As a coach, you want your team to become the best version of themselves, in and out of sports. But with everything they have to balance—going to classes, doing homework, attending practices and games, having fun with friends, and taking care of themselves—being a student-athlete is a full-time job.
That’s why learning how to manage school, sports, and a social life is essential—which is where your coaching expertise comes into play.
Game One has the eight best time management tips to share with your team. As with anything, it’s a skill that requires practice and discipline to master. And learning at a young age will benefit your athletes, personally and professionally, for the rest of their lives.
Determine Top Priorities
Prioritization helps student-athletes manage their never-ending to-do lists. Ask your team to write down academic, athletic, and personal responsibilities, ranking them in order of importance. Working on the top items first ensures they won’t waste time on things that don’t matter (as much). Academics and athletics, especially in season, should come first.
Master the Schedule
A calendar keeps student-athletes organized (parents and coaches, too). During the school year, have your team put practices and games on their phone’s calendar, in addition to homework assignments and personal obligations. Seeing these dates and deadlines will help them create a schedule that balances academics, athletics, and other activities.
But note that this strategy only works if they stick to it. That means when homework is on the schedule, they need to study. Making academics as important as athletics increases the odds of getting good grades and remaining eligible.
Find a Study Buddy
An accountability partner makes procrastinating harder and keeps student-athletes up to date with their classwork and other projects. Encourage teammates to partner up and study with each other, as they likely share similar schedules and understand the challenges of being a student-athlete.
Complete Homework in Chronological Order
Avoid assignment buildup and stay on top of homework by completing projects chronologically. This tactic makes it less likely for your student-athletes to turn in late assignments, leaving more time for relaxing and other activities. It will also help your team to maintain their sleep schedule without negatively impacting academics and athletics.
Make Use of Travel Time
Utilize travel time to games by having your student-athletes work on assignments or review notes and flashcards for an upcoming test. If your team doesn’t want to give up time socializing, suggest a 50/50 approach.
Don’t Over Commit
Balancing a job, internship, or other activities with athletics and academics is difficult. Before joining other groups, ask your student-athletes to get a feel for their course load and practice schedule to avoid over-committing.
You can help your team with leadership and volunteer opportunities in their chosen sport, which is a valuable experience for college applications. Additionally, they can use summer break for internships and jobs.
Maintain Healthy Habits
Committing to a healthy meal and sleep schedule is integral to time management, contributing to academic and athletic results. Ask your student-athletes to maintain a consistent weekly schedule to feel well-rested and energetic. They will perform better in all areas—including academics and athletics—if they care for themselves.
Despite everyone’s best intentions, life happens. So, teach your team that it’s okay if their daily schedule doesn’t always go according to plan. Being flexible and sticking to their schedule 80% of the time puts them ahead of most in balancing school and sports.
Between classes, homework, practices, games, and a social life, it’s challenging for student-athletes to fit everything in. Cultivating positive time management skills will help your team enjoy being student-athletes more while increasing performance in the classroom and competition. All while developing essential skills to help them win at life.
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