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How to Balance Sports and Studies as a Student-Athlete

Obtaining a sports scholarship in a university is more important than anything to a young athlete who is looking for a full-time career in that field. Acceptance at a university is usually the first step towards ensuring that professional career will also be a successful one.

The issue that tends to broach the thoughts of more than one student-athlete is which is of greater importance to them and the university: their sports or their studies?

The simple answer is that they both are. It is true that student-athletes are primarily oriented towards becoming a great gymnast, football player, or competitor in the next Olympic Games. But, what happens if something comes along to derail those plans?

People always expect the stock answer, but they rarely think about the reasoning behind it. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that injuries happen all the time, and some of them leave a person limping for the rest of their lives. That’s why both their courses and the sport matter.

There are many football players who believed that they were going on to great careers only for an injury to cut those dreams short. No one ever thinks it’s going to happen, but it does, and that’s why it’s important to balance sports and studies when in university.

This is how to accomplish both:

Remember that a student-athlete is holding two full-time positions

This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to being a university student and being a full-time athlete at the same time. A student will put in at least forty to fifty hours of work a week on their studies. An athlete has to put in at least the same amount of time. That means working two full-time jobs!

Always remember that being a student-athlete takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time, and it’s never going to be easy to do both. Ambition and determination, however, are important tools for getting there.

Create a schedule

Lectures, research, practice, and training all require time and need to involve scheduling. Today, the whiteboard and marker have been replaced with scheduling applications that one can get downloaded to their phone, and many are free. Use them to their maximum potential and save a great deal of time.

Resolve scheduling conflicts as a group

There might be a practice and lecture scheduled for the same time. What does a student do in those situations? Believe it or not, many of them would simply skip the lecture and go to practice.

That might be a common result, but it is also not the best one. When one encounters a scheduling conflict, bring both the professor and the coach in on the issue and figure out what to do as a group. The professor might be able to supply a video of the lecture to watch later. They might also be able to supply assignments by e-mail to ensure that the student doesn’t miss out on them.

Keep on schedule

This is essential to any position and is just as important to a person embarking on a career as a student and athlete. A schedule can feel a bit limiting, but it is there to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Yes, students eventually want to cut loose and go down to the pub at night, but that’s not always possible for someone who has to juggle two careers at the same time. Still, if one knows that they need to blow off some steam once in a while, then allow some gaps in the schedule, say on a Friday night, to permit that!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

This is something that many people should realize, but usually, are too reluctant to do. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness, and no one who is asked for help sees it that way.

Help is available in many forms for university students today. Professors offer office hours outside of lectures for that purpose. Students usually have scheduled times to gather together to help each other. Online or off, there are a lot of resources for students to explore, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of them! For example there are homework help online and many other resources available to help students. So don’t hesitate to ask for help online too.

Always be sure to get enough rest

This is true for regular students and twice as important for a student-athlete. The demands for a person who has to study late and run a mile in the morning can be excruciating. One thing that an athlete doesn’t want to do is get little to no sleep.

Sleep is important for reinvigorating and regenerating the body. Without it, the brain, muscles, organs -  all of them stop functioning correctly, which means that a student needs sleep, and a student-athlete needs it even more!

Always keep in touch

Never forget family and friends. For many student-athletes, the family is half the reason they’re in university! So, remember that they do want to hear from you and always keep in touch.

More than anything, always stay focused and take care of your mental health. Keeping all of these things in mind helps to ensure a good, productive time spent in university.


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