The Pressures of a Student Athlete: Balancing School and Sport

When it comes to alarm sounds, I prefer relaxing chimes as opposed to the imitation of fire trucks. It makes the process of getting up at 4:50 am for early morning practice repeatedly somewhat less grueling.


In my freshman year of high school, I’ve decided to take on the responsibility of being a school volleyball player. With this title comes requirements that have made difficult and sudden changes to my daily lifestyle: 6:00 am practices and lifts, more practices after school that last until 6:30 pm, frequent tournaments on weekends, and so on. On top of this, the towering amount of work that comes through each day becomes a detrimental part of my tight schedule.


More than half of American high school students go through the same routines I do. In fact, 55.5% of high school students participate in sports according to U.S News and world report. Depending on the seriousness of the sport at the high school, a student's schedule could become overwhelming, if not impossible to keep up with countless responsibilities.


Is there a point of demanding too much of high school athletes? How is it expected to maintain a good GPA, strong performance in the sport, and healthy mental wellbeing?


There’s no mystery to the expertise in each individual student athlete. While a player has to attain motivation to play the sport, there's also a mental game where they’re tested if their work ethic is strong.


It’s imperative to find a healthy balance between each aspect of a player's life. Here are some ways to balance school and sport, all the while keeping in touch with your own well being.


1.Have a planner.

You’ve heard it once, and you’ll hear it again. Know your schedule! This will reduce last-minute stress and will overall organize your life.


2. Know what’s available to you.

Utilize your resources on and off the court. Take the advantages of tutors, study groups, and extra credit to stay on top.


3. Have a long term goal.

Even if you don’t plan on becoming a D1 athlete after high school, it's crucial to have passion in whatever you’re doing. Have a constant desire to further your knowledge and constant desire to get better in your game. If you’re realizing this passion just isn't there, reevaluate, envision a goal you want to achieve, and take steps in getting there.


4. Eliminate procrastination.

There will be inevitable times in your academic path where you simply don’t want to do something. Being an athlete, realize you can’t afford to not do certain assignments. Find the root of why you’re procrastinating, and fix the problem.


Further resources

https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2011/09/02/high-school-sports-participation-increases-for-22nd-straight-year

https://jvavolleyball.org/5-steps-balance-academic-athletic-demands-being-student-athlete/

https://www.fencingparents.org/fencer-health-and-fitness/2019/1/16/8-effective-ways-athletes-balance-sports-and-academics


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Samantha Smith

Freshman

Mount St. Mary’s ‘25

Little Rock, Arkansas

samanthacsmithh



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