Balancing the Life of a Student-Athlete – The Daily Utah Chronicle
My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I’m having trouble finding my phone as it keeps ringing, wanting to press that snooze button for the extra nine minutes.
My body is sore and tired, but it’s part of the job, the “grind” as athletes call it.
Six days a week of training, training, team building, rehabilitation, travel, competitions, weekly meetings and, on top of all that, school. The schedule is the same every day which can be tiring as there isn’t a lot of variety. We normally see the same buildings and people, and have an idea of what to expect from those around us. When you devote hours to it, it may seem that there isn’t much time for other activities.
This raises questions like, how do you balance athleticism, school and maintaining a social life? How can you find out who you are outside of athletics, which has played a big part in the life of every athlete? How can an athlete get involved in the community and find other outlets? How can an athlete find joy in their sport when nothing seems to be working, whether it is a lack of playing time or an injury?
These are some questions that I think about in order to try to become more than a student-athlete.
Student-athletes are good in chaos. They must be good. There is no other choice but to find a way to be successful and give yourself and your team the best chance for success. Athletes are taught to never show weakness, otherwise their opponent will notice and use it against them. Your opponents sense your weakness; you don’t want to show those around you that you have one.
Not only are you competitive, but you need to find ways to deal with the pressures of competition and weekly practice while still maintaining a certain grade point average. Depending on your specialty, this can be stressful.
Another situation arises when an athlete is injured. When there is otherwise constant movement, how do athletes deal with the time when they are injured, when something unexpected happens? Athletes also face the pressure of trying to be part of the starting lineup for competition while remaining healthy. What about the thoughts that arise when an athlete is not performing as he should or expects him to be? These are just a few of the common situations most student-athletes face. Of course, there are also the situations that life throws at you just because you are human.
Athletes have to adapt and find a way to keep going. But when and where is the limit?
This is when mental health kicks in and becomes a vital role in the life of an athlete. The stigma is starting to break down among athletes as more athletes and universities talk about mental health. Athletes then have the opportunity to learn more about mental health and the struggles they face – finding ways to deal with all the stress and pressures that come with being a student-athlete as well. than a human being.
In the face of these pressures and expectations, what habits or exercises can athletes use productively to develop healthy habits, rather than to numb frustration, overwhelming feelings and anxiety?
Many athletes have to find ways to compartmentalize their lives in order to find balance. Some do this by spending time with friends outside of athletics or by participating in activities that have nothing to do with athletics. Some athletes get involved in the resources offered by the sports department, where athletes from all sports come together and discuss social issues or ways to improve the athletics program. Some athletes get involved in religious or spiritual gatherings or services. Others talk to a sports psychologist to set healthy goals. It can be like meditating every day or trying to write down daily goals.
When athletes are in season, the balance becomes more out of balance. It consists of the pressures of competition, travel and schoolwork. Athletes need to find time to devote to other hobbies that are unrelated to sports or school.
Most universities have resources available to student-athletes and have a support system in place for athletes to understand their mental health and ultimately perform better.