Is There a Link Between Playing Sports and Success in Business?

What do a number of Chief Executive Officers have in common? They played competitive sports when they were younger.

But according to a series of EY studies, it is even more common for female executives to have played a sport. They surveyed 821 high-level executives and found that a whopping 90% played sports, which increased to 96% when EY included other employment positions.

Below is a few reasons why playing sports can boost your chances at success:

1. Sports Often Reflects Privilege

It may not be that playing sports causes someone to become more of a leader; instead, the truth may be that people who are already competitive and have leadership potential are drawn to sports as kids. They and their families are also often more likely to be affluent, since participation on so many teams requires significant cash outlays.

Sports consume time, energy and resources that many families cannot spare. People who are well-off are more likely to play sports, as well as become CEOs. If you can afford fencing lessons, your child’s odds of becoming a CEO are already quite good.

2. Competition Builds Character

Sports keep you physically and mentally healthy, teach you important relationship skills and forge determination. These benefits often spill over into the business world.

2. Confidence Helps When Networking

The NCAA has a robust career centre. Wall Street’s “Lacrosse Mafia” recruits All-American players at staggering rates. You can even scroll through the 42 best lacrosse players on Wall Street.

Northwestern sociologist Lauren Rivera notes that hiring rates increase the most among candidates who played “sports that have a strong presence at Ivy League schools as well as pay-to-play club sports, such as lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, squash and crew.”