Life is all about balance: all things have to be done at certain times and in certain amounts, and sports and school are no different. Most students take on the task of school and sports at the same time, and that is completely normal, but the question is: Can you keep up in school and be an athlete at the same time? Time management, scheduling, and working ahead are all necessities if you’re planning to be a student-athlete in high school or college. Let’s work out this decision and figure out if you can do it!
Work on your time management
Are you terrible at timing things correctly? Well, time management is a key skill to being a student-athlete. You have to be at practice on time, know what time you’ll get back home, and coordinate that with how long it will take to do your homework. No matter what you have for homework, it has to get done if you want to stay on the team, and time management will help you with that. If you know you have a hard time getting all your work done, think about taking a study hall so you can get some stuff out of the way during school and won’t have to worry about doing everything after practice. If you don’t have that option, be sure to carve out enough time to get your work done around your activities. Keeping a planner to track each day, week, or month is a good idea so you know what you have going on each night and can plan according to your schedule. Some nights may be jam-packed because you have so many activities and other things going on, so having your homework done ahead of time may be the best plan of action.
Related: Video: Time Management Tips
Write out your schedule each day
You see schedules everywhere: in your classroom, on your computer, even on your fridge. But are they the right thing to help keep you on track? You may need to customize yours to fit your needs and what you need to do. It could be a schedule on your phone through an app or a piece of paper you keep with you to know what’s going on for the day. It could be as simple as “basketball practice” or as complex as “basketball practice at Memorial Park from 4:00–6:00 pm—bring shoes, ball, and water!” Everyone is different, and everything on your to-do list can be set by you and what your needs are. Writing down all the little things you might forget can give you a visual of what you need to do for the day if you're a more vision-based person. Not everyone is this detail oriented, but it could work if you try it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to stick with it. Everything is up to you, so don't stress yourself out over scheduling out every day if you think it’s too much and won’t last more than a week.
Related: How to Get Organized and Manage Time in High School
Try to work ahead
Some classes can be a struggle, with the teacher piling on big quantities of homework and classwork. Or maybe you work at a slower pace than others and need to get everything done at home. If you have the chance, start on your work ahead of time so you don’t have to stress out about doing it on a busy night. Some teachers will let you get your books ahead of time and give you a list of all the assignments for the year, so you could start them in the summer so the workload isn’t overbearing come sports season. If your teacher or school offers this, take the free time you have during the summer and complete some of your work; it will save you one day when you don’t have time to do the work the night before it’s due, trust me. Cramming is never good—it will stress you out knowing that you have so much work that needs to be done, and you might not have a good practice or game because of this stress. You never want to get behind on assignments because that would risk your position in school and on your team. If you’re a starter and your grades drop, you could lose your starting position since most schools have a policy for grades and sports. Keeping your grades up and working ahead will help you at all times in your life—not only with high school sports but in college too.
Related: Surviving Freshman Year of College as a Student-Athlete
Life can get stressful, so do yourself a favor and make it as stress-free as possible. School is important and you need your education, but sports can help take the edge off school. Don't make school your worst enemy: keep your grades up and your position on your team. By keeping yourself organized, playing sports and doing your schoolwork will be a breeze. Remember to manage your time well, schedule your plans, and put yourself ahead of the game by being proactive and not procrastinating. Keep your head up—you’ve got this, champ!
Are you a pro at procrastinating? Check out our “time management” tag for more tips and tricks to help you kick this habit for good!