As high school students are busy checking off the requirements for graduation and college, student-athletes are faced with the increased pressure of balancing sports with schoolwork. Finding ways to implement strongly established routines into daily schedules can help students participate in sports, while still maintaining high grades for school. 

Before signing up for sports, students need to have made adequate progress in their high school years to be considered eligible. Once they meet this requirement, it is imperative to maintain that status by keeping grades up. 

“The requirements academically for a student to participate in sports is maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA,” counselor Michele Fineis said. 

Therefore, working on organization and time-management skills are just as important for student-athletes as practicing for an upcoming game. 

“Sports train students how to manage their time,” sophomore Havana Layton said. “With many different practice and meet schedules, athletes are forced to be aware about their time management so they aren’t late to any events/practices.”

Layton does swim and pole vault for track thus has a very extensive schedule complemented by challenging courses that she has created a successful schedule for. 

“For me, it isn’t too difficult,” Layton said. “With my schedule of leaving school at lunch, I am able to go to swim right after leaving campus and then do my homework as early as 3:30. When track starts, I will have to stay up a little later, but it is definitely worth it.”

Using extra time in school and setting aside a specific hour in the day to complete homework is one strategy that several athletes are following to make sure they are not falling behind with assignments. 

“Doing homework with spare time in class, while still in a learning environment, is an effective way to make sure you still have time to study or do other activities,” junior Aidan Hubbell said. 

There are numerous resources available for students to buy and download to monitor their daily tasks. Reminder apps, like myHomework Student Planner and My Study Life, as well as paper planners, assist students in making the most use of their time. Adapting a workflow that correlates with game schedules is also a useful strategy. 

“Being a student-athlete is very difficult for numerous reasons,” senior Slade Dollar said. “But a way student-athletes can keep their grades strong is by using a homework app or planner to keep track of their homework assignments and activities. Also by managing your work in coordination with game days, such as doing extra homework the day before a game or at lunch the day of the game, to have the night less stressful.”

By developing these life-long habits, student-athletes can ensure that a proper balance between school performance and exercise has been met, which allows them to enjoy the many benefits that sports have to offer. 

“I love how I am able to bond with my teammates and set new goals to try to reach,” Layton said. “The teams are very supportive and we all encourage each other to do our best.” 

Participating in sports teaches students many other valuable skills that can even be used in life after high school. 

“Sports allow students to learn what it is like to cooperate with their peers, a crucial skill for a work environment,” Layton said. “It also gives them social interaction, something that is much needed in the midst of the pandemic.”

However, in order to fully experience the advantages of playing sports, students need to be responsible with their time. Despite the challenges that players may face, many are turning towards highly effective strategies to ensure high performance in academics and athletics. 

“To perform well in sports and school at the same time, you MUST have very good time management skills,” senior Annie Swords said. “You need to be able to focus and follow a schedule so you are able to complete all your schoolwork, make it to practice on time, and get the correct amount of sleep.”