All four years of high school, I have been a part of the volleyball varsity. Now, as a senior who has just finished her last ever high school season, I have been able to reflect on my experience as a whole.
Being a high school athlete is hard. Trying to balance grades, social life, and sports is extremely difficult to do. During the season, I remember many stressful late nights with what felt like piles of homework. However, if you learn to properly manage your time during your sports seasons, life will be much easier, allowing you to genuinely enjoy the experience without nearly as much stress.
Use Your Weekends
For most high school athletes, your weekdays are extremely hectic. From school, to practice, to shower, to homework, to sleep. Game days are even more difficult, as trying to find time to do homework on the bus or in the stands can be challenging. This is why using your weekends wisely is extremely important! Though it can be tempting to hang out with friends the entire time, make sure to set aside time to either catch up on school work or work ahead if possible. Remember, the more you get done on the weekend, the less stress you will have throughout the rest of the week!
Have A Schedule
Have a set schedule for after-school and weekends! Write down a rough overview of what you want your day to look like after practice or a game. Do you want to shower right away? Maybe eat dinner first? Planning this out in advance can help you de-stress after school. Make sure to leave a bit of extra wiggle room in case practice runs late or you have a bit of extra homework.
For weekends, do whatever helps you relax the most. That might mean a specific schedule for each day of the weekend, or maybe making a general to-do list is more your speed. Whatever helps you stay productive but also gives you time to relax and enjoy your weekend should work!
Work Ahead When Possible
If you have any extra time, use it. Whether this means your teacher letting you complete homework during class or practice ending early, make sure to efficiently use any extra time you are given. It's simple: if you can get ahead of your school work, you will have more time to relax or spend with friends.
It is especially important to work ahead if you know you have a big week ahead of you. Maybe a game far away or long practices will give you less time to work on your assignments. If you work ahead now, your future self will thank you.
Use Your Free Periods/Lunch Periods
If your school offers free periods or your teachers are available for help during lunch, make sure to use them. Asking for help in advance is super helpful, as it is much better to correct any confusions you may have now than realise them late at night while doing homework.
Also, teachers always appreciate seeing students come in for extra help. It shows dedication to their class and can help you form a stronger relationship with them. And, if it helps your understanding, getting future work done for the course will be even easier!
Prioritize Important Assignments
While starting your homework after practice, it can be tempting to start with the easiest or most fun assignments. However, getting those hard and maybe stressful ones out of the way is definitely the best thing to do. If you start with the easier assignments, by the time you get to those harder ones you will likely be too tired to put in the full effort they require. On the other hand, if you start with the harder assignments, you have those easier ones to look forward to.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting plenty of sleep is extremely important during your sports season! Staying well rested will help you be more attentive during school and perform better in your activities. Although it may be tempting to stay up watching Netflix or working on that last-minute assignment, understand that a good amount of sleep is not just advantageous, but necessary.
Find Time For Other Things
To avoid burnout, try your best to find time for your other passions. Whether that be reading, spending time with family, or going on a relaxing walk, it is important not to abandon all the things you love just because you are busy. Though it will be hard to make time for these things, still put some effort into it.
If all you focus on is school and practice, you risk burning out on both your sport and your academics, which can make focusing and performing well much more challenging.
Remember to Enjoy Your Season
Though there will be inevitable moments of stress, it's important to remember to enjoy your season, whether it be because you love the game itself, you love your team, or something else entirely. The more reasons you find to enjoy your sport, the easier making sacrifices for it will be.
Try not to allow outside stressors like school to affect you during practices and games. Leave that time to have fun, work hard, and forget about school. If you have solid time management, there's no reason to stress, which will make your season that much more enjoyable.
Overall, if you learn how to properly manage your time and not overwhelm yourself, life will be much less stressful for you as a student athlete. Using these tips will hopefully make this season the best one yet!