer players continue their college career at the professional level. In the 2013-2014 academic year, 472,625 athletes participated in 23 NCAA sports across the country. Unfortunately, the possibility of playing professionally are very slim and many talented athletes must move on from athletics and enter the workplace after graduating from college.

The good news for many businesses is that athletes are raised to be excellent employees. I believe a businessman should hire an athlete as his next employee because:

1. Athletes are achievement oriented
2. Athletes are resilient
3. Athletes are strong communicators
4. Athletes are team oriented
5. Athletes are excellent with time management

Most athletes have a burning desire to be competitive. An athlete not only competes against an opponent, but they also fight for a position on the team with other teammates. Collegiate athletics is a business and each athlete is expected to produce or playing time and/or spot on the team can be in jeopardy. Achievement oriented individuals refuse to be complacent and tend to never be satisfied. It is important to continually give athletes goals to strive for in the workplace. Competing is fun for them and a business will benefit immensely from an athlete’s competitiveness.

Athletics promote resiliency and overcoming adversity in order to become successful. Overcoming adversities arise in different forms throughout an athletic career. Athletes are expected to cope with injuries, adjust to uncontrollables like an umpire’s strike zone and compete to the conclusion of a game even if it feels like a victory is out of reach. Those who are resilient achieve greatness. For example, in 2004, the Boston Red Sox were down three games to the Yankees for the American League Championship Series. It would have been easy to throw in the towel but the Boston Red Sox refused to give up and the baseball team showed their resilience by winning four games straight and then onto win the World Series. Athletes refuse to let the uncontrollables bring them down; they will fight, scratch, and claw to reach their goals. An employee with this mentality will be an impactful member of the business and will contribute to creating a culture of success.

Especially in a team sport, an athlete is required to have strong communication skills. On the field, their job is to communicate with teammates in order to perform plays and encourage positive actions through supportive cheering, thus creating a unified atmosphere. Communication is not limited to verbal messages but is any information that is exchanged from one person to another. Successful athletes are coachable and communicate consistently with their coaches and team members. Coachability is critical because without buy-in from both the coaching staff and teammates, communication becomes fragile or broken causing indecisiveness, lack of trust, and a lack of confidence. As a manager, you want your employees to whole-heartedly trust the process, be open to constructive criticism, and communicate through behavior, feedback, and allowing oneself to be coachable. Because an athlete is achievement oriented and competitive, they tend to be one step ahead of non-athletes and will comply for the success of the business.

The benefit of being part of a team is probably the biggest attribute an athlete can bring to the workplace. Being team oriented encourages selflessness, consideration of others’ culture and emotions, and represents something much larger than one individual. Athletes work well with others and realize that their actions are a direct reflection of the team and organization. Issues always arise in a group, but when you are around the same people more than you spend time with family, you learn to manage and communicate with others as you strive for a common goal.

Lastly, a college athlete would be a great asset to a business because of their experience managing time wisely. The NCAA mandates all athletes enroll in at least twelve credit hours and maintain a 2.0 or higher grade point average. Athletes are also required to have a certain percentage towards their degree completed each year in order to participate in their sport. Depending on the Division (I, II, or III) and the university, an athlete is also expected to excel in a strength and conditioning program as well as attend practice. Juggling academics, practice, and strength and conditioning is a task most freshman struggle with their first year, but by the end of an athlete’s career, they become a master of time management. The ability to manage time relieves stress and prevents being overwhelmed as well as reduces drop-offs in performance.

In conclusion, a former student-athlete is an excellent candidate for a business’ next A-player. It may look different while they are competing in their sport, but college athletes make an impact on and off the field. Athletics build character and the sport will push a player’s beyond their perceived limitations. Athletes are always given a choice and those who persevere through a grueling yet rewarding four-year career become better people, better athletes, and have the tools to be contributing members of society. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the most well known supporter in the hiring of college athletes. In April 2012, they signed a partnership with Career Athletes LLC to broaden recruitment of former student-athletes. Other companies associated with Career Athletes LLC include Urban Teacher Center, Northwestern Mutual, Stryker, and Federated Insurance.

References:

Brown, Lisa. “Enterprise Signs National Partnership to Hire Student Athletes”. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 25 April 2012. Web. 20 November 2015. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/enterprise-signs-national-partnership-to-hire-student-athletes/article_6f6babf8-8ee6-11e1-9e0a-0019bb30f31a.html

“Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics”. NCAA Research. 14 April 2015. Web. 12 November 2015.
http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics

Danielle Glosson is a young professional currently enrolled in the Master’s of Entrepreneurship Program at Western Carolina University and currently works at the university as a softball coach. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2015 by Danielle Glosson.

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