Why Should Companies Hire Athletes?
By Ashley Pastore
Let’s knock it out of the park, we can tackle any challenge, that sales pitch was a home run, don’t drop the ball, just par for the course, it was a slam dunk, time to pass the baton, throw a Hail Mary, take one for the team – the last thing the business world needs is another overused sports metaphor.
It’s not just athletic metaphors that are commonplace in the business world – it’s also athletes themselves. There’s no shortage of studies or articles telling us about the correlation between sports and business. All this research suggests athletes make good hires. After considering the number of hours spent at practice and competitions, chasing a dream, it should come as no surprise these players will succeed in work environments.
While we don’t know if sports breed go-getters or whether they attract kids with a predisposition for successes in the professional world, it’s evident these skills help get the “W” in a variety of scenarios:
Passion & Dedication
Being an athlete is hard; sometimes it hurts. I doubt gymnast Simone Biles got that triple-double on floor exercise without a few painful falls. What makes a person push through hours upon hours of intense body pounding by choice? Passion. Those who are truly passionate about their sport can put on blinders and commit to RFM (relentless forward motion).
With or without physical bruising, athletes tend to direct that same level of dedication to everything they pursue. They know how to plan, sweat, fall, get back up, and keep moving forward.
Practice schedules leave little room for loafing around. Athletes know how to get up early and fit more in a day. Car rides to and from practice become a window to complete homework or eat dinner. Sacrificing in pursuit of a goal is their MO. Along with time management, athletes develop skills like goal setting, creating and sticking to a plan, avoiding distractions, saying no, and asking for help.
Athletes will find a way to be productive and succeed because they JUST DO IT.
Improving employee performance is called coaching for a reason, and athletes crave it. Rather than feeling picked on, athletes seek constructive criticism to better themselves! They have grown up hearing someone tell them how to improve, either by way of gentle guidance (holistic coaching) or red-faced yelling (autocratic coaching). No matter the style, athletes are accustomed to seeking ways to make corrections, grow and advance by way of feedback from leaders.
And while athletes love to be taught, they also become fantastic coaches. After spending years learning what works to create motivated, highly engaged teams, great coaches can bring together individuals with different talents and strengths and persuade them to focus on a shared goal.
Teamwork & Hard Work
Speaking of teams, teammates must work together to achieve a desired result. Everyone has an assignment and is expected to execute their task effectively. Any failure of this teamwork results in an unsuccessful play. There is no “I” in team, right?
On the other hand, let’s not forget those individual sportsters! In an individual sport, where there is an “I,” you are your competition. Every contest is a chance to beat your personal best. To achieve these results, an athlete needs a high amount of self-reliance, discipline, focus, and internal motivation. There are no teammates to hide behind – you can’t put in a sub. The burden of your performance lies on you alone.
Regardless of the sport, athletes across the board tend to know how to put their heads down and get after it. Working together and relying on teammates or honed self-discipline are both ingredients to professional triumphs.
In a world of speed, breaking records, maxing out, besting scores, and winning medals, that quiet, humble little thing called consistency often gets forgotten. Turns out it is the key to success. Sports buffs love the latest crazes – sleeping in high-altitude tents, minimalist running shoes, energy gels, fancy GPS watches, but athletes who master the art of consistency will eventually rise to the top.
Like icing sore muscles, scarfing down meals in a car, being hollered at, and enduring solo training sessions in the rain, consistency is difficult. Seeing results in an athletic quest takes time and patience. This culture of instant gratification often leaves people feeling the need to “switch it up” in order to see quick progress. Take a pause and consider GOATs like Michael Phelps. In every interview, he claims his routine, obsessive training, and becoming besties with that black line on the bottom of the pool helped him become the most decorated Olympian of all time. Okay, consistency and his above-average wingspan.
If you want to be the Katie Ledecky of your industry, make progress a habit. Being able to commit to sustained effort or action over a long period of time gets the gold.
As we watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now in 2021, the importance of these attributes is amplified. Find the best athletes, true competitors, for your team and aim for greatness.
Ashley Pastore is customer experience manager at CORA Physical Therapy.