LIFESTYLE: Managing the academic environment

“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary

Managing the academic environment

Athletes in education have the dual demands of both sport and study. Among these demands are additional time, physical, social and emotional demands. Good planning goes a long way to helping manage this situation. Many schools, universities and institutes of sport provide assistance to athletes to manage the additional academic demands. Schools and Universities are likely to have their own local policies on how they support Dual Career athletes. It is important for parents to familiarize themselves with the resources available to Dual Career athletes in their school, University and country. Most, third level institutions provide additional learning support for all students such as academic advisors or specialist support centers in statistics or research writing. Again familiarize yourself with what is available and encourage the Dual Career athlete to use them. Using the supports available will be an excellent investment of time.

Tips for athletes to manage the academic environment

  1. Unlike high school, you are now wholly responsible for your learning, and as you enter adulthood you are wholly responsible for all the decisions that are made by you and on behalf of you. Own those decisions.
  2. Know your rights in the academic environment. What national or local laws or polices are relevant to you.
  3. Know who your tutors are.
  4. Know your responsibilities. Be absolutely clear what you need to do and by when for your academic courses. Know when exams and assignments are due and how they might interact with your sporting commitments.
  5. Find out what academic supports are available at your school or University and use them.
  6. Plan accordingly. Work with your coach to make allowances for training at time of high academic demand and inflexibility and work with your DC advisor at times of high sporting demand where academics may be more flexible.
  7. Attend your lectures/ tutorials/ classes.
  8. Don’t leave assignments and study to the last minute. Use times when your sporting commitment are not high to try and get ahead with academic work.
  9. If you have a sporting and academic clash try to communicate this to your academic advisor and your coach as early as possible. Leaving it to the last minute makes it more difficult to find solutions.
  10. Don’t assume anyone knows who you are. Introduce yourself to your lecturers, relevant Dual Career advisor or school/ university authority. Make sure the first contact the have with you is not when you have a problem.
  11. Thank people for their help and use your social media platforms to promote your university and the support it provides.

Lifestyle checklist

☐ I better understand what a “Performance Lifestyle” means to different stakeholders.

☐ I have more know how in how to guide the Dual Career athlete to best manage the balance between sports and academics.

☐ I understand who are the important contact points for a performance Dual Career athlete and help the Dual Career athlete create a performance “entourage” around them.

☐ I know more about the role a parent can play in raising awareness of anti doping issues with the Dual Career athlete.

☐ I am more aware of what a bad performance environment looks like.

☐ I am better able to support the Dual Career athlete in having difficult conversations in performance environments.

☐ I am more aware of national policies and strategies relating to high performance sport in my country.