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Whether it�s Jr. High or college, the students are always given a label. The jocks are known as the cool kids while the smart ones are known as the nerds. It seems so black and white; you�re either one or you�re the other. This really does not have to be the case. The straight-A student can also be the one who gets a football scholarship. It is possible to juggle sports and academics and excel in both. It comes down to desire, time management, and a whole lot of work, but it is possible. What�s more; it�s worth it.
Realize That One Helps the Other
Playing a sport in school helps to get you out of your desk and into the action; it offers a break with major benefits. Staring at a textbook can get awfully exhausting, and being part of a sports team can offer you a much needed break to work out, wake up, and then get back to it. On the other hand, doing well academically can help you to be more focused as part of a team. Academics also helps teach you logic and problem solving which you can put to good use on the field (or court, or whatever the case may be). Plus, if you are hoping for a scholarship in your sport, doing well academically will boost your chances substantially.
When managed properly, sports and academics don�t clash with each other at all; they actually complement each other and help you to put all of your hard-earned skills to use.
Don�t Think of Your Sport as Work
Sports benefit your overall health; mentally, physically and emotionally. By playing a sport, you are providing yourself with a healthy outlet that gives you some stress relief while doing something that you love. Whatever your sport may be, it can allow you to take your mind off of your term paper, grades, and even all that dirty laundry. While it can be demanding, your sport may be the break that you need to help yourself to not feel so bogged down.
This is a concept that many don�t quite understand, and is why people are often able to manage sports and academics fairly easily. The academic part is the real job and the sport is your outlet; your break. When you think of it this way, it suddenly doesn�t seem like nothing but work.
Don�t Over Book Yourself
When you commit to both academics and a sport, you must realize that you don�t leave yourself a lot of time for anything else. While your friends are at a party, you will probably be home doing the homework you didn�t have time to do because you had a game that day. This is perfectly fine so long as both your sport and schoolwork are equally important to you.
You also need to be sure that you don�t book yourself solid. Leave a little breathing room in your schedule. While it�s great to be busy and commit to a wide array of different things, if you never give yourself time to rest, you will quickly burn out. If you aren�t working at your full potential, both your schoolwork and your athletic abilities will suffer.
Manage Your Time
Perhaps the most important key to balancing both academics and sports is learning to manage your time. If you can�t make the most of every minute, you will be miserable; there is no room for procrastination in this juggling act. When you�ve got both a demanding course load and a heavy practice schedule bearing down on you, you have very little time to waste. Take a look at your daily schedule and find little ways to fit in more studying, more sleep, and less waste.
Perhaps it�s possible to take the bus to school; this would give you extra time (otherwise spent singing to the radio) to study and finish up homework instead of staying up so late at night. With one minor tweak, you�ve earned yourself both more study time and more sleep.
You�ve got to learn to make the most of the time that you have. Sit down once a week (Sunday evening tends to work the best) and think about the week ahead. Plan and schedule each thing that you can. Schedule set times for studying and then stick to your schedule. Creating a schedule is much like creating a budget except that you are working with time instead of money. Distribute the time in the most efficient way possible in order to accomplish everything and hopefully still have time left over for relaxing or going out.
When everything starts to pile up and you feel yourself wearing down, it�s easy to wonder why in the world you decided to take on both sports and academics. Constantly remind yourself that this is what you wanted and that both things are equally important. Keep a positive attitude and remember that all of your hard work is going to pay off. Also don�t forget to enjoy school and your sport; they are both things that you cared enough about to try and take on simultaneously. Don�t get so caught up in the demand of it all that you forget to enjoy yourself.
Related Articles And Other Topics
If you’re an athlete in college, it’s certain that your contribution and performance is very important to you. While there are many rewarding opportunities associated with being a student-athlete, many continue to struggle in finding the appropriate balance between academics and athletics. In addition, college freshmen may have the hardest time adjusting to this balance as they’re already dealing with the pivotal transition from high school to college. But with the right attitude and planning, student-athletes can successfully achieve a proper balance between academics and athletics.
Regardless of whether you’re a student athlete, this is a vital component of being successful in college and later on in life. In fact, the time management skills you develop as a student will be a huge indicator as to how well you manage your time as a professional and in other circumstances. Consequently, this skill is something we should always look to refine. Realize that as a student athlete, academics and athletics will consume the majority of your time.
Acknowledge Your Responsibility
While you have a commitment to your team and coach, academics must always come first. At the end of the day, athletics will always be an extracurricular activity and does not guarantee you an athletic career after graduation. Of course, some students do achieve this route, but it is simply not realistic to assume that athletics will be your gateway to a successful professional career.
Determine Eligibility Requirements
Depending on what level of collegiate sports you participate in, each tier will have different eligibility requirements. Along with those initial requirements, student-athletes are also required to maintain a specific grade point average and follow a course completion track. However, requirements for participating on an intramural sports team depend on the college or university you are attending. These standards differ even further for those students who are receiving an athletic scholarship. Be sure to research this information from the start to avoid financial and academic hardships down the road.
Use Your Resources
Rather than waiting until you run into trouble with your professors, or your grades start to slip, become familiar with academic services. There’s no shame in referring to these services as such centers are equipped to address the needs of student athletes.
It’s also helpful to have a frank discussion with your professors at the start of each semester to assure them that school is your first priority. Most of the time, professors are willing to work with students who demonstrate a commitment to their studies. Lastly, some sports teams also offer their own academic benefits such as study groups and tutoring services. Enduring the challenges of balancing academics and athletics tends to be more bearable when utilizing the support of your teammates.
Protect Your Image
Student-athletes tend to be the center of attention, on and off-campus. This means they have the additional responsibility of maintaining a positive image of the school and themselves. To avoid negative publicity, and to protect your name in the long run, be sure to continue positive interactions between other students, sports teams, teammates, coaches, professors, administrative staff and so forth.
Treat Your Sport as an Escape
Realistically, student-athletes continue to play sports in their college careers due to their love of the game. But aside from one’s enjoyment of a sport, it also serves as a stress outlet that many of us need to recuperate and maintain our focus on school. Along with the physical benefits, sports have outstanding benefits for our cognitive function. So, the next time you’re stressing over a term paper or that next big exam, taking some time to blow off steam with your teammates might just be what you need. Viewing your involvement in a sports team in this light will turn it into a healthy outlet, rather than a burdening chore.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Since a professional athletic career is not promised to any college athlete, this is the time to hone the skills that being a part of a sport team fosters: teambuilding and leadership. The social networks that you develop as a college athlete will help you learn the tools you need to be successful in the business world, as well as exposing you to people that may help you find a job after graduation.
Find a Shoulder to Lean On
No one knows better what you’re going through than your teammates and coach. While we’ve already touched upon the value of developing and maintaining a good relationship with your professors, nothing beats the support you will receive from your team. Coaches tend to act as the crutch of the team by assisting athletes through emotional turmoil and pushing them to do better academically. A good coach will recognize and ensure that school always comes first.
Aside from the school’s and collegiate sports divisions’ incentives for maintaining good grades, try giving yourself personal incentives or goals to reach each semester to ensure you’re satisfied with the amount of effort and progress you’re making within both realms. This will motivate you to stay on your team and reach that grade point average you’ve been aiming for since you began your college career. At the end of the day, your ability to stay motivated will test your dedication to sports and the will to improve, making the obstacles you face worth the reward. Just remember that you took on sports and school simultaneously for a reason!
Give Yourself Some Downtime
As much as you want to do it all, and well, all the time, realize that everyone needs a break from time to time. Considering you have to handle more responsibilities than the average college student as an athlete, it’s important to give yourself breaks in order to avoid burning out. Burning out will only make your responsibilities more burdensome in which the quality of your school and athletic performance will suffer, as a result.
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