The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

Student-athletes have the demanding role of balancing academic and athletic pursuits while doing well in both the classroom and on the field of play. Unlike the average student, student-athletes have a rigorous schedule that requires planning, discipline and sacrifice. Having good time management skills enables them to balance academics, athletics and have a social life as well.

For the student-athlete, being organized is essential to managing time wisely. To do this, you need a planner or calendar to organize when your academic assignments are due and plan ahead of time. Every month, pencil in all your tests, paper assignments, competition dates, travel dates etc., this allows you to foresee if there are any conflicts or busy weeks in order to get ahead and ease the workload. Make notes of any changes in your calendar and adjust accordingly.

It is also important to have a daily schedule. Within your daily schedule, plan when you have classes, practices or important appointments. This allows you be able to plan when you can do homework, study and prepare for upcoming classes or assignments. Your goal should be to stay ahead in every class and be on time to all meetings and appointments.

Have a quiet and relaxing place to do your homework. Whether it is at the library, your room or the study hall, minimizing distractions will allow you to accomplish more and reduce stress. Getting into a routine of doing homework at the same time and place creates good habits.  At the end of every night, create a to-do list and prioritize according to importance for your next day’s schedule.

Key suggestions:

  • Always keep an academic and sport calendar with key dates and deadlines clearly marked.
  • Make a “To Do” list and constantly refer to it to make sure you are on task.
  • Set one day per week to do your time-consuming errands and chores.
  • Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep so you can be focused the next day.
  • Avoid procrastination – finish your tasks and handle your responsibilities today.

Student-athletes should also look into other services provided to them at their academic institutions; academic advising, priority registration, tutoring services and development programs are there to help you succeed. To be a successful student-athlete you have to have time management skills, discipline and an understanding you are not a regular student. Having superior time management skills ultimately reduces stress and sets you up to excel both in the classroom and on the field.

References Available from the SIRC Collection

1. Fischer K. The effects of learned time management skills on the academic and sport identities of NCAA Division III women student-volleyball athletes. 1994;

2. Guerra K. Notre Dame, Texas A&M student-athletes balance basketball and academics. NCAA News. April 5, 2011;:5.

3. Isenberg M, Rhoads R. Manage your time. In Isenberg, M. (ed.), The student-athlete survival guide, Camden, Me., Ragged Mountain Press, 2000, p.42-46 [e-book]. ;: 2000:

4. Kartschoke C. The difference between participation in intercollegiate athletics and academic performance based on time use. 1996;

5. ROTHSCHILD-CHECROUNE E, GRAVELLE F, DAWSON D, KARLIS G. BALANCING ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC TIME MANAGEMENT: A QUALITATIVE EXPLORATION OF HRST YEAR STUDENT ATHLETES’ UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL EXPERIENCES. Society & Leisure / Loisir & Société. Fall2012 2012;35(2):243-261.

6. Whitfield D. Attitudes of Olympic sport student-athletes and coaches toward NCAA restrictions on practice time-in season. 1996;