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*American spectator sports are saturated with millions of high school students looking to make it big. Statistically, if you play one of the American Big Three sports, basketball, football and baseball, your chances of going pro are slim, even if you make it to Division I college. The chance of getting drafted to play MLB is 8.6 percent, and that drops to less than 2 percent in the NFL or NBA, according to the NCAA. If you dream of going pro but want better odds, consider one of these unexpected sports.


Ever play shuffleboard? Then you already know the basic rules of curling. Curling is essentially a large-scale version of shuffleboard played on the ice. One player slides the stone to the other end of the ice while another scoots along with a brush, scuffing the ice in front of the stone in effort to slow it down. The goal to to land the stone in the center of the bullseye or knock the opponent’s stone out of the way.

You’re probably thinking, “that sounds fun and all, but I don’t live in Canada so where am I supposed to play curling?” You’ll be surprised to find how common it is in the U.S. There are even curling leagues in Scottsdale, Arizona, a part of the country you would never expect to have ice, let alone such an obscure winter sport.

The U.S team didn’t do so hot in Sochi, but the sport is on the rise in the U.S. and catching up to countries like Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Competitive Shooting

Rifle shooting is another Olympic sport that’s rising fast in the professional ranks, especially when it comes to paid endorsements. Dozens of gun manufacturers and retailers like Cabela’s are sponsoring athletes to compete in these shooting competitions all over the world.

The NRA has a comprehensive directory of shooting programs all over the country. While the organization’s political reputation may be questionable, the NRA does a good job of sponsoring events for kids who want to get started in competitive shooting.


If you love the physicality of football, basketball or baseball, but want to explore a different avenue to hone your talent, consider CrossFit. It’s growing fast in popularity, but still new enough to make a name for yourself.

CrossFit basically makes working out a sport in its own right. It combines Olympic weightlifting, running, swimming, gymnastics and other body movements in a timed, competitive atmosphere. As a serious competition, CrossFit is less than 10 years old. Despite being new, the CrossFit Games in Carson, California, offer surprising earning potential, with $275,000 for each first place male and female athlete.

Winning the top spot is not easy, but it is more doable that making it in the NBA or NFL. There are CrossFit affiliate gyms all over the world and most offer student discounts. Plus it’s a great way to work out, so if nothing else you’re at least getting in shape.