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Time Management skills are key

October 18, 2023

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The importance of developing time management skills before becoming a collegiate athlete is a must. Student-athletes need to go into college with a realistic idea of the time commitments required of them and be armed with some applicable time management skills. College athletes work nearly the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

To get a better understanding of the time commitments required of NCAA student-athletes, the NCAA conducted a survey of 21,233 college athletes at Division I, Division II, and Division III levels. Specifically, here’s how much time they reportedly spent on athletics per week during their season:

  • Division I: 36.6 hours a week on average
  • Division II: 33 hours a week on average
  • Division III: 29.5 hours a week on average

This is a significant chunk of time! While the off-season can be a great time to catch up, two-thirds of Division I student-athletes reported that they spent as much or more time on athletics during the off-season as during the competitive season. Subsequently, athletes explained that their time is taken up by the following activities:

  • Competition
  • Practice
  • Supplemental workouts
  • Strength training
  • Film review
  • Academic meetings
  • Injury treatment and prevention
  • Sports psychologist sessions
  • Nutritionist sessions
  • Prospective student-athlete host duties
  • Team fundraising
  • Media activities
  • Community services
  • Compliance meetings

If this seems like a lot to do, don’t forget to layer on academics. The NCAA survey asked student-athletes how much time they spend on academics each week:

  • Division I: 38.5 hours a week on average
  • Division II: 38.5 hours a week on average
  • Division III: 40.5 hours a week on average

Looking at the numbers, it may seem like an impossible task to balance athletics, academics, and any other activity you may want to participate in. But remember: Athletes have made it work for years, and a lot of it comes down to better time management.

  • Develop good habits while you’re in high school. Learn solid studying, writing and reading habits. What gets you by in high school with an A or a B may not exactly pull those marks in college.
  • Schedule your classes to account for when you’ll be traveling for your sport. Typically, athletes can choose their classes before everyone else, so try and manipulate your schedule to concentrate on days that you will not be traveling with the team. Make a point to take ownership of your schedule, it is not easy but you will have to balance classes, travel, practices, games and social life.
  • Use your downtime wisely—even when you’re on the bus or at a hotel. Bus rides can be a good opportunity to study. Some athletes find time to study and do homework while at the hotel during downtime. Find what works for you and stick with it.
  • Create your own deadlines for assignments. At the start of each semester, you’ll receive a syllabus from each of your professors. Look at those dates compared to your athletic schedule and plan to get work done ahead of time if you know you’ll be gone.
  • Treat your school day like a 9-5 job. A simple trick: Study in between classes.
  • Ask for help. Transitioning from high school to college will come with a steep learning curve, and it’s OK to ask for help from tutors, go to study halls and find the resources you need.
  • Prioritize your tasks based on what is most urgent and most important. If you have a dozen tasks to accomplish, chances are, you don’t need to finish all of them right now. Organize your tasks by how urgent and important they are. The tasks that are most urgent and important should be completed first, leaving the lesser important tasks for later.
  • Write everything down in a planner. Writing things down serves two important purposes: It reminds you of tasks you may have otherwise forgotten and the act of writing it down impresses it deeper in your memory. It’s also helpful to have all of your tasks in one place for a quick, easy reference point if you need it.
  • Leave buffer time in between difficult tasks. As you’re planning out your day, remember that it’s impossible to go from one task to the next all-day long. At some point, you’re going to need a break. Account for the time you’ll need to stand up, stretch and even get a snack.

Lastly, remember your primary job is as a student first. Use all the tools listed above. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are here to help, reach out to one of us anytime.

Start your journey today.

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