There is a popular point of view that believes that sports should not hold nearly the importance as academics. I believe that sports and academics are not only equally important, but can be mutually beneficial with what can be accomplished by those who participate equally in both fields. Participation and success in sports can, if applied properly, benefit classroom performance, just as classroom performance can benefit an athlete’s performance while competing. I know that getting good grades is not at the top of most athletes’ priority lists. However, there are several practical reasons, both academic and non-academic, to put schoolwork near the top of your list of things to do. It has been my experience, as someone who has prioritized thriving not only athletically but also academically, that a combination of athletic excellence and high performance in the classroom is a powerful recipe for success in any sport from high school and beyond.
One reason to prioritize your studies is the way doing so allows you to portray yourself to others. In high school and college sports, any respectable coach looks for players who have the intelligence to understand plays and schemes and will, therefore, make sound decisions when it comes time to compete. When making decisions about playing time, especially when the game is on the line, a coach is going to play the athletes that he believes in the most. If you demonstrate exceptional performance in the classroom, your coach will know that you are someone who is not only reliable, but strives to excel no matter what the task at hand or the situation. Simply put, a coach will give the most playing time to the players he trusts the most.
I maintained a high grade point average throughout high school and by my senior year of high school, I was on the All-Ontario academic team. During my college career I was awarded Scholar Athlete honors every year. I had dreams that I knew required my focus and dedication and my goal was to do well at whatever challenge or task I was given. I believe that simply being someone who strived to prioritize the right things made me a better student as well as a better athlete and teammate.
In college, not only is a high GPA desirable, it can mean the difference between getting recruited and not getting recruited. Even getting into a university requires a high GPA, SAT score, or a combination of both, with coaches preferring to recruit players who are not only talented, but also top-notch academically. College teams generally have a minimum team GPA that they must maintain to avoid being penalized by the NCAA.
Trying to keep a consistent schedule for your studies can go a long ways in determining your success. During the season, it is undoubtedly more difficult to maintain a schedule, so I would suggest even writing your schedule down, taking into account practices, games, assignments, and test dates. This will not only serve as a helpful reminder, but it will also make you more conscious of what you need to do just from the simple act of writing it down.
Studying and an eagerness to learn are some of the key ingredients to success, both in and out of competition. If you make a habit of excellence in school, this will likely carry over to any sport you compete in. If you are teachable that usually translates to being coachable, which is a desirable quality if you plan on getting in the game. Striving to have a healthy balance of study and sport will open more doors and help you achieve more at both ventures as a well-rounded life is the most likely path to great accomplishments.
NCAA Eligibility Reference Guide
High school sports and academics go hand in hand