The Guide to Dating an Athlete

Who can deny the attraction to dating an athlete: someone who by their very nature is disciplined, focused, and recognizes the value of working as a team toward a shared goal? If you think not being jacked yourself takes you out of the running for dating an athlete, think again.

Pro athletes are people too, with their own unique views of the world—including what they find attractive in a person. That said, there are some aspects of dating an athlete that come with the territory. We’re here to guide you past the bleachers and upstairs to the luxury box.

Man playing soccer

Read: The Best Dating Apps for Athletes

Benefits of Dating an Athlete

Be Where The Action Is

If you’re a die-hard fan of any sport, dating an athlete long-term is likely to net you a spot on the VIP list. It’s a nice perk that’s miles away from watching the game on a small screen in a noisy bar.

Having A Built-In Exercise Partner

Depending on the sport your date plays, much of their practice may be at the stadium with the team. Even so, every athlete needs to stay in shape, and they’ll need to work on that—even at home. If you’re the type to start and end the day with a five mile run, you may have found the perfect type of mate.


While you won’t be invited to every away game, you may be invited to some big make-or-break games in parts of the world you’ve always longed of visiting. You may only be there for a day, but if you’re invited along, go for it!

Challenges That Come With Dating an Athlete

More Alone Time Than You’d Like
Your potential partner may have a very demanding training schedule. When it comes to games and workouts, you might find that you tend to play second fiddle. Between practices and away games, there may be times you’ll have to get used to having long periods without seeing your partner.

They May Need Time to Relax

All of that physical activity adds up after a while. Don’t be surprised if your mate needs to take time out and veg now and then. The athlete you’re dating isn’t Superman. We all need a rest now and then.

They May Seem Single-Focused

You may find your mate preoccupied during the season. It’s only natural: they have a high-pressure job and it’s bound to take its toll every now and then.

They’re the Center of Attention

For better or worse, a pro athlete has eyes on them at all times, whether it’s sports or gossip reporters, or fans vying for attention, hoping your mate has a wandering eye. You may have to mind your Ps and Qs in public, and you’ll have to truly trust your partner when you’re apart.

Tips for Dating an Athlete

Off-Season Isn’t What You Think

A lot of sports are typically centered around a specific time of year. Don’t assume that means loads of downtime that’ll be spent with you. While that may be true in a way, it’s not necessarily the case. It’s best to treat the offseason not like a break but more like a lighter version of the same routine.

Dealing With Losses  

Nobody hates to lose more than an athlete. If they lose the big game, they might be frustrated with themselves or the situation. Make sure they treat you with respect and don’t take it out on you, and help console them—it may feel like the end of the world, but obviously it’s not (though you probably want to wait until the next day to remind them of that).

Ensure You’re Not Going to Be a Bad Influence on Their Goals

Remember that being an athlete is not just a hobby/job for your partner; it’s a lifestyle commitment. It’s easy to say, “skip your workout and go to the movies with me,” or “let’s just do pizza tonight.” That’s not being a team player. Do your best to encourage them to stay on the right path.

Stress = Bad Performance

Arguments and misunderstandings happen, but they have entirely different consequences for athletes. Going into a game or match with baggage will get a boxer laid on his back and a basketball player put on the bench. It’s better to be the one that relieves them of stress and not the cause. So if you’ve got beef, try to work it out.

Be A Part of The Team

A little goes a long way with athletes. Subtle niceties like massages, warm baths, or preparing and an ice pack will score you major points. Show that you are invested in their success as well.

Off-Season Isn’t What You Think

A lot of sports are typically centered around a specific time of year. Don’t assume that means loads of downtime that’ll be spent with you. While that may be true in a way, it’s not necessarily the case. It’s best to treat the offseason not like a break but more like a lighter version of the same routine.

Dating a Professional Athlete vs. a Fitness Fanatic

If your goal is to date someone with goals and drive, a fitness fanatic isn’t a bad way to go. They’re easier to find and are likely to have much more time to devote to an eventual relationship.

But be wary of wannabes. It’s wonderful to be supportive of a partner’s dreams, but if they’re harboring unrealistic expectations—for example, starting a major league baseball career at age 50 with no prior experience or training—they’re likely to be delusional in other areas of their life as well. Steer clear of anyone whose pie is higher in the sky than it should be.

How to Find an Athlete to Date

You’re worth more than standing around the players’ entrance to a stadium hoping you’ll get noticed. If that trick worked at all, you’d be likely to meet someone who was only interested in getting to know you for the night—not someone who’s looking to date anyone long-term.

That said, proximity doesn’t hurt, and you can spend time enjoying your favorite sport or team without looking like a sycophant. There are plenty of athletes who won’t date fans—at least, not the hanger-ons—so if you’re truly passionate about sports and it’s in your wheelhouse, get an industry job and you’ll meet plenty of athletes.

The “get a job” advice really only works for a few people. Jobs like trainer, publicist, and agent are all highly specialized skills, and ones that can take years of study. A much easier option would be to turn to dating apps. Professional athletes don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands, and if you live in a city with a major sports team, chances are at least one of the team members is dating online.

Don’t get snowed—there are some things to keep in mind when using an app to meet an athlete. At worst, someone may be using photos of a pro athlete—a catfisher. At best, someone may be an actual pro athlete but using a pseudonym to protect their privacy.

In either case, proceed with caution and don’t meet until you’ve confirmed someone is who they say they are—not bad advice regardless of who you’re hoping to date. Above all, enjoy the experience and don’t take anything too seriously. Have fun!

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