Student-Athletes: Keep Your Balance On and Off the Blocks

Blocks - Poor Performance

Student-Athletes: Keep Your Balance On and Off the Blocks

Since the school year has started, high school and college student-athletes have been asking themselves the same question: How do I balance maintaining good grades, going to daily practice, and nurturing my social life? 

Here are a few steps swimmers, as student-athletes, can take to achieve this goal of balance. 

1. Make a Plan

Ask yourself what you have to do for the day. Do you have school today? What homework do you have for each class? Do you have to meet with a teacher after school? What time is practice? Do you have a swim meet this weekend? Is there a school event you want to go to? At first, the practice of asking yourself all of these questions at once might seem overwhelming, but in the long run, creating a concrete to-do list will be of great benefit. After you have your list for the day or even the week, find which method of organization works best for you. This could be a simple notebook, an intricate planner, or even an online calendar. Having a place to plan out all of your activities and assignments will keep you on track and focused in both facets of your life: School and swimming.

2. Communicate With Your Teachers and Coaches

Being a student-athlete comes with stress most of the time. Recognizing there are people in your corner that want to help you figure out this balance is an important step toward being successful. Simply reaching out to your teachers and coaches lets them know you care and want to succeed in their class or on their team. Even though it can be hard to believe, these people have been in your shoes, too, and will most likely be eager to find a way to help support you in whatever areas they can, even if it is just checking in to make sure you are doing all right. 

3. Be Passionate About Everything

Don’t give your valuable time and energy to something you don’t want to be doing and learn how to say no. There are always going to be people asking you for your help and your time, but putting yourself first and prioritizing your passions will help you keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t over-involve yourself in extracurriculars or clubs that you think will get you farther in the future. Find your passions and stick with them. This approach will pay off.

4. Listen To Your Body and Mind

Are you really sore from your workout yesterday? Did you have a rough day at school? Do you just want to go home and sleep? Evaluating how you are feeling and letting yourself rest is the most vital part of being a successful student-athlete. Without good physical and mental health, there is no way you can do everything you want to do. There are going to be days when you don’t make it to practice because you are swamped with homework or you are just exhausted. These days happen, and it is not worth it to beat yourself up over them. There are also going to be days when all you want to do is go to practice to escape the massive pile of homework sitting on your desk. There will be days when staring at that black line at the bottom of the pool is the only thing you want to do, and that is perfectly okay. Student-athletes need to give themselves grace and experiment with how they will balance both academic life and school life, and ask how the mind and body feel. 

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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