When a 14-year-old is out in the park shooting his basketball through a rusty rim with a half torn net hanging down, he envisions himself as a member of his favorite team making the game winning shot to defeat the L.A. Lakers or the Miami Heat in game seven of the NBA Finals to win the World Championship.
When a 10-year-old flame-thrower is throwing his worn out ball with the stitches hanging out and the cover halfway off through a tire, he pictures himself standing on the mound at Fenway Park firing a perfect white baseball past Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to win game seven of the World Series.
Playing in the NBA, NFL, MLB, WNBA or NHL is a dream that many athletes have and a goal that many have their sights on. Playing sports at the major level is a goal that can be attained but there are some facts young players and their parents should know.
Making the pros is extremely difficult. In fact, the odds are astronomically low. According to a study put together by the NCAA in September of 2012, the sport were athletes have the highest chance of getting drafted was Major League Baseball (MLB). That number was a slim 0.51 percent for high school seniors and 9.7 percent for seniors competing in the NCAA. The sport where the chances of making the pros are the lowest is women’s basketball as the chance of getting drafted by a WNBA team for college seniors is 0.9 percent, while the chance for high school seniors is a miniscule 0.02 percent. This means, no matter how good you are or no matter how much you think your little one is a superstar, chances are he or she better have a back-up plan if their pursuit for glory doesn’t work out.
When the 16-year-old student-athlete comes home from practice and says “I’m tired. I can’t study” he or she needs to adjust their schedule and deal with it. Every time a college coach recruits a player, he or she wants that perspective player to have their ducks in a row in the classroom. Colleges don’t want someone who’s top course is basket weaving, and college is where a vast majority of your stars get their chance to get drafted and signed by pro scouts. When colleges don’t grab you, your big break almost never happens. When that college athlete hits his or her dorm room and doesn’t feel like hitting the books, they need to understand a scout is not going to look at them if they’re off the team for not making the grades. Finding what you can do in college other than play ball will help you survive in the world.
Even if you don’t make the pros, the grades and the degree will help you find a job you can make a good living at for the rest of your life.
Andy Collier is the sports editor at the Bolivar Commercial. He can be reached at (662)-843-4241 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.