The high school student-athlete must be capable of not only juggling a rigorous academic schedule, but also managing the physical and mental demands of an after school athletic program. When there are seemingly not enough hours in a day, the student-athlete must develop a concrete plan to successfully balance schoolwork and sports.
First and foremost, being organized will give the student-athlete a sense of control over his or her life. Having a comprehensive planner that includes all schoolwork, as well as sports related obligations (such as practice times and games), will assist in identifying and prioritizing tasks.
Separating daily schoolwork requirements and long-term assignments can help make day to day schoolwork less stressful and more productive. Long-term assignments that typically require in depth research or work should be scheduled when there is a break from sports related activity (ex. Sundays or holidays). Day to day homework assignments however must be fit into extremely tight daily schedules.
3. Identifying free time
Sometimes high school sports practices are right after the school day, and sometimes they may be in the evening—games may span over both. If practice occurs directly after the school day ends, homework can be done in the evening after eating dinner. However, if practice is in the evening there may be free time in between the end of the school day and the start of practice. Using this time wisely can decrease the pressure of completing homework late at night. Even completing one homework assignment before practice can aid in decreasing stress.
Also, many high school student-athletes have a ‘free period’ of some sort during the school day. If this is the case, it would be wise to use this time to complete an assignment or two. When assignments are complete, checking them off in a planner will give the student-athlete a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
4. Saying ‘no’
In addition to school work and sports, a prominent factor for any high school student is socialization. The pressure of saying ‘yes’ to friends who may want to use free time to socialize is immense. High school student-athletes need to find balance between their social life and unique scheduling demands. Sometimes saying ‘no’ is necessary to stay in control.
5. Know when to ask for help
Being a high school student in today’s high standardized society is hard enough. Being a high school student-athlete at times may seem like an impossible task. Knowing when to ask for help is a responsible, mature decision when life begins to feel overwhelming. Trusted teachers, guidance counselors, or even coaches will gladly point the student-athlete in the right direction and have an increased respect for the dedication displayed to both schoolwork and sports.
Being a high school student-athlete isn’t always easy. Balancing schoolwork and sports takes organization and control over the day to day schedule. By prioritizing and capitalizing on free time, a high school student-athlete will be able to experience a rewarding and fulfilling high school experience.