For some former professional athletes, the hard work and dedication doesn’t end when they decide to retire their number. The world has no shortage of former athletes turned entrepreneurs that made a name for themselves after they’ve left the field. From former-boxer George Foreman’s line of cooking products to Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach’s real estate firm, professional athletes have proven time and again they have the grit and gumption to be successful once their athletic career is over.
However, these characteristics develop in an athlete long before they are offered a professional athletic contract.
If you ever participated in organized athletics when you were growing up, you are undoubtedly familiar with the trials of striking equilibrium between school and athletic obligations. As it turns out, it is these high-caliber individuals that are the real movers and shakers in the business world. These are the people you should want to hire. And one Colorado-based company, InXAthlete, is working to strengthen the connection between employers and former student athletes on the job hunt.
Careers after College
The truth that all student athletes must face is that very few of them will go pro. According to a study by the NCAA, only 9 percent of collegiate baseball players will be drafted in the MLB, and that’s the most generous conversion rate among the pro leagues. Only 1.1 percent of male basketball players will go pro, and only 0.9 percent of female basketball players will do the same.
These individuals deal with hardship and loss on a daily basis and therefore are more likely to have the mental fortitude to handle defeat. Jarrod Spencer, sports psychologist and founder of Mind of the Athlete, says it’s these athletes that go on to do great things.
“I really don’t think that this reality is problematic for these athletes at all,” Spencer says. “They know the odds of going pro are probably low, so they know the importance of achieving a sport-academic balance.” Though their sports careers come to an end, these athletes have bright futures ahead of them in the workforce.
Honed for Success
As study after study will show you, high school and collegiate sports are training grounds for the attributes that lead to lifelong success. In fact, research conducted by EY found that 94 percent of all females who hold C-Suite positions were once student athletes.
“Athletes tend to have a better grasp on discipline,” says Daron Roberts, former coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. “They have to adhere to a very strict schedule, being up early and maintaining a strict diet to be at their peak performance. Also, naturally, athletes tend to be great team players. They work well with others and are used to interacting daily with people of different ethnicities, religions, and viewpoints. That’s the crux of being a part of a team sport: in order to be successful, you have to have a good relationship with your teammates.”
“It’s all about the transferability of the athlete’s skill set,” Spencer says. “Today’s athletes are developing those emotional skills that the millennial generation isn’t necessarily garnering quite the same way that we used to. It’s definitely a competitive advantage when they begin hitting the workforce.”
Connecting with Athletes
As student athletes transition from sports to the workplace, they face the same fear as their peers: fear of the unknown. “One of the key stressors that I see time and time again is student athletes wondering what they are going to do next,” Spencer says. “But athletes seem to resolve this woe the fastest of anyone.”
Two former athletes have not only resolved their own fear—they are also helping others to do the same. InXAthlete, founded by Cody Ferraro and Max Wessell, is an online platform connecting student athletes with businesses and recruiters. Hiring managers can turn to InXAthlete to browse a large pool of applicants who already have the personal traits they need most in new hires: discipline, reliability, and the ability to work with a team toward success.
If you are a former student athlete that feels like you have reached the end of the line in your career, don’t be so quick to concede. The training and effort you have put into honing your skills in your sport hold greater value than you may think, and employers are noticing. If you’re an employer looking for your next quality hire, look no further than a former student athlete. And with the help of companies like InXAthlete, it is now easier than ever to score a winning team for your business.