Q: How can I find a balance between earning a scholarship and spending time with friends and family?
A: Having the goal of playing sports on the collegiate level comes with great sacrifice.
It won’t be easy, it’s a time-consuming process and you will have to devote a lot of energy to improve and play on the next level. And once you’re a collegiate athlete, you will still have to find a balance and ultimately sacrifice certain time with family and friends because of travel, practice and academic time requirements.
Some people in your life may not understand these sacrifices. You will likely have to miss social events, activities and general “hang out” time with family and friends in order to get to where you are trying to go. You will have those close to you pressing you for more attention and time, and sometimes you’ll have to choose between your goals and spending time with your loved ones—there is no way around.
But – you can find a balance if you learn time management!
When you make time for family and friends, give them your undivided attention. Don’t be on your phone or texting. Put the technology away and enjoy the time you have together. Most likely, they will enjoy less QUALITY time together over time you spend distracted by technology or interrupts, learn to be present while you’re in the same room with loved ones and give them your undivided attention.
WAYS TO IMPROVE TIME MANAGEMENT:
#1 – Chase greatness and everything else will come – Too many players are too focused on getting all of the media attention, chasing girls, chasing money and they never develop into great players. Athletes who chase all of the rewards before they chase championships end up empty-handed.
#2 – The hardest part about being in a relationship while juggling school and sports is dealing with someone who brings DRAMA to your life! A non-drama, healthy relationship won’t hold you back from anything, be sure put quality effort into the time you spend with your significant other.
#3 – A majority of problems players run into are self-inflicted. Sure, there are problems you can’t help (injuries, family situations) but there are too many other factors that you CAN control. Be real with yourself and eliminate all of the distractions that you can eliminate. If you want success, keep successful people in your circle.
#4 – Be where you are – If you are with your girlfriend, boyfriend or parents, don’t be texting, taking calls or playing video games. Spend quality time with them. Your friends and family will appreciate 100% of your attention in shorter periods of time than if you are constantly distracted or interrupted.
#5 – Just do what is asked of you the first time. I watch players (usually freshmen) go in circles all day, trying to get out of extra punishments and trouble they’ve gotten themselves into, problems they could have avoided by just doing what was asked of them in the first place. Go to class. Go to study hall. Be at practice on time. Be everywhere 5 minutes early and you won’t have to worry about detention, punishment workouts or suspensions.
#6 – TV/Internet–Pretend that you are on a diet, you can only have a bite of that cake but you can’t eat the whole thing. Don’t get sucked into the couch, computer or TV for more than 15 or 20 minutes if you have a big to-do list.
#7 – Quit talking about how much you have to do and how you’ll never possibly get it done and just do it. Put your phone on silent, don’t log on the internet, shut your door, go to the library, find a hiding place where you can get your work done and it will eliminate some of the pressure you are feeling.
#8 – Get up an hour early – Need extra studying or conditioning, get up at 6am and do it. You are much less likely to get distracted by others and as a bonus – it builds mental toughness.
#9 – Are you doing too much? Are you involved in too many sports, clubs, family issues, friend issues, etc. You have to focus on the few things that are really important to you and may have to give up some of the extra distractions that aren’t helping you get to where you want to go.
#10 – Set a study schedule – Set normal study hours during the week to give yourself time to finish work, and possibly get ahead. Make your setting distraction-free: no phone, tv, internet, friends. You can buckle down and get more work done in an hour or two than if you worked on a homework assignment all night surrounded by distractions.
#11 – Prioritize what is important to you. School, sports, family, friends… Write down your list of a few priorities and focus on the top things that you must have. Everything else, slowly eliminate. If it doesn’t help you improve in those areas, drop it.
#12 – Put down the video game controller – save it for the weekend or offseason. Hours, days, weekends are wasted this way!
#13 – Get sleep when you can – sneak in naps during the day and try to go to bed early. Sleep will help you make fewer mistakes at practice and in games and puts you in a better mood. When you are tired you are cranky and get frustrated and forgetful. It’s hard to do everything that is asked and expected of you if you are exhausted. Sneak in naps whenever you can.
#14 – Successful college and pro coaches are some of the most efficient people on the planet. They don’t waste a minute. They go from a player meeting to recruit call to film session to scheduling games for next season to planning their travel schedule to checking on their child to a budget meeting with the Athletic Director to a radio phone interview to practice without daydreaming for a minute. It takes that kind of efficiency and focus to become successful on a high level. Are there things you can eliminate from your daily schedule that can cut 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour? It all adds up very quickly!