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Reasons why Athletes make great Employees

17 February 2021
Why Athletes make great Employees

​Why Athletes Make Great Employees

The importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has never been higher and it is great to see so many people from different backgrounds come together within companies. 

We think athletes deserve to be included in this conversation as many Irish athletes give their lives to play their sport at the highest level without the financial backing to survive. 

We truly believe they are the uncovered diamonds in the rough, who add new perspectives to your workplace with an unmatched ability to work under immense pressures, bringing new and interesting ideas to the team. 

We have put together some of the reasons below on why athletes work so well transitioning into the workplace.  

Work ethic  

One of the most transferable skills from sport to business is work ethic. To reach an elite level in anything it takes time, repetition, and a willingness to learn. In sport, you are continuously trying to grow as an individual and as part of a team, even in individual sports, the people you surround yourself with are just as important for you to reach optimum performance. The day to day work this requires is probably the most noticeable thing you will see in an athlete, whatever task they are given you can be right to assume they will be giving it 100% of their dedication and understand themselves the steps that are required to get there. 


An athlete does not reach the pinnacle of their sport by just declaring their intention, letting life takes its course, and hope that it all works out for them. Any successful team or athlete will sit down at the start of the year and set out what they want to achieve, and they will also decide the meticulous process on how they will reach that goal. From training sessions to rest time, to reach an elite level - it all must be precise, all good athletes will recognise this. 

Even in a team environment, for your team to be successful you need buy-in from each individual, this collectively will lead to the team’s success. Just like an office is a team, if a team of A, B, C, need to hit a target and only A and B do the work, the whole team will fail.   

Natural Team Players 

I don’t think anyone will disagree on the importance of teamwork in an office, in a time where team culture is so essential to the success of a business, athletes would seem a natural choice.  

Athletes know how to work with and maximize diverse skills and perspectives to execute and win. For businesses that means creating teams with a shared vision, the right mix of talent, and a focus on high-quality results. 

This is important in the era of disruption, where companies are facing highly complex problems that traditional solutions may not fix. Team sport prepares athletes to work in such a disrupted environment. We've seen first-hand how athletes engage in healthy conflict, commit to decisions and accept accountability for the outcomes.  

Obsessed With Winning  

All athletes will say winning is the single most important thing in their sport, no one participates in a match or tournament with the intention of coming second.

The need to pick up constant wins is something ingrained in you throughout your sporting career and that is definitely a big advantage. Wins in an office can seem small, but as you accumulate more and more you get that same type of buzz, whether it is hitting your target for the week or talking to more clients than anyone else, that hunger remains.  

Willingness To Improve & Ability To Take Constructive Criticism  

You won't get very far in sports or in business, without being coachable.  Athletes are used to direct and honest feedback. They don’t let criticism deflate their energy, they see it as a way to improve, take it onboard and set down to go again.  

They take constructive feedback and will look at how to apply it immediately. It's a very similar trait you'll find in top performers in the business world. Managers know they can provide direct and honest feedback to athletes knowing they’ll appreciate it and thrive to do better. 

Athletes Are Accountable  

Within Sports, whether that be in a team or as an individual you always have to hold yourself accountable to succeed. An athlete knows that the role they play will have an overall effect on the team and therefore the business. They will not shy away from their task and they understand that they won’t always have a coach or manager looking over their shoulder. A time comes where you are on your own out there and you must get your task right. They do not look around the “dressing room” for others to blame or do their work. Athletes take responsibility for their work or mistakes and commit to bettering themselves

Athletes Are Creative 

You often hear of a beaming description of an athlete being creative in their sport, being able to think of a shot or a movement under pressure that no one else was able to see. Game plans will give you the foundations of what you will be trying to implement but often matches are won on a moment of magic created by an individual. 

We think this gives athletes an added perspective as they know there isn’t just one way to get a job done. It is important to not stray too far away from the plan, but they realise that when it isn’t going right there is always another way.   

If you are thinking of hiring an athlete, we do hope you strongly consider their case and what they can bring to the table.  We have had many elite athletes come through our doors and have nothing but great things to say about the experience, the skills they brought and the impact they had. 

Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about these experiences or if you are an athlete looking for a change of scenery, please reach out and we would be happy to help. 

MA Sports

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