As an elite athlete it can often be difficult to balance
school or study commitments with training and travel demands.
Struggling with this balance can impact your success at both
training and school or university whilst it can also cause stress or leave you
feeling unmotivated. Here are eight tips which will hopefully help you when it
comes to balancing your training and study.
Be Organised and Speak Up
At the beginning of the semester or school term it is
important to go through and mark down all of your upcoming assessments. This
will give you a view of how they match up with your training and travel
commitments and whether there are things which coincide. If you do identify any
potential issues be sure to speak to your teachers and unit/year coordinators
to let them know. As the assessment of concern draws closer you can then make a
decision on whether you will need extra time, hence applying for an assessment
extension, or whether you’ll submit your assessment early. If you’re at
university, many Australian universities have elite athlete personnel who are
employed to assist you in areas like this. It’s a good idea to sit down with
them at the beginning of the semester with your training and assessment
schedule so that they are aware and can help you further down the track.
Whilst it’s important to speak to the relevant people at
your school or university, it is also good policy to speak to your coach and
make them aware of when your assessments are due. By doing this they know when
your study loads will increase and can therefore help you when it comes to
Maximise your Study Time
As an elite athlete it can often be difficult to find
extended periods of time to sit down and work on assignments, especially when
you have other classes and perhaps work to think about. Therefore, you need to
find a way in which to maximize the time you do have for study. This can often
take a bit of trial and error, however when you find a plan that works best for
you, achieving a training-study balance will be that much easier.
A couple of ideas to point you in the right direction:
- Find out where you work best. Maybe that’s in
your local library or a particular area of your house?
- Workout what is most effective for you when it
comes to completing an assignment. Is it sitting down and completing it in one
or two big blocks of time or completing it gradually over a couple of weeks?
Keep your Peers Informed
Keeping your peers informed becomes a crucial area when you
are completing group assignments. If you have training or travel commitments
which may be potential issues to your attendance at group meetings or meeting
deadlines, make sure you convey this to your group members; explain your
situation and what you’ll do to minimise any potential problems.
Know your Limits
As an athlete you are expected to turn up to every training
session with enough energy to complete it to a high standard from start to
finish. With this in mind, it’s important that you are able to listen to your
body and identify when you have bitten off more than you can chew. If you find
yourself tired before training even starts, or in a position where you are
highly stressed, you may have taken on too much, whether that be too many
shifts at work or too many subjects at university. Rest is one of the most
important forms of recovery for an athlete in order to ensure maximum
performance, so if you find you have no time to relax, you may need to
reconsider what you have taken on.
Speak Up when you’re Stressed
There’s nothing worse than when you feel so stressed you
have no idea what to do! This often results in doing nothing at all! If you
find yourself in this position or if you think you might be spiralling into the
deep depths of stress city, make sure you speak to someone. By speaking to
someone it will allow you to express what is concerning you which will in
itself immediately make you feel better. On top of this, depending on who you
talk to, they may be able to help you create a plan moving forward or simply
put things into perspective, helping you realise that a hurdle may not be as
big as you think it is?
Do not Compromise on Sleep and Nutrition
Sleep and nutrition are two vital aspects of your recovery
as an athlete. Because of this it is important that you don’t compromise on either
when attempting to balance training and study. To ensure you’re getting enough
sleep you could consider building a study plan. This will help you get your
study done whilst still ensuring you are getting to bed at the right time in
order to be at your peak for training the next day. When it comes to nutrition,
it is important that you are organised. This could be preparing your lunch and
snacks to take to school or university the next day so that you’re not left having
to purchase something from the school canteen or a café at uni, which most
likely, will not meet your nutritional needs adequately. Your WAIS
nutritionists are a wealth of knowledge and have lots of information and
assistance for you when it comes to this aspect of your nutrition.
Use the WAIS Personal Excellence Staff
Just like the elite athlete personnel at universities who
can help you when it comes to issues which arise around university and
training, the WAIS personal excellence staff provide similar services to all
WAIS athletes. If you have any queries or issues around balancing your training
or study make sure you find time to meet with your WAIS Personal Excellence
Have a Plan
Once you’ve finished studying it is important to have
something outside of your sport to go to, as an outlet, whether that be work or
a hobby, etc. When working out what you want to do alongside your sport it’s
important to sit down and identify what it is that you want to focus on as this
will determine where you should or want to invest the majority of your time.