How to Maintain Balance Between Athletics and Academics in College

March 25, 2013 | Davie Carmichael

Must See College Recruiting Videos

The dual roles of an NCAA student-athlete make it a challenge to balance responsibilities for academics and athletics. With equally compelling demands, it can be difficult to prioritize in a way that sustains both without neglecting or short-changing either. The pressures of elite collegiate athletic competition coupled with high academic expectations require student-athletes to construct personal game plans that help them meet the obligations of both disciplines. (Learn the truth about being a college athlete from NFL fullback Michael Robinson.) Developing good organizational habits helps student-athletes execute their game plans, manage their tasks and responsibilities, and be successful in class and on the field.

Apply lessons on the field to lessons in the classroom

When setting up a schedule, it's important to assess strengths and weaknesses. Successful athletes assign more time to improve areas of weakness. The same strategy applies to academic work. By working to cure academic deficiencies and improve skill sets, they can move through troubling tasks more efficiently and allocate time to things in which they excel. Many principles of learning translate from success on the field to success in the classroom. Student-athletes should adopt and implement them in their academic game plans to stay one step ahead. (Learn about academic pitfalls athletes often face.)

Make the most of your support network

NCAA student-athletes have built-in support networks when they get to college—their teammates, coaches and athletic staff as well as faculty advisers. These people hold student-athletes accountable to high standards of performance and help them along the way with encouragement and guidance. It is ultimately the student-athlete's responsibility to make academic advancement a priority; however, coaches are there to supervise and lead you in the right direction. Successful student-athletes maximize their support networks, listen to their coaches and teachers and foster healthy relationships with them. (Learn more about how to use your support network.)

Preparation

Early is on time; on time is late. Following this guideline will impel student-athletes to prepare for each class and practice, and to ensure that they get the most out of each course and training session. Most classes and practices require preparation, and running late only sets you back. Athletes understand the value of physical preparation for the weight room and the practice field. The more time they take to prepare, the more competitive they become. This same principle applies to studying for exams and completing homework assignments.

Communicate absences in advance

To productively manage classes missed during athletic travel, student-athletes should communicate with their teachers in advance. At the beginning of each semester, meet with your teachers and provide them with your  team travel schedule and game dates. As the dates get closer, work with your teachers to determine how you can make up missed classwork and stay on top of your assignments. Traveling for athletics can make it difficult for student-athletes maintain their routines. But you cannot blow off your academic obligations. Take study materials and homework on the road with you.

As part of its mission, the NCAA has a commitment to academics. Student-athletes' successes in the classroom are vital to fulfilling this mission. The NCAA aims to "integrate athletics into the fabric of higher education" and pledges to "help student-athletes achieve their academic goals as well as their athletic goals."

David Carmichael
- David Carmichael is the head coach of the men's STORM soccer program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. A native of Scotland, he earned...
David Carmichael
- David Carmichael is the head coach of the men's STORM soccer program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. A native of Scotland, he earned...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,217,362
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,779,213

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 3,167
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 1: Introducing the Players Views: 20,470
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Intro to Complexes Views: 61,506
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831
How Greg Nixon Converts Strength to Speed
Views: 960,874
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,329,250

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Ways to Trust Your Gut During the College Recruiting Process

I recently saw a piece that discussed the importance of following your strong positive or negative gut reaction ("Heck Yes!/Heck No!") when making key...

College Recruiting FAQ: Early Action vs. Early Decision

5 Things to Know About Football Recruiting

How to Create a Recruiting Video That Coaches Will Watch

The 50 Best Colleges for Athletes

Volleyball Recruiting: Why Hasn't the Coach Called Me?

14-Year-Old Quarterback Verbally Commits to LSU

5 Essential Steps for College Recruits

3 Tips for Writing a Strong College Recruiting Mission Statement

The Best Women's College Basketball Programs

The 50 Best Colleges for Male Athletes

What the New SAT Means for Student-Athletes

Featured STACKlete: Reagan Rogers

What is a Parent's Role in Recruiting?

How a Bad Game Affects Your Recruiting Status

Why You Should Play Small-School Sports

4 Key Steps When Contacting College Coaches

The Best Men's College Basketball Programs

Recruiting: You Need to Score, But Your Coach Won't Let You?

Basketball Recruits: What You Should Do in November

College Recruiting Evaluations: A Different Perspective

3 Ways to Climb the Recruiting Ladder

The 50 Best D-II and D-III Colleges for Athletes

Do Athletes Make Better Students?

Prepare Early for the College Recruiting Process

New NCAA Rules on Junior College Football Recruiting Explained

Tennis Recruiting: Making a Decision

Demystifying the College Athletic Recruiting Process

College Recruiting FAQ: How Does National Signing Day Work?

The 50 Best Colleges for Female Athletes

The Best College Football Programs

7 Bad Behaviors That Will Help You Play College Sports

Why You Should Consider Post-Grad Prep School for Football

College Football Recruits: 5 Strategies to Get Noticed

Combatting the Early Commitment Epidemic in Women

The Best (and Worst) Part of Choosing a School

Basketball Recruiting: It's Never Too Late

Meet the A to Z Basketball Insiders

Volleyball Recruiting: Searching for More Than Talent

STACK Recruiting Guide 2014: Victor Cruz and the 'It' Factor

College Baseball Recruiting: How to Control Your Own Destiny

The Tennis College Recruiting Summer Checklist