Professional Sports Athletes

I suppose some of you reading this blog are asking, “what if the athlete is a professional?” I, too, feel that this argument cannot be complete if this consideration is absent. The participation of the athlete here is more a contractual obligation. It is work! They have to abide by strict training routines and diet plans. A triathelete must do intensive training both on land and in water. A gymnast requires core strength and flexibility training. An Olympian has to train hard to condition his or her body (and mind) to levels fit to compete internationally. This takes time and dedication. We all have to give up some things to go to work. Professional athletes do the same with sport. We may argue here that the effort is time bound; that there is a competition to prepare for, which will pass. Once settled life goes back to normal.

Yet, in the East there is a similar level of dedication in the world of martial arts. It is separate only in the sense that there is no definite goal. There are no games to prepare to, but simply the martial artist trains hard to attain perfection. It becomes a lifestyle. It becomes the centre of life. Everything else must work for, or sustain the art. Training and conditioning practice is rigorous, often taking up more than eight hours per day.

And despite most of us will take a deep breath in and think that this can be too much, these athletes receive our admiration and not our dismay. Their efforts make sense. And our acceptance of sport as an addiction is challenged.


– Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness.  He offers parent coaching and social work sessions.  He can be contacted on