By Julia Sparco
Elm Staff Writer
With finals right around the corner and collegiate athletics slowly returning to what it used to be, it is more important than ever for student-athletes to manage their time to keep up with all responsibilities.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, “student-athletes spend anywhere between 30–40 hours on their athletic training/conditioning/competitions” during a week. This is on top of other commitments like classes, a social life, jobs, and family relationships, so it can be challenging for student-athletes to balance every aspect of their life.
Creating these balances has been especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, since student-athletes haven’t had as much guidance, like that coaches and team captains, to help them through keeping up with classes, workouts, and staying in contact with teammates.
Kelsey Mitchell, a writer for Swimming World Magazine, said that practices should always be prioritized first since “basing parts of your schedule around practices and putting athletic commitments over other extracurriculars, you will have more opportunities to train and improve.”
“This can also help academically, as having a set practice schedule can force you to stay on top of deadlines and assignments,” she said.
According to Metrifit, a research website dedicated to bettering sports performances, athletes should also use a calendar or agenda book to keep up with practices, assignments, and other activities they are involved in.
“As a student, athlete, and course mentor, I have a lot of responsibilities which require scheduling and planning,” junior Washington College trap and skeet player Sammy DiLoreto said. “I use an agenda book to keep track of my classes and tasks in order to effectively manage my time.”
Both Merifit and Mitchell recommend starting and finishing assignments as early as possible, especially when studying for tests.
“Whenever you have available time, do your work, no excuses,” senior WC women’s volleyball player Laura Cochrane said. “You should always memorize your practice, game, and class schedule to help figure out when that available time is too.”
“Completing your tasks on time will de-clutter your schedule and leave more time for relaxing and other hobbies. Avoiding procrastination will also help you get assignments in on time and maintain your sleep schedule,” Mitchell said.
Merifit also recommends “completing assignments in chronological order.” This will lessen the “last minute pressure” of completing an assignment, and also lessen procrastination.
For example, if a student-athlete has a small assignment due on Monday and a paper due on Friday, the student should finish the small assignment first to allow more time for the paper further in the week.
“I just always try to not fall behind,” said junior WC men’s baseball player Michael Roseman. “While it happens, limiting the amount of times it happens is the most important.”
According to Mitchell, student-athletes should not take on too many responsibilities like “jobs, internships, and clubs” because “balancing them with athletics and academics can be difficult.” She recommends getting a feel for a semester’s course load and the season before committing to more.
Another important factor for student-athletes is to regulate sleep schedules. According to Merifit, “healthier sleep improves academic and athletic work.”
According to Merifit, “sleep is often compromised [by student-athletes] as a result of commitments; 48% of players do not get the eight to ten hours of sleep that is recommended for athletes.”
Overall, student-athletes must prioritize all of their commitments, plan ahead, and utilize free time to the best of their ability. Doing so will not only help them athletically, but also academically.
Featured Photo caption: Balancing academics and athletics can be challenging, but not impossible. Photo By Marah Vain Callahan.