For some people, turning pro might sound like a distant dream. However, if you’re talented, you might wonder if it’s actually possible to make it. But turning pro is something that can be done, which is evident by the thousands of players who get drafted every year. Not to mention those who never get drafted and still play, those who play in lesser-known leagues, or those who play in prize sports like tennis. So, how easy is it to turn professional in the world of sports?
What Sport Do You Want to Play?
This is a very important question to answer. You have sports like boxing where only a few elite boxers are able to make a sustainable living and other leagues like the NFL that have thousands of active players. This will make a big difference in how easy it will be for you to get in.
What’s Your First Sport?
We also all have a sport we’re the best at or have a talent for. This will influence how easy it will be for you to get into professional sports. You may come from a less popular sport like soccer, but this sport could give you skills that you can carry into other sports. For instance, many top punters and kickers in the NFL were soccer players, so if you are a skilled soccer player, you could have a much better chance at making it pro since this is such a specialized job with very few players who can fill it.
You could also consider other sports if the one you were thinking of was too difficult to get in. If getting into one sport is too difficult, look at other places where you could use that skill set. Players like Steve Nash, for instance, were soccer players before they became top players in the NBA.
Or, maybe you are a US-based soccer player and don’t feel like there is enough opportunity here. In this case, you could go through a program like Soccer to Football that will allow you to train with European trainers and coaches and improve your game. You will then have the opportunity to play for one of the many European football teams or have a better chance at playing in the MLS.
Easiest Sports to Get in
We also suggest that you look at the easiest sports to get into. This will give you an idea of which ones give you the most realistic chances of playing pro. While soccer is very competitive at the top levels, there are so many leagues all over the world that even a decent player can find a spot somewhere. You also have sports like bowling that may not be the most popular, but it has tons of openings and a surprisingly large following, so this is an option you could consider.
How Early Did You Start?
If you’re starting late, know that you’ll be at an automatic disadvantage. Most top players started playing when they were children and have years of practice over you. So, know that it will be an uphill battle if you’re in your late teens or an adult. There are some players that started professional sports late into their adulthood, such as UFC fighters Francis Ngannou, for instance, but these are usually anomalies, however, so be realistic.
So, how easy it is to make it as a pro? It depends. You first need to have the skill and dedication, then look at the most plausible path for you.