Chasing due dates and running late from class to class is oftentimes the most vigorous form of exercise for many high school students. On top of that, balancing academic work with another sport is both a physical and mental challenge.
Considering the time and effort poured into both academic studies and school sports, it is undoubtedly a challenge trying to maintain a stellar GPA while performing outstandingly during games. Sarah Ha (12), a tri-varsity athlete, is involved in sports all year round, meaning she loses a minimum of eight hours of time after school to complete her assignments per week. Juggling both her academic life, social life, and sport life is incredibly difficult, yet crucial for her success. She claims that when she first got involved in high school sports, it was difficult for her to focus on her studies as she was “constantly immersed in the athletic hype.” However, as she grew older, “the term ‘student athlete’ has definitely come to make more sense, and prioritizing academics is ultimately the main goal” for her.
However, the benefits of athletics appear to outweigh the ramifications of participating in such extracurriculars. Based on research published in The International Journal of the History of Sport, it was found that having “dual careers provides motivation for training and preparation, stimulating athletes intellectually and relieving stress.” (Guardian.com) Athletes are trained to adapt to different situations, persevere during tough times, cooperate with others, and reflect upon their actions, which are all lifelong skills.
A director of sports at the University of Bath expressed that because “their weeks are very pressurised, top sportspeople are extremely organized, disciplined, and efficient with their time, which are useful skills in the academic side of their lives.” In agreement, Jisan Chai (10), also a three-season athlete, claimed that she has to use her time very efficiently because participating in sports is very time consuming. In fact, she revealed that she goes to the “library with [her] friends during lunch nearly everyday to finish homework.”
In all, although sports require time and energy, surprisingly that doesn’t come at the cost of academic performance. Sports participation is associated with higher dedication, lower stress levels, and stronger commitments to school compared to the average, non-athlete high school student due to the lessons they learn on the court or field.