Do you dream about a future as a professional athlete? While few people make a living from athletics- dedication to your sport, and outstanding athletic ability, can take you into the big leagues. Athletes and sports competitors carry out game or competition strategies while following the rules and regulations of their sport. They compete in team sports, such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer, and individual sports, such as tennis, running, golf, and skiing. They may compete regionally, nationally, or internationally. Athletes train year-round, practicing skills and improving teamwork under the direction of coaches, sports instructors, and athletic trainers. They review video recordings to critique and improve their own performance and analyze their opponents' strategies. Personal qualities that are helpful to athletes include resilience, initiative, self-discipline, and confidence. Sporting events may expose competitors to harsh weather conditions, physical and mental stress, and the risk of injuries... particularly in contact sports. Athletes can expect to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays, and usually need to travel to compete. There are no education requirements for this career, but athletes usually develop skills by participating in sports in high school, college, or on club teams. Some sports and localities require athletes to be licensed or certified to practice. Public appearances, diet and exercise restrictions, rigorous physical training, and study to improve- are all part of the life of a professional athlete.