Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ask An Athlete #4: Balancing School and Football

     The fourth segment of Ask An Athlete is finally here!  Laura Weiss, student at Texas Tech University, comes to me with this question... "how do you (and have) balance school and football? What are your secrets to be successful in both? My nephew is a freshman at a large university in the Big 12. I'd like to be able to give him some pointers on how to balance his academics, and involvement in the baseball team."  Great question Laura.

     Being a student-athlete is becoming more and more like a full time job in these days.  You get paid (through scholarship) and are expected to perform both on the field and in the class room.  You also have more responsibility and are held to higher expectations than regular students.  Regardless of sport, being a student-athlete is a year round commitment   Some people are surprised when I tell them that we have spring football and have to workout during the summer.  I guess some people actually think we just show up for football for two a days and are done at the end of the season.  We are always doing something... football season in the fall, into off-season and spring football, then into summer workouts, and the cycle continues.  We get Christmas break depending on the bowl game and May break when school is out, but other than that we are preparing for another season!  I'm sure other sports are the same way.  The reason I can balance my school and football is simply hard work and time management.  My parents were always strict on me about school and sports, so they taught me early on to manage my time and be great at both.  My mom was also a teacher at my high school, so I had no choice but to keep my grades high!  So I guess I have it ingrained into me a little bit.  But, I have taken that with me into college.  The main factor to success in the classroom is effort.  You have to discipline yourself to go to class, be active in discussions, meet the teacher, study, and work just as hard in the classroom as you do on the field.  This is sometimes hard with the time constraints we have and being physically and mentally tired from football.  This is why we have more support than most students.  Student-athletes have a lot of resources they can use such as advisors, tutors, and athlete academic centers.  So if I could give your nephew a few pointers, I would tell him to work hard and take control of his academics.  Don't expect the advisors of thousands of kids make the best decision for you.  I have heard and seen too many students say the advisor messed up and made them take a class they didn't need.  Well you should know what classes you need to graduate.  So research what you want to do, take control of your schedule/plan, and keep focused.  Then just keep up with your studies and don't let it fall behind.  Manage your time and please get your degree!

     In order to get an idea of the time constraints on a Student-Athlete I collected some data on my time spent during the New Mexico game week.  I kept track of all the time spent doing football, class, homework, leisure, and other activities each day out of the entire 24 hours.  "Mandatory Football" includes the NCAA regulated 20 hours of mandatory practice, meetings, and weight room workouts.  I kept track of the duration of these activities and recorded the data.  "Voluntary Football" is the time spent by myself doing extras like watching film, treatment, being in the locker-room (ping pong Lol), and eating at the dining hall.  Basically I started the timer when I parked at the football facility and stopped it when I left the dining hall (we eat right after practice) and then subtracted the mandatory time.  Our coaches and staff do a great job of keeping time within the NCAA regulations.  But as competitive players being from a Big 12 program and wanting to excel on the field, we know we need to put in extra time on our own in order to be great.  "Class" is time spent up at the school in class.  I am currently a grad school student with only 6 hours of classroom time and taking a 3 hour self study course.  Therefore my classroom time will probably be less than most student-athletes, but with more time spent doing homework.  "Homework" and "leisure" are self explanatory.  "Other" is anything like church, eating, chores, or traveling time.  Here are my findings...Enjoy:

Charts made with Microsoft Excel:

-Student of the Game


Unknown said...

Isn't it crazy how much of our lives are spent asleep when you put it in a graph format?

Very interested to see that you still get a good night's sleep with how busy you are. Is this preached by the training staff? I'm sure it is much needed with the physical toll you guys put your body through. I've seen a lot more discussion lately on sleep and the ability for the athlete to "recharge" and "rebound" quicker with increased sleep. We know it refreshes the brain, so why not the entire body!?

Thanks for your time at Tech, Cody. - Kris

Cody Davis said...

Thanks for your comment Kris. Yeah I still manage to average about 8 hours of sleep per day, but sometimes it feels like that is not enough lol. But yeah I thought it was interesting to find out that we do as much football as we get sleep.

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