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October 8, 2021

4 Tips on Time Management for College Athletes

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“Downtime” is a rare concept for college athletes. In-season athletes have very little time between classes, lifts, and practice. Racing from class to class, taking meals on the go, and finishing school work after practice can get overwhelming.

It is not uncommon for college athletes to be out and about from the time you wake up to the time you crash on your bed at night. This is why, for a student-athlete, balancing your sport, school, and social life is so important. 

Related: 5 Tips to Navigate Life As a College Athlete

Many of us start to practice time management in high school, with multiple sports, classes, and homework, but it becomes much more challenging in college. In college, you have a lot more freedom and flexibility throughout your days, so you have to learn how to manage time without the regular structure of high school classes.

College academics and athletics are more demanding and require a much greater time commitment than in high school. 

I spoke with many Division 1 Student-Athletes. Most of them spend 3+ hours a day lifting or practicing, and have an average of 2-3 classes per day. They also spend about 2+ hours on homework or studying each night. Most athletes have mandatory team events between practice –  lifts, film, meetings, and meals – plus games each week. 

Related: Athlete Interview: Being Limitless, with Julia Heymach

College sports are comparable to a full-time job, so college athletes have to have excellent time management skills. 

As a Division 1 Ice Hockey Player, I want to share some of my best tips with you on how to build valuable time management skills for college. 

  1. Use a planner 

At most colleges, each student receives a planner at the beginning of each academic year. If the school department does not provide you with one, buy one. You’re going to need it.  This helps map your homework, exams, and travel days so that you can communicate effectively with your professors in the event of a conflict and schedule your time sustainably. I use mine for anything and everything, writing homework assignments, exams, interviews, and family/social events! 

  1. Don’t Procrastinate 

Stay ahead on your schoolwork. Always start assignments as early as you can. With the amount of time we dedicate to our sport, we must make sure we have plenty of time to do homework, get enough rest, and eat well. I always like to do my assignments during the day in between classes, so I am not up late working till the last minute. I start my tougher assignments right away, prioritizing which assignments will take me the most time helps me stay on track with my school work.

  1. Talk to your professors 

Having a good relationship with your professors makes all the difference in the world. Communicating your travel schedule and daily practice commitment with your professors will help them better understand you and your availability. Athletes often have to miss class, and having a good relationship with your professors will help you stay up to date on missed work and avoid any complications with classes. 

  1. Take advantage of downtime 

Using your downtime wisely in college will be a lifesaver. Downtime can be before and after practice, on the bus, in the hotel, in waiting rooms at appointments, or time in between classes. Time where you would normally scroll your phone for 5-50 minutes can be really valuable in accomplishing your tasks. Using this time wisely will help you feel less stressed, be prepared, and have any questions answered you might need.

A college athlete is responsible for two very big-time commitments, school and their sport. Time management becomes easier over the years in college, and you start to come up with your tips and tricks for managing your time and using it effectively. I hope these tips will set you up to be successful at the next level!

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