The Life of a Student Athlete: How to Balance Books and Sports

Morning practice, weekly games, late scrimmages, film sessions… A student athlete’s schedule is certainly filled with extracurricular activities which can make anyone trying to balance both a spot in a team roster and succeeding as a high school student wish for some additional hours in the day. Academic responsibilities often demand time and dedication simultaneously required by athletics. There are only 24 hours in a day, a large portion of which are consumed by our rigorous dual-curriculum school day. By the time most get home, showering and eating becomes more of a luxury and less of a daily task. Yet, regardless of how overwhelming the process might seem, there is an indescribable feeling every student athlete gets each time they put on their jersey and step out onto the field, ready to give their all in order to proudly represent their school. Struggling to manage this powerful combination can be hard, but these tips can help reduce stress and increase output, optimizing both the student and the athlete that lives within each and everyone of us. 



  • Cooperate with your teachers


  • Games are often scheduled at times which coincide with the school day and cause student athletes to constantly miss the same class, usually those towards the end of the day. In order to keep up with the content, make sure to email your teacher at the very start of the season the different times at which you will be forced to miss their class, in order to ensure open communication and the possibility to schedule office hour appointments during which the content missed can be successfully taught. Teachers are here to help you, and they will gladly do so as long as an agreement is reached in an organized and timely manner. 
    • Remember: we are student athletes, not athlete students. If constantly missing a class is causing your performance to suffer severely, a conversation with both teachers and coaches can help you decide whether some matches can be missed in order to get back on track and succeed both on the field and the classroom. 



  • Create a schedule


  • Coaches will give a preview of the entire season’s schedule during its very beginning, so creating a calendar which synchronizes both athletics and academics can help you keep track of when practice, games, and tests will be happening, so that proper preparation can be implemented. By creating a visual key which outlines your many responsibilities, you can be aware of test dates which are scheduled for days following late matches, so that the time you were counting on to study is not suddenly taken away. 



  • Rely on your teammates: 


  • For younger student athletes who are beginning to accommodate to this rigorous schedule, managing school work and sports can seem unattainable. Your older teammates have gone through what you’re going through, and they surely have tips and tricks they would be glad to share. Not only this, but they have most likely already taken many of the courses you are currently taking. Off-time in buses and in between practices are ideal for tutoring sessions where unclear concepts can be explained by those who already passed the class. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, they will be more than happy to give it to you!



  • Optimize your free time
  • Coupling 8-hour-long school days with daily practices and significant amounts of school work might make it seem like free time will vanish the moment the season starts. While being a student athlete does entail sacrifice and responsibility, it doesn’t mean life should become miserable. Instead of sacrificing sleep and free time in exchange for meaningless activities, optimize and be conscious of your actions. Instead of getting home and roaming about aimlessly, make the most out of every second and tackle school work first, so that your priorities are taken care of and the rest of the time can be spent doing whichever activities you prefer. 
  • Sleep is as, if not more, important than screen time. Make sure to give your body what it needs. Demanding high performance from yourself and not supplying your body with the food and sleep it needs can result in terrible consequences. To be good, you have to feel good.

  • Remember what’s important


  • Even on those days when you feel like giving up, remember why you started this journey in the first place. Not only will it show your ability to manage numerous responsibilities in the future, but sports are wonderful activities that teach teamwork, leadership, commitment, and responsibility, all skills that will help shape you into a better version of yourself. Don’t lose focus, and remember to leave your all both on the court and the classroom each and every day. 

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