Athletes and sports competitors compete in organized, officiated sports events to entertain spectators. When playing a game, athletes are required to understand the strategies of their game while obeying the rules and regulations of the sport. These events include both team sports - such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer - and individual sports - such as golf, tennis, and bowling.
As the type of sport varies, so does the level of play, ranging from unpaid high school athletics to professional sports in which the best from around the world compete before national television audiences. In addition to competing in athletic events, athletes spend many hours practicing skills and teamwork under the guidance of a coach or sports instructor.
Most athletes spend hours in hard practices every day. They also spend additional hours viewing films, critiquing their own performances and techniques and scouting their opponents tendencies and weaknesses. Some athletes may also be advised by strength trainers in an effort to gain muscle and stamina, while also preventing injury. Competition at all levels is extremely intense and job security is always precarious.
As a result, many athletes train year round to maintain excellent form, technique, and peak physical condition; very little downtime from the sport exists at the professional level. Athletes also must conform to regimented diets during the height of their sports season to supplement any physical training program. Many athletes push their bodies to the limit, so career-ending injury is always a risk. Even minor injuries to an athlete may be sufficient opportunity for another athlete to play, excel, and become a permanent replacement.