The Ultimate Balancing Act: The ‘How to’ Guide to Student Athlete Success

The Franklin football field is used for a majority of Franklin’s sports competitions and represents our sports community. Photo by Violette Creel.

Participating in sports during the school year can be extremely stressful. With many demands on students’ time, making up academic work and keeping up socially may be difficult. However, being on a sports team has many perks, such as meeting new people and staying in shape. Overall, participating in a sport is a necessity in keeping a well-rounded lifestyle. In order to keep up with such a busy schedule and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, athletes make use of many tricks to manage it all. 

Time Management and Organization 

A busy schedule is hard to beat, but with the right tools, free time is easy and accessible. The best way to gain more free time is to limit distractions and use your time wisely. “Get off your phone and stop procrastinating,” states Raven Chesser, a student athlete who participates in JV soccer, women’s futsal, and varsity cheerleading. It is important to understand that when given the chance to get ahead on work, it is good to take it. Tutorials are a good source of time to do so. As far as organization goes, communication and planning can go a long way. By talking to your teachers about what you can do to catch up, making up work becomes much easier. If it helps you, I recommend taking advantage of your locker and bringing a separate bag to carry all your clothes and equipment in. 

Maintaining a Good Mental State

The pressure of succeeding in a sport can be overwhelming. To counteract that stress, there are some things you can do to revitalize your mental state and stay in the best mood possible. One thing to keep in mind is that you should only be playing if you feel comfortable and content in the position you are in. If something is rubbing you the wrong way, or you just have a bad gut feeling, remember you do not have to participate. If it is too competitive, try joining a non-competitive team, or talk to your coach about your worries. If you are nervous about a competition or game, try to stay positive. Talk to your friends about your anxieties and ask for advice if you are worried. 

Pre-game Preparations

Generally, most sports are in the late afternoon or immediately after school, resulting in students leaving class early and having to bring their sports gear to school. Without time to get packed before the game or meet, it’s best to pack up the night before, including a water bottle, comfortable clothes (depending on the transportation and time), and of course some food to keep you going. Additionally, music that is appropriate for the circumstance can get you in the right mood and energized with adrenaline, so bring some earbuds or a speaker.  

Staying Healthy

Maintaining a healthy diet is critical in playing a sport. If you do not eat well before a game, it may impact your effort, mood, and energy. I recommend drinking a full glass of water every hour prior to your game; this is still a healthy and good option for you even if you do not participate in a sport. You can add mint, lemon, cucumber, orange or strawberry for some flavor, some which can boost metabolism and help clear skin. It’s also good to have a healthy snack before your game, such as vegetables, fruits, seeds or nuts. If you get the chance to make one, smoothies are a perfect source for fruits and protein. Protein powder can be added to smoothies for extra flavor and to help you get nourishment and energy. 

Although being a student athlete has its hardships, it is a great thing to do and experience to have in the long run and is also an effective way to stay in shape and get outside. There’s really only one way to see if these tips work for you personally, so I suggest you play the best you can, and hopefully get through much more efficiently.

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