Employers can often be found to be actively seeking former student-athletes to fill positions in their company. It could be because they have good time management skills, are fierce competitors, natural leaders, or because they have a great work ethic. However, these are not the only reasons former student-athletes are sought after by employers.
The student-athlete experience provides the opportunity for subtle development in unrecognisable areas. And it is in these areas where student-athletes provide true value as employees.
Athletics and academics are very statistically driven. You can either run this fast or jump that high. You scored “X” goals or won “Y” games. You got an A- on the midterm, bringing your overall grade to a B+. Student-athletes are compared by these measures both on and off the field, as the level of play increases and as the curve is set higher. This leads college athletes to be very perceptive and analytical of their performance.
Within this analysis, athletes must evaluate themselves, identify room for improvement, and be honest about their strengths and weaknesses if they want to compete. If they are not meeting expectations, they work with coaches, teammates, and mentors to get through it; setting goals and milestones to achieve progress. In the competitive arenas of athletics and education, progress is especially found to be earned and not given.
Student-athletes strongly believe that progress is a process They develop this faith because they often act at the edge of their limits, and justify their depleting efforts by visualising how it will help them perform. An individual only has so much energy in a day, and with the expectation to improve both physically and intellectually, they put pressure on how effectively they spend their time and energy. This reinforces their belief in the value of daily improvement to achieve their larger goals.
Undeniably, it requires a strong competitive spirit to be a college athlete. Everyone wants to be the best, and thinks they are the best. But stepping into that next level is a humbling event, where the holes of a prospect’s game are quickly exposed, and their ego is deflated.
Over time players find their roles in the team, they learn to respect the history of the program, they seek advice from their elders, and a strong camaraderie is built. But at the same time, they are still personally motivated to see themselves succeed, with that desire to prove that they are the best. This manifests as honest competition and friendly rivalry between teammates.
Although coaching is fundamental to getting the best out of a team, players are independently responsible for getting the most out of themselves. A student-athlete’s internal will-power and personal accountability persists in their habits outside of sport. They are very aware of the choices they make involving nutrition, sleep, completing class assignments, and allocating time to study. Focused on performance, and limited in energy, student-athletes rely on preparation to get through the day, and understand the repercussions of their lapses in judgement.
Student-athletes are given every opportunity to succeed both athletically and academically, but pursuing both opportunities is something else entirely. Over the length of their careers, student-athletes become accustomed to seeking out value and incorporating it into their routine when appropriate. And not only do collegiate athletes learn to leverage these opportunities, they also realise the benefits they provide moving forward.
Being a student-athlete is demanding, testing their limits and expecting performance. It is portrayed as having two full-time jobs, and it surely feels like it. This pushes student-athletes beyond their comfort zone into an area of constant anxiety and agitation. They must learn how to manage this discomfort if they want to be successful.
Additionally, these individuals are frequently exposed to uncomfortable situations because they have to manage two top priorities – school and sport. Student-athletes gain unique experience in these difficult circumstances, and learn how to best navigate the situation and their emotions when doing so.
Prepared or not, student-athletes are required to switch tasks and step into a new environment that demands a different mentality. And since they are competing at elite levels both academically and athletically, it is imperative that it can be done immediately. This trait serves well in a fast-paced work environment where an individual is assigned many roles and must keep thoughts and activities straight.
It is still important that recruiters and employers remain diligent, identifying the individual that is the right fit for the role. However, it is no surprise that student-athletes are sought after candidates for certain positions. It is the combination of their skill-set, mentality, and execution that allows them to do well in a professional environment.
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