Finding Balance between Academics and Athletics

Finding Balance between Academics and Athletics

Ambrose athlete Janelle Perry

“You play a varsity sport? Wow, your life must be so busy”. This is a frequently stated phrase that is in fact true. Varsity sports on their own are a huge time commitment, but when you pair that with class time and studying, life can get pretty hectic. Although it’s a combination that can sometimes be poorly balanced, academics and athletics have been crucial to not only my own individual physical health but also my mental health.

Being physically active while pursuing a full-time education is harder than it sounds. I have observed many odd things in the workout gym such as students reading on the stationary bike/treadmill, and studying in between sets, to things such as students listening to their own pre-recorded notes or reciting the names of the amino acids while bench pressing. Why do students do these things? Your first guess might be: to avoid any unwanted weight gain from stress eating; however, many students would mention how exercise increases their memory, focus, and mood, which happens to be scientifically proven! There is an undeniable feeling of satisfaction that one feels after increasing their heart rate during exercise. Personally, I sometimes feel like I’m going to pass out while exercising, but once I catch my breath, my mind is clear, and I am joyful. As unpleasant as it may be in the moment, the after-effects are worth it.

When it comes to being involved in a varsity sport, you not only have designated workouts to complete but also scheduled practices and games. This can cause a lot of stress for athletes when they are gone out of the city for a two-game weekend and they have a big test or assignment due at the beginning of the week. How are student-athletes supposed to get homework done on a tour bus? They seldom do, to be honest, and that’s where balancing time becomes essential. The best advice that I can give is to plan ahead and don’t leave things last minute. This is easier said than done, but after five years of school, I think I have finally figured it out.

You are a student before you are an athlete. Keeping up your grades is really important, you actually have to maintain your GPA to remain on the athletics teams. Why do some athletes focus so much sports and so little on academics? That’s a question that I can’t answer, but I would predict that they haven’t figured out how to balance both. This is what I would suggest as someone who has been a part of the Ambrose soccer/futsal team for the last four years:

  1. Schedule practices and workouts so that they become part of your routine and not just a “when I have time” kind of thing.
  2. Don’t leave studying and assignments until the last minute. Plan time throughout the week to complete work in advance.
  3. Take care of your body. When you eat healthily, drink lots of fluids, and get enough sleep, you not only feel better, but you have more energy to be motivated for workouts and study time. 

All of this being said, I have learned a lot about the importance of balancing academics and athletics throughout my education, and I hope that you can take this some of this advice and apply it into your own life.  Soccer/futsal has not only contributed to the maintenance of my physical health, my mental health, and my motivation, but it has provided me with a community that encourages and supports me in my studies.  Together as a team, we strive to reach excellence on and off the court.