Hiring Former Student-Athletes
This past weekend I supported my former team mates at the Four-in-the-Fall tournament, a tennis tournament here at The University of Alabama. Proudly watching the boys fighting their hearts out. I’ve been a student-athlete for 4.5 years myself. Am I missing it? Yes and no. I absolutely miss the competition part of it, fighting until the end and constantly trying to push myself to become a better version of myself every single day. People sometimes look surprised when I say I barely play tennis anymore, that I’m just playing for fun. Isn’t that a waste of all the years you’ve been playing and all the hard work you’ve put in? NOT AT ALL! Let me tell you why. In ´Why Your Next Employee Should Be A Former Student Athlete’, Vincent McCaffrey explains that most 22-year-olds have no track record from an employment standpoint, but the experience a student athlete has developed bodes well in the workplace. Employers are interested in hiring former student-athletes because collegiate athletes make some of the best employees. Tennis has prepared me for the rest of my life and taught me many traits that will be extremely valuable in my business career.
Never giving up
According to McCaffrey, collegiate athletes are resilient. Businesses go through tough times and you can get kicked in the teeth. ‘You want people who know that ‘no,’ is just one step closer to a ‘yes.’ Most of the people who have watched me play would say that no matter who I was playing, no matter if I was playing good or bad, I was giving it my all out there. I was also known for my somewhat annoying ‘Come on’ and ‘Let’s gooooo’. My mother would tell me that there was a certain type of ‘fire in my eyes’ when I was playing. I got pumped when I would win a point and would sometimes show disappointment when I made a mistake, but overall tennis taught me to control these emotions and use these emotions to fight for my goals.
I’m grateful for all the coaches that have been a part of my tennis career. Thank you for all the time you’ve put into making me become a better tennis player. Besides helping me raise my level, you are all role models that I look up to. My coaches have shown me what true leadership means, all in their own way. In my current leadership and ethics class, we’ve discussed that leadership is a combination of science and art. Only a few are capable of using their art in leadership. Well, my coaches were artists of the highest rank and I’m forever grateful for them because without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. One day I hope to be a role model and leader to others to help them become the best version of themselves.
Winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything
McCaffrey says that ‘Athletes have most likely failed more than they’ve won, but they always get up and keep going. In the workplace, this trait creates an employee who will find a way to win’. The feeling you have after winning a hard fought tennis match is special. A feeling of pride and joy that I’m glad I got to experience. The most frustrating thing about tennis though is losing. I’m not going to lie, I’ve always had a hard time accepting a loss. That feeling of disappointment sometimes stayed with me for the rest of the week. Setbacks are a part of life and we all experience them. Sometimes we need to lose small battles in order to win the war. Stay positive and optimistic, control what you can control and let go of the things that are out of your hands. No matter what job you have, there will always be tougher moments that we can learn and grow from.
Playing tennis in college is a full time job and not a 9-5 job. You start with workouts in the morning, go to class for the rest of the morning, do rehab and some exercises to prevent injuries, practice for a couple of hours, conditioning, do homework at night and try to get some sleep in on time. Running around is an understatement, it’s more like sprinting around. You can imagine time management was crucial in order to well in both school and tennis. ‘’With coaches and advisors pulling you in different directions, you learn where you need to be spending your time. This translates into a highly organized employee.’
You might think that after graduating with no work experience, you have no chance of getting that job but be aware that your commitment to your sport for many years of your life shows an employer just as much as and maybe even more of you than work experience. Tennis will always be and stay a big part of my life. I still love playing and am still trying to get better every single time I play. Now you’re probably wondering why I’m also not missing tennis in some way. First of all, I’ve found a new way to challenge and push myself every single day by pursuing my MBA degree. And besides that playing tennis it’s much harder now because I’m kind of out of shape (oops).