Balancing Academics and Athletics

If you are an athlete in college, it’s certain that your contribution to your team 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. 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.

1. Time Management

time management

For anyone, not just student athletes, time management is a vital component of success in college and later on in life. The time management habits you develop as a student will be a huge influencer in how well

you manage your time as a professional and in other circumstances.Consequently, this skill is something we should always look to refine.

Accept the fact that as a student athlete, academics and athletics will consume the majority of your time. No guilt necessary, just enjoy these golden years and give your studies and your sport your all.

Time Management Tips

  • Many successful business people (even those with hectic, demanding jobs) limit themselves to checking emails, social media, etc. only during certain hours of the day. Life will not fall apart if you do not answer an email or do not see someone’s post. In any case, if something is that urgent, it’s up to them to pick up the phone and call you.
  • Find a time management method that works for you. The Pomodoro technique, for instance, stresses intensive, non interrupted work for 25 minutes, or an hour, or any chunk of time that you usually find you can accomplish a lot within. Then take a break – get up, walk around, get tea, whatever! And then run another intensive un interrupted session.
  • You can try an app like Asana to help you with time management. This app might also be helpful for your work. Other more concentration-helpers include Stay Focused and Anti-Social.
  • Learn to say yes when you need some fun, and no when you know that overdoing it will have negative consequences. People will enjoy your company and learn to respect you for your willpower, energy and inevitable success.

2. Acknowledge Your Responsibility and Priorities

While you have a commitment to your team and coach, academics must always come first. At the end of the day, athletics is an extracurricular activity and even the most passionate and excellent player is not guaranteed an athletic career after graduation. Of course, some students are en-route to a professional sports career, but even pro players have a career or business and to run it you should have some knowledge to back it.

As most athletes gets older, they often wish to slow down, change careers or look for a change of life. It’s never too late to make career changes, and simply having studied well and gotten the degree in advance will make the transition easier.

3. Determine Eligibility Requirements

Depending on the 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 (GPA) and follow a course completion track.

Requirements for participating in an intramural sports teams varies among universities, especially for those on an athletic scholarship. Be sure to keep your target GPA in mind as you study to avoid academic and financial hardships down the line.

Check out FNUs several scholarshipsfinancial aid options and tuition incentives!

4. 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.

5. 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 with other students, sports teams, teammates, coaches, professors, administrative staff and so forth.

6. Your Sport is an Escape, Not a Stressful Competition

Some student-athletes are going for sports as a career and they might stress out over competitions, trainings, etc. Yes, everyone wants to excel, give their best and see themselves win, but it is proven scientifically that exercise itself –especially a sport or team you truly enjoy- has many benefits, including stress relief, brain booster, endorphins that keep you in a good mood, regulation of many bodily functions, etc.

Along with the physical benefits, sports have outstanding benefits for our cognitive function. So, the next time you are 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 burden.

7. 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: team building 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.

8. Find a Shoulder to Lean On

No one knows better what you are 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. Our professors and coaches at FNU are often touted by FNU students themselves and have even won awards, like our own Coach of the Year, Fernando Valenzuela.

9. Stay Motivated

Aside from the school’s and collegiate sports divisions’ incentives for maintaining good grades, try giving yourself personal incentives and goals to reach each semester to ensure you are satisfied with the amount of effort and progress you are 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!

10. 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.

Learn here how to play college soccer at FNU (you can also use this as general advice) on how to start on a sports team at FNU.

Don’t hesitate to contact FNU to get your questions answered right away.With this form we can determine who best can reply to you. We’d love to have you become a team member of one of our Conquistadores!

Resources:
Braun, M. (2013, April 23). Finding a balance: college student athletes. Retrieved from http://sites.jmu.edu/103molloy/finding-a-balance-college-student-athletes/
Durham, C. (n.d.). 5 benefits of participating in a college sport. Retrieved from http://sites.mediaplanet.com/higher-education-news/5-benefits-of-participating-in-a-college-sport
How college athletics can enhance academics. (2013, July 11). Retrieved from http://www.briarcliffe.edu/Student-Life/Briarcliffe-Blog/July-2013/How-College-Athletics-Can-Enhance-Academics
Striking the balance between school and sports: ncaa eligibility. (2012, September 11). Retrieved from http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/striking-the-balance-between-school-and-35205/
Wambuch, C. (2013, May 10). Athletes in the classroom: how to balance athletics and academics. Retrieved from http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/balance-athletics-and-academics/
Williamson, J. (n.d.). Balancing sports and academics. Retrieved from http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15885/1/Balancing-Sports-and-Academics.html

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