A Journey With NHS Student Athletes
Many high school student athletes experience extreme difficulty managing their workload along with their practices and game schedule. Some of these students also cram other things into their schedules like a job and school clubs and activities. These athletes often experience stress during their sport’s season. Some student athletes learn to manage their time on their own while others need guidance to get through their sports’ season in order to achieve success in all areas.
Student athletes are extremely busy and they need help to balance their chaotic schedules. Kelsey Mitchell, an author for Swimming World Magazine, provides seven helpful tips for successful time management of student athletes. Those include: prioritize practice, use a planner, complete assignments in chronological order, study in advance, avoid procrastination, do not take on too many responsibilities, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Mitchell has seen first hand the results of these skills and shares them to help other struggling student athletes.
At Nutley High School, varsity athletes, Courtney Wilde and Anthony DePersio share their experiences regarding their lives as student athletes. Anthony, a junior at NHS, runs track in the winter and spring seasons. He has run varsity since his freshman year and plans to continue to do so the remainder of his high school career. Anthony expresses, “I see myself as a leader, for sure.” As an upperclassman, he feels as though he is a role model to the younger athletes on the team and he hopes to set a prime example for them. Anthony also admits, “I’ve never put sports before school, and have maintained high A’s and minimal B’s during my season.” Anthony now believes that he has mastered his time management skills. “I can balance sports and school work/studying easily,” Anthony explained.
Courtney, a senior at NHS, has been a varsity player for both basketball and softball all four years of high school. Like Anthony, she sees herself as a leader. She said, “I want to be a good role model to the younger girls. I want to help them with whatever they need, so we can win.”
Courtney was captain her junior and senior year for both basketball and softball, so her leadership role suits her. She has had ups and downs with her managing skills since her freshman year, but has definitely seen improvement. She believes softball season is a little more stressful regarding managing her time. Courtney explains, “Softball can be difficult sometimes because we take a trip to Florida for a week and I play travel softball which requires me missing a lot of school in the fall and the beginning of the summer.” Courtney does the best she can to maintain her averages in school while constantly playing a sport. She states, “I do get stressed, but I learned to handle it. It is usually over school because no matter how good you are, you can’t play with bad grades.” A lot of her stress has been lifted, though, because she is now committed to Rutgers to continue her academic and softball careers.
Ms. Paino, a NHS counselor, has been a direct advisor to some of these stressed-out high school student athletes. She suggests, “Try and set the same time everyday right before or after practice to work on assignments. That way you have a routine during the school week.”
Paino helps student athletes get back on track while falling behind due to their sports schedule. She is aware of all of the stress students receive, but her goal is to help them in any way possible. Hard work is required, but she believes in her students. Paino explains, “They feel overwhelmed. They have demanding sports schedules.” She advises students to try their best to stay on track, but if they are having difficulties she is always here to help.
Student athletes may suffer from time management and stress due to their crazy schedules, but in the end seeing their hard work pay off is a feeling they will can’t recreate. DePersio expresses, “When I was awarded my varsity letter my freshman year, I felt a feeling I had never felt before. It was an accomplishment I didn’t expect, and I knew I would put in 100% of my energy into getting better from that point forward.”
Sports give athletes their life long friends who make this struggle of time management easier for them. These people encourage them to do better and ask for help so they can maintain their grades and continue to play the sport they love.