How to Manage Your Time as a Student-Athlete

Author, Performance Coach

Aug   2015



“Your time is ultimately yours and yours alone. Make the most of it. Make every second count.” — Bob Bly

As a student-athlete, you understand that time and schedule challenges are part of the game. Conflicts will occur. Deadlines must be met. Promises must be kept. The life of a student-athlete is orderly and chaotic. Adaptability and an open mind are your teammates, not your opponents.

The secret to your success is in becoming a highly proactive individual. Just as your anticipation skills are vital to your on-court success, your ability to plan ahead and take charge of your time is inextricably linked to your overall well-being as a student-athlete.

Top 10 time management obstacles

In our work with collegiate athletes and teams, we’ve discovered time management obstacles that are common to top performers across all sports. Here’s our top 10:

  1. A general feeling of overwhelm and helplessness

  2. Choosing instant gratification over long-term success

  3. Lack of a specific, day-to-day productivity plan
  4. More time than ever spent on the practice court
  5. More time than ever spent traveling for competition
  6. More time than ever spent training and working out
  7. Not maximizing the free time you do have
  8. Starting the day early and finishing the day late
  9. Successfully managing newfound college freedom
  10. The tendency to procrastinate on important tasks

On the flip side of the equation, our research has also found that by becoming more intentional about how you structure your day, you will experience the following rewards:

  • Optimal balance amongst work time, play time, and down time
  • Higher self-esteem and confidence
  • Improved academic and athletic performance
  • Increased “employability factor”
  • Position for greater academic and athletic opportunities and more

Three time-management tips for student-athlete success

By implementing the following suggestions quickly, you will become much more organized than ever before:

1. Make a daily to-do list

Simple? Yes. Easy? Not necessarily. The trick is not so much in the list itself, but in taking the time to sit down and write out the things you need to do. It’s either a priority for you or it’s not.

2. Time-block your tasks

For me personally, I prefer 90-minute segments of focused productivity. However, I’ve bumped it up to 60-minute “runs” as a challenge to see if I can accomplish the same amount of work in less time. Play around with it until you find a system that works best for you.

3. Avoid distractions

“You may delay, but time will not,” said Benjamin Franklin, America’s great inventor. The fact is, you’re only as distracted as you allow yourself to be. Real “time ninjas” control technology rather than allowing high-tech to control them.

In closing, you have more control over your time than you might think. If you want to stand out, then take a time out. Press the pause button briefly to evaluate your top priorities and do your best to organize your life around them. You can do this. Better yet, you will. Go get ’em today!

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About Rene Vidal

High-performance coach René Vidal is the author or co-author of three books, including Play Smart to Win in Business: Leadership Lessons from Center Court to Corner Office, now available on Amazon. Visit him at or reach him at René loves hearing from student-athletes!