The most obvious challenge that student athletes face is managing time for both their athletic and academic obligations. This isn’t something new for most athletes since you had this issue in high school as well. What is different about college is that both the athletic and academic obligations are much more intense and much less forgiving.
Here are some ways you can manage your time as both an athlete and as a student.
- Know your body. – You need to learn when is the best time to study specific subjects. Do you try to do your hardest work after a very tiring workout or practice? Probably not. Make up a study schedule that fits with your physical status. Do the busy work after practice. Do the harder work when you have the most energy.
- Use travel time wisely. – Athletes spend a lot of time traveling to competitions. Think ahead. What work can you save up to do when you are traveling? This could be reading assignments, homework, making study guides, etc.
- Take full advantage of learning resources. – Most athletes have access to academic support in the form of learning centers and tutors. Unfortunately some athletes look on these resources as an obligation rather than an opportunity. You need to think of learning centers as your competitive advantage. An hour in a learning center can often cut your study time in half or more.
- Use small chunks of time. – You will often have small amounts of time (10-30 minutes) when you are between classes, waiting for class to start, or other times when you can do assignments. Use your phone to do online assignments in these small chunks of time.
- Stay on campus. – When you have a bigger block of time, stay on campus and use this to get your work done. Should you return to your room, you are likely to waste time.
- Find non-athlete friends to study with. – One of the challenges that many athletes have is not developing friends outside of their sport. You really need to find study groups with non-athlete students. They can cut down on the time to do your toughest homework.
The above suggestions are some that have proven successful for student athletes, but ultimately you have to find what works for you. Managing your time is a skill just like an athletic skill. You have to practice to develop your skill. You have to find out what works for you. And above all, you have to develop the discipline and will to succeed.