Striving to be a professional athlete is a noble goal. However, taking your game to professional leave means being better than those around you. Being the best is, by definition, a long shot, but restructuring your life with expertise in mind can help you tremendously. Here’s what you need to know in order to become a professional athlete.

Sponsorships

Even as an amateur athlete, you can still make money for yourself and make a name for yourself. College sports, for example, provide an outlet in which students can develop their love of the game while gaining a public reputation via broadcast games. Meanwhile, a particularly talented athlete can become sponsored by companies for marketing purposes, and this can be incredibly beneficial to amateur athletes looking to go pro. First and foremost, sponsorships represent a form of income, potentially at a time when either you have no income to speak of or when a full time job is preventing you from putting in the necessary time to improve. Getting hired for an ambassador program is a great way to expand the reach of your personal brand while being able to justify pursuing your passion with something to show for it.

Fitness

It all but goes without saying, but physical fitness will prove to be the biggest barrier to entry when it comes to professional sports. Athletes are generally more fit than the average person by necessity, but being the best means matching the level of fitness of your peers. Finding the right workout routine and the diet to support it are your first priority. A general workout is great for ensuring at least a passing level of strength in all of the major muscle groups, but the workout regimen of an athlete will need to reflect the specific needs of the sport in question. For example, a football player will need a strong core, as well as strong legs and arms. On the other hand, a soccer player will need more work on leg strength, stamina, and cardio. Cardio is one of the most universal fitness needs, because it makes the body more or less efficient, something that affects every aspect of daily life.

 

The diet of an athlete will also need to change in order to meet changing needs. Generally, a diet supports physical activity with a few key components. Carbohydrates provide the energy the body needs, protein goes into muscular maintenance, and electrolytes help muscles move. Like many fitness diets, an athletic diet needs to include plenty of protein to repair tired muscles. However, many fitness diets are carb averse, while athletes and bodybuilders carb load before workouts or sporting events, times when they need an excess of energy to work with. It’s important to mention that not all carbs are created equal. Simple carbs from processed products contribute to energy spikes, crashes, and weight gain, while whole complex carbs give your body energy for a longer period of time, helping to avoid the negative aspects of simple carbs.

Practice

With your finances, workout, and diet are in order, the remaining hurdle standing in your way will be that of skill. Any game or sport entails developing a skill, and doing so efficiently is key to becoming a talented professional. This is especially true when it comes to sports, an arena in which only physical prowess and mental acuity can help you outplay the competition. They say practice makes perfect, and that’s largely true. Practicing any skill helps to develop it, but you can expedite this time consuming process by approaching practice in a more mindful and critical manner. It’s also important to give your brain a break in the same way that your body needs rest. You can feel like you’ve hit a wall beyond which you can’t progress only to come back to it only to find it much easier. This is because the brain uses periods of rest in order to go over new information, transcribing it into lasting memories.