How to Balance Sports and School as a Student-Athlete
Life as a student-athlete can be quite exhilarating. Sports can put you on the spotlight, so everyone at school knows you and thinks you're coo. But as every college sports girl knows only too well, this special status doesn't come with handle-with-care labels. It takes a ton of hard work to become (and continue being!) a student-athlete.
The stressors of balancing academics and training, constantly traveling to compete, and handling team commitments and personal responsibilities can take a toll on your health. So, if you're looking to navigate your pressure-filled life better, this article is for you. In the following sections, we'll drop a couple of handy tips and tricks to help you learn how to balance sports and school.
Top Tips to balance sports and school
1. Prioritize and plan ahead.
We can't stress this enough. While the average student isn't exempt from juggling everyday tasks, student-athletes must add long hours of practice on top of these. This means giving up a lot of social events for that much-needed extra hour or so to practice or be away at a competition. Find out how to balance sports and school with these handy pointers:
- Set your schedule and stick to it.
With a bit of careful planning, you don't need to sacrifice a lot of things. The key is to be strategic. Ask your coach or team manager if you can already get the season's schedule for workouts and competitions. Let them know you want to strike a better balance in your life. They'll likely appreciate your effort to be responsible and care for your overall health and wellbeing.
- Make your big rocks your big rocks.
By this, we mean prioritizing those super important things that mean the most to you (like your mom's birthday, for instance). Block the days for these activities or engagements on your calendar. Remember to include a couple of free and easy days in the month to allow breathing space. Once you've carved out time for your must-attends, you can schedule the rest of your events around these.
- Learn to say no.
Now, this is crucial, so listen up: you don’t have to say yes to every invite (truly!). Though you may want to hold on to your Miss Congeniality crown and be tempted to say, "I'll just drop by," consider ditching that thought. We both know that "just dropping by" is mostly wishful thinking. You end up spending more time than you initially planned to spare—and this can be disastrous on your schedule.
Remember, though, to promptly respond and politely decline the invitation if you aren’t keen about it. People will soon learn to respect your resolve and the way you value your time. Pretty soon, you'll realize that you have a windfall of time to organize that long overdue weekend party with your friends.
- Manage your time wisely.
We never seem to have enough time for everything. And if you're a student-athlete, there's even more pressure to run after the clock perpetually. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. Time management is a skill that you can learn. Start with these easy yet effective techniques to reclaim your day:
- Look for pockets of time.
Everyone has those 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or even a full hour where they can squeeze in a task or two. For instance, while waiting for your turn at the sports clinic, you can begin tackling that intro to a college essay or get some school reading done. A little here and there can eventually add up to considerable time savings.
- Apply the Pomodoro technique.
This time management method involves attacking a task or activity non-stop for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break. Use the break to do light stretches, walk around, sip a little tea, or whatever can chill your mind. And then keep repeating the cycle. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much you can accomplish.
- Remove non-essential tasks or activities.
Before doing anything, get into the habit of asking yourself if it's worth doing at all. We did mention this a while back, but this bears repeating (perhaps, a couple of times more!). Spending your time on worthwhile tasks alone can tremendously boost your productivity.
- Keep this in mind: "motion before emotion.”
Procrastinating can get you overwhelmed at crunch time when you realize you still have a million and one urgent to-dos. Quit analysis paralysis and avoid delays. Like what the classic shoe ad says, "Just do it!" Eventually, you'll find your emotions cooperating with you as you go through the motions.
3. Use your support system.
There's no such thing as a self-made person. Regardless of what field they're in, someone somewhere helped them along to get them to where they are. So, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Your coach and academic adviser can help you work out a plan to achieve your sports and school goals. From the get-go, your trainer knows that academics comes first. This means giving you a bit of leeway if you miss practice to take an important exam. At the same time, your professors may be able to accommodate your game schedule if you advise them early on. They may even help you find additional or makeup work, even tutors, to improve your GPA, especially if you’ll share your intention to do well academically.
And then there are your teammates, family, friends, church, sports psychologist, and others who form your invaluable support system. They can provide you with the perspective, the listening ear, and even the downtime you need to balance all aspects of your student-athlete life. Such support can help you take care of your mental health and perform better.
4. Take advantage of technology.
In this digital age, you can leverage time management apps to help you stay organized. Many tools have nifty features like project tracking and task sharing, allowing you to be on top of everything. Some even have analytics that will tell you how you spend your time and get you to prioritize better.
One cutting-edge innovation can absolutely help you hold it together in competition, in school, or anywhere else! Of course, we're talking about the hi-tech must-have of any student-athlete: Ruby Love period apparel. With Ruby Love Period Underwear, we’ve got you covered, so you can have the freedom to move however you please一whatever time of the month.
Our state-of-the-art, period-proof technology features a built-in, absorbent organic cotton liner that’s perfectly angled to collect your flow during your special time of the month. That’s because it’s equipped with Dri-Tech Mesh that helps stop all front, side, and back leaks. You can even wear it with or without a tampon or menstrual cup! On top of that, our Ruby Love Athletics line also features a new patent-pending "floating gusset" that's discreet and designed for optimal movement. So shop the Ruby Love period collection and get a good grip on your balancing act today.