How Do I Balance Sports and Academics in College?

Playing sports is an excellent way to get exercise, form lasting friendships and simply have fun, but students must find ways to balance sports and academics in college. While some students join intramural sports teams for the reasons described above, many students are on sports scholarships (please see: How Do I Find Scholarships for College?). There is even greater pressure on these students to perform well academically and athletically. Here are some tips for college student athletes to be successful in getting all the benefits of playing sports in college without the headaches.

Practice Time Management

Students who are on sports scholarships generally have no control over the times they practice or participate in games or tournaments. However, they do have some control over their class schedules, and they often have access to academic advisors who can help them choose appropriate classes that leave them with adequate time to study in between athletic activities. College life also involves going out with friends and exploring new territory. However, student athletes must learn to limit their outings so they are able to study and attend their athletic events as required. The best ways that student athletes can avoid over committing to extracurricular outings are to reduce their participation in impromptu adventures and schedule time to go out with friends as a celebratory treat for doing well on a hard test or winning an important game.

Consume Adequate Nutrition

Many young people believe they can play sports and do their homework while surviving on fast food burgers and fries. Sadly, their young bodies will not show signs of repulsion for those preservative-filled foods until much later in life. While these students can drag themselves around from one activity to the next on this fare, they will likely not thrive in any of their endeavors by eating this way. Student athletes who want to perform well academically, athletically and socially must eat nutritiously. This means eating plenty of antioxidant rich, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as clean, whole food protein sources for muscle development.

Get Sufficient Sleep

The body does some important cleaning up while in sleep mode, and busy young adults often need more of this quality time than any other societal group. Sufficient sleep is needed for both mental and physical health, and student athletes require both of these. Studies show that people are more alert and better problem solvers when they have gotten adequate rest. People who get enough sleep also have improved immune systems. Those who do not get adequate sleep usually have slower reaction times, and the quality of their work tends to decrease.

Utilize Excellent Communication Skills

Students who play on successful college sports teams will inevitably run into schedule conflicts between their academic and athletic activities. For example, sports teams that win many of their regular season events are often invited to play in tournaments out of town with other top league teams. During these times, student athletes must exercise good communication skills early on with their professors to avoid academic deficiencies. Professors may allow student athletes to take certain examinations early or grant them extra time to complete class assignments if they know in advance that their student athletes must go out of town for athletic events.

Choosing to play sports while in college has many positive benefits, but unprepared student athletes may have difficulty achieving all they want to accomplish while at school. The described tips for balancing sports and academics in college can help to make sure that student athletes have rich, well-rounded college experiences.