Balancing Academics and Athletics

Jobed Elien, CollegeFindMe Intern

Congrats on making the team! If this is your first time trying to balance practices, games, homework, and tests all at once it can feel a little overwhelming. And while finding time between sports and school is somewhat tricky, there are tips that you can follow to manage the task. As you start both the school year and your athletic season, we’ve got the tools you need to come out ahead!

Be proactive

Luckily, you’ll get your practice and game schedule as soon as the season starts. Share your calendar with your teachers and peers to hold yourself accountable, and to negotiate with your teachers when your schedule gets overloaded. The easiest way to find support is to be transparent about when you’ll need help as early as possible.

Break it down

As you start filling your calendar with games and practices, it can feel overwhelming to handle homework, studying, and projects. Rather than trying to do everything all at once, tackle it one piece at a time. Read a few pages before school, do a few problems during lunch, and cross a few things off your to-do list throughout the day. This will help you knock out your homework in smaller doses and leave you with less to do after practice and on the weekends so that you can really enjoy your free time. 

Ask for help

Even if you put in the work, it can still sometimes be difficult to meet specific deadlines and requirements. If you’re struggling, you can ask teachers for an extension on projects so you can avoid a late grade. If that doesn’t work, you can also try to talk with them during their free time to ask for help with assignments. Showing initiative and asking for help is a clear sign to your teachers that you care about school, even if you need a little extra time to get everything done. 

Plan ahead

Do you want to continue playing sports in college? Aim for the big leagues? The sooner you can figure out your long-term commitment to your sport, the sooner you can establish your priorities. Students looking to play at large Division I schools need to focus on getting recruited and on good SAT and ACT scores. Division 3 athletes usually need to focus much more seriously on taking more rigorous classes and staying strong academically. Once you know where you stand, you can determine what areas need the most focus. Don’t push yourself over the limit if you don’t want to go far in your sport, and don’t slack off if you do.

Get some rest!

It may seem like the hardest thing to do because of all your other responsibilities, but a good night’s sleep is key to maintaining balance. It’ll keep you sharp in practice and in the classroom, so try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Even if you don’t finish all of your homework before you go to bed, waking up with a clear head and feeling well-rested can give you the boost you need to finish your assignments in the morning. 

Don’t overdo it

If managing sports and school is becoming stressful or uninteresting, don’t feel obligated to push yourself to your breaking point. You can always try and find any extracurricular activity that doesn’t interfere with your work and also allows you to still stay active, or join a more recreational team on the weekends. Doing well athletically and academically takes a lot of skill and practice, so make sure you’re taking the time to relax.