Is it harder to become a pro athlete now?

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Becoming a professional athlete is indeed a challenging endeavor, and it has arguably become even more difficult over time due to several factors. Firstly, the sheer number of individuals aspiring to become professional athletes has increased, intensifying the competition. This is due to the widespread popularity of sports and the dreams of many individuals to become professional athletes1. Secondly, the physical and mental demands of becoming a professional athlete are immense. It requires exceptional talent, dedicated training, rigorous discipline, and many years of experience. Athletes often face fierce competition, injury risks, and setbacks along the way. They must demonstrate exceptional skills, athleticism, and a competitive edge to stand out among their peers and catch the attention of professional scouts or teams1. Thirdly, the odds of becoming a professional athlete are discouragingly low. For instance, boy basketball players stand a .009% chance of turning pro, followed by lower-paying soccer and hockey leagues at .017% odds, and injury-prone football at .02%. Baseball provides the best shot for aspiring athletes with a .13% chance of getting paid to play4. Lastly, even after becoming a professional athlete, maintaining a spot on the team can be incredibly difficult. Most new professional athletes will spend most of their time on the bench. The average career will only last about three to five years; and that’s if their career isn’t cut short by an injury first5. In addition to these challenges, professional athletes also face emotional and mental struggles. When who you are becomes so inextricably tied to what you do, it is nearly impossible to separate one’s value as an athlete from one’s value as a human being. If wins are what make you valuable, powerful and desirable, then what happens to you when you lose? This can lead to emotional and mental difficulties6. In conclusion, while it has always been challenging to become a professional athlete, the increasing competition, physical and mental demands, discouraging odds, and emotional and mental struggles make it arguably harder now than ever before.
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