Balancing Sports and Academics

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Balancing Sports and Academics

Rebecca Tao, Staff Writer

Most students strive to be well-rounded—meaning they partake in a variety of academics and sports. Both activities demand high-level commitment as well as stellar time management skills. In fact, colleges look for individuals who put their time and effort into extracurriculars and sports while also excelling at challenging courses.

On average, high schoolers spend around 30 minutes on homework from each of their classes, making a total of around three hours per night. While this may not seem like an outrageous amount, usually other activities like volunteering, extracurriculars, and sometimes even a job are added to a student’s schedule. Furthermore, many sports, such as Cross Country and Colorguard, spill into before and after school hours to maximize practice time. That additional practice time could range from two to four hours. With the pressure of balancing multiple activities and the responsibilities of keeping your grades up while maintaining a schedule for sports, keep these tips in mind:

Take advantage of every opportunity

If your teacher allows you extra time in class to work on classwork or homework, use it to the max! These rare opportunities are extremely valuable and can cut a great amount of time from your homework pile. At races or games when you are not running or practicing, use that time span to study or catch up on schoolwork. Student-athlete Joyce Pang says, “I use an agenda and I color coordinate each subject and my homework. I also synced my classroom calendar to my personal and sports one so that helps a lot.”

Talk with your coach

Your coaches are not just there to aid you in your fitness, they are also your greatest and most understanding teachers. Talk with your coach about the responsibilities you have and check with them if they are able to be flexible with you and assign you an alternate schedule. For instance, you could ask to do your morning mileage in the morning instead of the afternoon if you have an AP Biology lab to complete after school.  

Remember that sacrifices may be needed

It’s impossible to achieve a perfect balance. Don’t beat yourself up over a failed test score because you devoted your time to sports. It’s okay to make compromises once in a while, but make sure it does not develop into a frequent habit as most sports require a minimum GPA.

Your sport is your rock

For some, their sport is their escape. It could their time to shine and be in the spotlight. Not all students are academically-charged and that is perfectly fine. Treat sports as your relaxation period—a time to be free from the stressors of school—and as an aid to your cognitive functions (which also benefits your academics!). The people you meet through sports might just be your lifelong best friends, who will resonate with the struggles you encounter. Maintaining motivation can be difficult, but if you keep setting (long term and short term) goals for yourself, you will never be tired of the scholarly drive and athletic grind.

Graphic courtesy of MAKEACHAMP.COM