If you have the right equipment, you can readily meet the definition of somebody who plays sports. To become a student-athlete, however, there are more stringent definitions to consider, and there are certainly more requirements. As a good student-athlete, you must always be aware of the effect of your attitude and behavior; there are many responsibilities that come with representing your school and community, but being a good student-athlete is also a rewarding endeavor.
As a true student-athlete, understanding that you are a student first and that your first priority is to obtain an education is important to your success. Develop good study habits, seek help from tutors and take advantage of study halls. Good student-athletes are well-rounded and understand that the education they receive will last a lifetime while physical ability will eventually fade away. College coaches are constantly looking for athletes who will excel both in their sport and in the classroom.
Participating in athletics means sometimes missing class time. Communicating with your teachers will ensure that you keep up with assignments, know important dates and complete all the required coursework. Teachers are responsible for many students, so reminding them about your other obligations is essential to maintaining a respectful relationship. Hand in all of your assignments by the deadline and don't use road trips or big games as an excuse to dodge doing school work. Time management is key.
Capitalizing on Failure
If you are an incoming college freshman, balancing a sport and your studies can be overwhelming. Successful student-athletes realize that sometimes no matter how much you prepare or care, you may fail. Your first year is a transition period, so you may occasionally get a low grade on a paper or play poorly in a game or match. Make a realistic assessment of your situation and avoid the temptation to be branded as just another "dumb jock." Successful student-athletes have high expectations of themselves.
Coaches love to develop relationships with honest athletes. Honesty is extremely important in sports and in the classroom and goes far beyond being deceitful about practice and study time. Do not skip class because practice is too demanding or skip practice because class is too demanding. Your advisor or counselor will understand that you are balancing school and sports and will help you if you are honest about your situation.
- U.S. News & World Report: 8 Tips for the Student Athlete; Jeremy S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs
- USA Today: Seven Tips to Help Student-Athletes Improve Their Game, Grades and Relationships; Kelly Clayton
- Appalachian State University: Advice for Student Athletes
- Southeastern Louisiana University: Being a Student Athlete is Challenging
- Marietta College: 2012-2013 Student-Athlete Handbook
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