Money, glory, and fame are three words people often associate with athletes. They bring glory to their state or country, and the best ones are treated as national treasures. But, an athlete’s life is not always as glamorous, especially those who are still starting their career and haven’t accomplished anything just yet. They train every day with or without competitions. They also have unique struggles that most people don’t even think about.
The challenges athletes face goes beyond injuries, countless sleepless nights, and long-distance training. The following lists the other side of the coin and what most athletes experience from start to finish.
The Financial Costs of Being an Athlete
Many people think athletes are a lucky bunch of talented sporty dudes. Besides, all they do is train, win their competition, and receive sponsorship. They don’t really work, nor do they need a nine-to-five job since they spend many hours each day training for competitions, right? In reality, not all athletes are as lucky. Some are working full-time jobs while training, while some are already debt-ridden after paying for all their needs.
Raising an athlete or being one is nowhere easy, not just because it takes time, patience, and dedication to hone one’s skills and win competitions. It is also since it can drain your savings just to support at least four years of training. The initial expenses could mean an easy six figures minus the guarantee of that amount returning to your own pocket.
Many athletes work in-between training and competitions to save money for their equipment, coaching lessons, travel expenses, and accommodations on top of their daily necessities. Not all athletes came from well-off families who can afford their every need and are lucky enough to land sponsorship before their debut. Since there is no direct federal support for athletes, especially for the newbies, one has to make ends meet by working and relying on their family’s savings.
How much money an athlete spends on their equipment depends on the brand, quality, and sports they are playing. For instance, if you want to become a professional skiing athlete, you need to invest in quality ski equipment and clothing to facilitate your moves better.
To give you a hint, recreational skiers usually spend $600-$800 for a new pair of boots, bindings, and skis. That is on the ski equipment alone, with the goggles, ski jackets, ski gloves, ski pants, warmers, ski socks, fleece, and neck warmer not included. But if you want to become an athlete, you need to make sure that you invest in high-quality equipment and gears like men’s Giro ski helmets.
The Mental Challenges Athletes Often Face
Athletes face many performance barriers that are not related to their finances, talents, and skills. For one, many have low confidence due to the lack of support they get from family, friends, their own team, and even their coaches. It is only when they can stop doubting what they can do, and when the people that matter to them the most provide them the support they need can athletes unlock their full potential.
Did you know that athletes also have to undergo mental training? Honing your ability to perform well under pressure, despite some slip-ups, is what makes an athlete mentally tough. Mental training helps you to avoid reacting with frustration, doing with thinking, and letting your mistakes take over the game.
Athletes also tend to fear failure because of the high expectations people have of them. Every time an athlete fails to function than expected, they tend to start doubting themselves, thus undermining their confidence. The fear of losing and letting the people who believe in them down only adds pressure to the already physically and mentally tired athlete.
According to studies, up to 35% of athletes suffer from mental health issues. Most are suffering from anxiety, depression, burnout, and even eating disorders. Failure to improve one’s mental health can lead to poor performance, increased stress, and even serious health complications.
Many athletes chose to leave their careers after they lost their motivation. Since sports training can be a repetitious routine, one should stay focused and motivated to keep their head on the game and avoid getting bored in what they do. Without motivation, performance will suffer.
Internal motivation refers to an athlete’s passion and desire to perform in a particular sport because it brings them joy and challenges them to be better. External motivation can mean working hard to win awards and gold medals and bring pride to your loved ones. Failure to preserve motivation often leads to dropping out of the program and mental health issues.
As you can see, the life of an athlete can be tough. Safety issues and years of hard work are not their only problems. But despite all the challenges, many are still fighting to live their dream and follow their passion.