Finding the Balance Between Sports and Academics

A master of all trades, Dr Sandeep Sahasrabudhe, from investment consultant to professor, has seen it all. In an exclusive interview with Team DAP, he talks about the intersection of sports and academics in a disciplined life.
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By Khushi Mohunta

School versus Sports: Where is a Child’s Heart Really Stuck?

The demands of school and sports can be challenging for students to balance, as both require a significant amount of time, energy and dedication. However, with proper planning and organization, students can excel in both areas. Participating in sports can help students develop critical life skills, such as teamwork, leadership, and discipline and provide opportunities for physical activity and socialization. The physical benefits of playing sports are countless for students. Sports play a vital role in leading a happy and healthy life. At the same time, maintaining high grades and performing well academically are crucial for students’ long-term success. However, finding a way to balance the demands of both can pose a challenge for many students. Success is then an integrated approach, a mutual effort, but a lock with many keys that can only be unlocked by the proper integration of those keys of virtue.

The first key to success is Time Management. Students who can manage their time effectively are more likely to be successful in both sports and academics. This means setting aside dedicated time for studying and completing assignments, as well as for practising and competing in sports. It also means being strategic about investing and not spending time, such as completing homework during study hall or downtime between sports practices. There is a vast difference between “spending” and “investing” even though we tend to use them interchangeably. You invest to reap something from the investment, while you spend to gain momentary pleasure.

The second key to balancing sports and academics is to Make the Most of Your Available Time. This may involve studying on the go, such as during car rides or on the way to and from practices or games.

The third golden key is Communication. Students should communicate with their teachers, coaches, and parents about their schedules and commitments, and ask for support and understanding when conflicts arise. It can help ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal.

Let your coaches and teachers know about your commitments, and be upfront about any conflicts you may have. They may be able to provide you with additional support or accommodations to help you manage your time more effectively. For example, if you have a test on the same day as a big game, your coach may be able to adjust your practice schedule. This will give you more time to focus on your studies. It is also imperative to communicate with your coaches and teachers about your commitments and to let them know if you are feeling overwhelmed. They may be able to provide you with additional support or accommodations to help you manage your time more effectively.

Strategies that Students can use to Balance Sports and Academics

  1. Prioritize: Students need to understand that they cannot do everything. They need to prioritize their responsibilities and commitments and make decisions about how to allocate their time and energy.
  2. Seek help: Students should not be afraid to ask for help when needed. This can include seeking extra tutoring or study help, or asking a coach or mentor for guidance. Surround yourself with people who can provide encouragement, motivation, and guidance as you navigate the challenges of balancing sports and academics. For instance, if you have a hefty workload for one week, your coach may be able to adjust your practice schedule to give you more time to focus on your studies. It can also be helpful to join a study group or to seek out a tutor or mentor. This will help one stay on track and provide additional support and guidance.
  3. Stay organized: Keeping track of assignments, practices, and competitions can be overwhelming. Students should use tools like calendars, to-do lists, and a planner to stay organized and on top of their responsibilities. Use a planner or calendar to track your commitments and deadlines, and break larger assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks. It can also be helpful to set goals for each day or week and to reward yourself for achieving those goals. For example, you might set a goal to complete all of your homework for the week by Saturday afternoon. Then, you might treat yourself to a movie or dinner out with friends as a reward.
  4. Plan over the weekend: As the old age saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Thus, you must plan your entire week with all the time allotment and task scheduling over the weekend and in this way, you will be free from planning over the weekdays and focus more on the tasks.
  5. Make full use of the weekend: The weekend is ripe for completing a lot of tasks and preparing for the following week. Finish your homework, read new chapters, take notes, and prepare for any upcoming exams. If there isn’t much homework or exams ahead, you could use the week a bit differently. This could include revising and taking notes during the week and continuing sports practice over the weekend.
  6. Stay in the game by being up-to-date: Always remain informed about any upcoming homework, projects, exams, and sports practices. Ask your peers and teachers if you have missed anything and stay up-to-date. In that way, you will be aware of everything and can plan accordingly.
  7. Clear tasks immediately: Imagine having finished your homework and having nothing else left to do and the feeling of joy of having finished it. For those of you who want to achieve that goal, the right advice would be to not procrastinate and complete your tasks as and when they arise. This is so that they do not become a burden at a time when you are in the midst of another task.
  8. Take Breaks: Students need to take breaks and recharge. This can include finding time to relax, socialize with friends, or engage in hobbies and interests outside of sports and academics.
  9. Stay Positive: Balancing sports and academics can be stressful at times. Students need to stay positive and maintain a healthy perspective. This can include setting achievable goals, celebrating minor victories, and seeking support when needed.

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Ultimately, the key to balancing sports and academics is to find a balance that works for the individual student. This may mean making compromises or adjustments, but with careful planning and a positive attitude, students can excel in both areas.

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