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Odds of Becoming A Professional Athlete

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As the thrill of playing football, among other sports, starts from high school, only 7% head to college each year. And 2% of those get drafted into the pro. As a high school football player’s odds get a little lower, it doubles basketball players’ chances. Out of a million, only 255 of them get drafted to the pro yearly.

Being a professional athlete brings fame and glamour, not to mention fortune. That’s why most sportspeople aim to be part of this caravan. However, that road is not smooth, and getting to the top is a tough climb. It gets tougher maintaining that position. 

We shall look at the team sports with a well-established professional league in the US and see their odds right from high school to becoming pro. The NCAA said that only 0.08% of high school athletic players and 1.7% of college players make it to the professional level. NCAA compiles the statistic numbers as follows:


Baseball is the sport with the most professional athlete opportunity, with a chance of 4 % of high school players playing professionally. It falls second to hockey in terms of high school player’s odds, making it to college and pro level. Far less than 1% of opportunities within the baseball professional development system help to push that number. 

In each year, the NCAA drafts 600 athletes out of 6700 college seniors each year. That’s a much higher number compared to any other professional sport. 

Basketball and Football

These two sports are the most visible in the school, yet they have a meager percentage of athletes playing high school. They eventually shoot to professional ranks. For example, in men’s basketball, they have a chance of .03% of having a pro career. The figures look like this; out of 156000 high school basketball players, only 44 get grafted to play in pro basketball. And out of 127000 high school women basketball players, 32 get drafted to the same.


According to the NCAA, only 0.1% of high school players and 1.3% of college players make it to professional athletes in hockey. And about 1.5% of all high school players make it to NCAA college play. That’s a bit of a fair chance of getting to the pro level compared to other sports. That means only one in every 520 high school players is likely to go pro.

Football odds are a little better as 250 of 317, 000 gets drafted to professional sports after college. 

Below are ways and methods of increasing the odds of becoming a professional pro.

Start early

Starting at an earlier age also helps a lot, because it gives you more time to refine your skills. That can also help to discover if you have some natural ability to play sports. If you do, you become more advantaged and have a high chance of making it to professional athletes

However, most sports clubs favor determination, attitude, and work ethic more than the “gifted” players. But that can be quite unfortunate for some who might work hard and apply the right attitude but lacks the necessary attribute.

Play in college 

Even as you start playing early, proceed to college even if your particular school does not play. You can get many options in other teams and clubs within your reach as long as you’re determined. Ensure not to sleep on talent, and get yourself discovered by one of those professional scouts out there.

Maintain your school grades

When you keep your school grades up, you have a higher chance of making it to the pro level. Your academic-grades from high school to college may dictate your ability to participate in sports games. If they drop so low, you decrease your chance of making it to professional sports.

Being disciplined

You’ll need a lot of training that might require sacrificing your sleep and other activities. That calls for discipline, which is an excellent characteristic that increases your odds of becoming a professional athletes. You learn to listen to your leaders and stick to the plans set for you and your team to succeed. 

And just before we conclude, let’s emphasize that one doesn’t have to be Lionel Messi or Michael Jordan to become a professional athlete. You may not have heard of many more professional players but are making millions of dollars out of sports.

In conclusion, apart from baseball, the chances of going from college sports players to professional athletes are 2%. The rule of the thumb in football for every 100 high school players, only one plays in division one. And out of 100 division one players, at least one will play professionally. However, if you put in 10,000 hours of practice, you have a 99% chance of becoming a pro. 

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