You may prioritize your sport first but you can not forget to complete your assignments. You have to remember, without school you will not have the sport. If this is something you think you will struggle with, get a group of your teammates and create a study group, or take time to meet up with a study group after practice. Everyone knows it is important to prioritize homework but especially with student athletes because if you don’t do your work, this could lead to consequences having to do with your eligibility to play or worst case scenario suspension or being kicked off the team. Believe it or not, studies have shown that more academically inclined students are better in the playing field.
Remember your ‘Me’ time
Being in a sport, especially if you participate in one that you have to wake up at the crack of dawn, make sure you have time for yourself. Of course, school and practice are important but you need to remember to give yourself some alone time or you might just drive yourself crazy. Whether that may be doing a hobby of yours, or just taking time to watch your favorite TV show. It is important to step back from what you are doing and give yourself a break, it will help you improve more than if you do not give yourself free time. What will free time do for you? Lots of things! First off it will relieve stress. Stress can majorly affect a lot of other functions in the body and giving yourself a mental, as well as physical break, can level out stress. This will help you maintain your focus and keep yourself motivated for training in the future. More often than not athletes forget the reason why they are training so hard and lose sight of what their end goals are. It is important to take a step back and look at the big picture of what each athlete is trying to accomplish.
Schedule in advance
You have your priorities, but having a social life is also very much needed. Since you know your practice and school schedules way in advance, share that with your friends and schedule times you can hang out or meet up for lunch during the week so you can get in your time somewhere other than on the field. Obviously your friends might not know what they will be doing 3 weeks from now but make sure you are able to communicate with your friends so they don’t think that you don’t want to hang out or don’t want their company
Communicate with professors
Do Not, and I repeat Do Not stress about not having enough time for assignments because of a game you had over the weekend or a late-night practice. Professors will understand that the sport is a time commitment and is important to you, especially if you are going to said school on a scholarship. All you have to do is communicate your issue to your professor and they will more likely than not give you an extension of an assignment. This does not mean slack off and not do your work and make sports an excuse because that will only get you in more trouble. But do not be afraid to ask for help, it will save you a lot of stress believe me.
Talk to someone immediately if you are injured
We all have gone through some sort of injury while playing sports before, whether it was minor or major it needs to be addressed. You can not perform to the best of your abilities and if you push it off like there is nothing wrong it could get worse in the future. This is just as important as giving yourself ‘me’ time as said previously. Yes, it may not be the best feeling having to sit out of a few games or practices, but your performance will only get worse if you do not tend to an injury no matter what the severity is.
Your teammates will be your best friends
You will be spending a LOT of time with your teammates. This is something you have to take into consideration when joining a sport. These people will be a big part of your life, so do not let little discrepancies get in the way, or your time as a student-athlete will not be fun. Make sure you make the most fun and the best memories with them because this group of people will be the most important part of your athletic career. This sport will be a big-time commitment so you must make connections with people on the team to make the experience worthwhile
Get involved with other activities
It is understandable that after going to practice you may not have the energy to go to another club meeting. School not only allows you to learn, but you should use your time in college to meet new people and try new things. If it doesn’t work, then move on from it but it at least shows that you are well rounded. Try out a club with a friend on your team that has similar interests so you are not doing it alone, and you can keep each other on track.
It is easy to just fall into the lifestyle of eating junk food from the dining hall. Just because you are very active does not mean you should fall into the ways of a lazy college student. The better the food you put in, the better you will perform. That does not mean you have to restrict your diet, just be mindful of how many scoops you're having for dessert after a big dinner when you have to train the next day.
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