What it Takes


 For many young athletes, their dream is to become a professional athlete. What many don’t realize is the effort it takes to get there. Some athletes have so much talent and potential, and Tim Notke says, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” The only wall standing in the way of anyone becoming a professional athlete is effort. Not talent. Only playing a sport with a team is not enough. Infact, it is almost impossible to go pro without outside training. The three essential  ways to become a pro are love for the sport, effort, and a strong mindset. Development of the sport takes many hours and years of practice outside of school to master the sport.

 First, to become a professional, you have to fall in love with the sport. If you are truly determined to get better as a player and if you love the game, you will be motivated to train on your own. Falling in love with the game is a major problem athletes seem to have. If you are not in love, it makes practicing and getting to an elite level ten times more difficult. However, if you have talent, it is your responsibility to form your talent into your deepest potential. People think that because they have a great amount of talent, they don’t need to work hard, but that is not true. People who work hard, every day, will catch up to the people who only go to the team practice and don’t train on their own. If you are having trouble loving the game, try finding people and players who inspire you, watch the sport, and hang out with people who love it. The truth is, the better you get at any sport, the more fun the sport gets. Just love the game!

 Next, the second character trait to becoming a professional athlete is the effort you have to put in. Full effort, all out, will get you almost anywhere in sports. A quote from CaptainElite, a soccer training program to help players of all ages to get anywhere they want with soccer,  says, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” This quote may be hard to understand, but the quote means you can get anywhere with soccer if you put the effort into it. If you want to become a professional athlete, it is up to you and how much you want to work for it. Kobe Byant said, “Shaquille O’Neal would have been the greatest if he had my work ethic.” Work ethic goes along with effort, and effort can get a person almost anywhere in sports.

The last character trait to becoming pro is belief. Belief is similar to motivation. Motivation always sends belief into the player, if that makes any sense. Belief and effort are the two things standing in any player’s way. Without belief, you cannot get anywhere. That means you have no confidence. If you do not have confidence, you won’t have any motivation to train and get better.

I asked a professional soccer player for advice he would give to players our age. Here are the question:

What are three main things you need to have to become a pro athlete (traits or mentalities like dedication or effort)?

What should a 13-18 year-old future pro player’s work ethic and skill level look like?

What does it take to become a professional athlete in any sport?

Is it possible to get anywhere in sports without personal development (outside of team practice)?

Here are the responses, with advice, from pro soccer player, Brandt Bronico, who plays for the Chicago Fire:

1) Belief, Attitude, Effort

2) They should always be the hardest working person in the room (and training on their own).  As far as skill level, he or she should be technically sound on all ball skills and have at least one area of their game where they are well above average at (i.e. free kicks, finishing, passing, spacing, awareness, defending, etc.)

3) Mastering mental toughness, year-to-year improvement, and above-average/superior ability (which can be developed with putting in extra work or “working on your craft”)

4) Maybe temporarily if the player is extra talented, but it is ultimately belief, attitude, and effort that will win in the long-run. What does captain elite say? Hard work, grit, skills. That worked for me!

Brandt Bronico is a soccer player who plays for Chicago Fire FC. These are personal responses he sent in, and it is hard to find amazing advice like this on the internet. This advice does not just apply for soccer, it applies for almost any sport. Brandt Bronico is a valuable member of his team, and has a bright career ahead of him. Below is a picture attached of his pre-game season.