Competitive sports require constant training that requires many hours of vigorous ‘field’ activity and working out in the gym. It also requires the athlete to participate in team meetings and other strategic discussions, which are essential in maintaining the competitive edge. However, when all these had to be carried out while engaging in university studies, it could require substantial amount of effort to balance between the two.
Thus, for some, participating in competitive sports may look impossible while engaging in university studies. However, with effective time management strategies and extra effort at the classroom should make matters easier. Any form of deviation towards one of these activities may compromise the success of the other and therefore following tips should be useful to maintain the balance between the two as much as possible.
‘Do more work at the classroom’
The balancing act begins at the classroom. As university athletes, they may not get much of a chance to study for long-hours in the evenings or in the mornings because of their sports related commitments. Therefore, they should make use of the classroom time to the fullest. This includes, sitting in front rows of the class, paying attention to the points taught by the teachers, asking questions related to the learning, discussing problems related to the subject matter with the tutors soon after a class and avoiding ‘chitchat’ during class activities with other students. Furthermore, actively participating in classroom discussions and group activities should also enable the student athlete to make the most of it and therefore lessen the necessity to study long-hours at home.
‘Use the idle times effectively’
Apart from contributing and learning at the classroom, it is important to make use of the ‘idle time’ after university hours for studying. This includes the time spent on long journeys in a car or in a team bus, as competitive athletes need to travel long-distances frequently. Using these times to recall classroom learning and complete homework should not only improve memory but also help athletes to concentrate well for the upcoming event.
‘Recall before bedtime and finish the assignments early’
Recalling what has been taught during the day for about 10 to 15 minutes before bed or in the late evening should also be useful to prevent forgetting important points learnt at the university. Meantime, finishing assignments as soon as possible, preferably within few days after it is given, should also help the student athlete to free his or her mind from the unnecessary anxiety of meeting deadlines and at the same time concentrate fully on the sports activities.
‘Set short-term and long-term goals’
Setting goals is another useful technique to manage time and to keep focus on both learning and sports. Having several short-term goals renewed each week and long-term goals that aligns with the life goals of the student athlete, should enable them to track down their activities. This should enable an effective means of balancing tasks to achieve the intended goals. Thus, when one feels certain goals are being delayed, more time could be spent on achieving those while less consideration is given to the others.
‘Establish a supportive network of friends’
Apart from these suggestions, university students participating in competitive sports should also maintain a healthy society of friends who can help them in their studies. This could make life so much easier as support from friends during university life is essential for an athlete to thrive.