The common misconception is that money is the only difference between amateur and professional sports. While this is true, and the money is one of the biggest reasons why so many athletes dream of “going pro,” there are some other differences that you may not be aware of.
While it is true that, unlike professional athletes, amateur athletes are not eligible to receive payment for their participation, often they are able to receive perks connected to their participation in their sport. Much of it depends upon the rules that the governing body for the sport has established. For example, some amateur sports leagues allow their athletes to receive such perks as athletic gear and meals from sponsors. Let’s just say amateur athletes are not leaving an estate behind once they hang up their cleats.
Another difference between the two is that, in most cases, amateur athletes can play their sport for as long as they choose to. There are 80-year-old men that still lace up their shoes to play in a 3 on 3 basketball league. Many professional sports do have rules governing the age of the athletes that are allowed to play. For example, the National Football League forbids teams from signing athletes right out of high school. The justification is that it’ll help prevent injuries, and it’ll provide an opportunity for advanced education while they continue to hone their skills at the collegiate level.
Degree Of Risk
One final difference between them is the amount of risk that professional athletes expose themselves too in order to play their sports. Most amateurs play whenever it suits them, a few times per month. Others, playing on organized teams, put in a lot more time, but even they don’t typically train outside of the season. Professional athletes train year-round, even on weekends, evenings, and holidays. That, coupled with the travel, can take its toll on the body.
There may be other differences between amateur and professional sports, but these are the most obvious. It takes dedication, determination, and a lot of sweat and blood, to become a professional athlete. To learn more about the dedication of an athlete, watch this short video: