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Balancing It All as a College Athlete

Being a college athlete is no joke. Rigorous training, heavy schedule, and a full course load – it’s a difficult time commitment for just about everyone! Many of my older teammates, who had gone on to play in college, had warned me about the time commitment and balancing act that came with being a college athlete, and as a result, I felt fairly well prepared for the workload that would soon be placed before me.

And then I became an NCAA Division 1 athlete…

Suddenly, my freshman year was hit with a whirlwind of demands from class, practice, travel, and the social scene. Understanding how to properly execute time management was a skill that I thought I had under control, but the onslaught of college activities forced me to re-organize.

So, what did I do? I planned everything—EVERYTHING down to the minute to ensure I was maximizing my schedule and not letting anything slip.

A typical Monday, Wednesday, or Friday for me may look like this:

6:00-6:45 AM

Wake up & eat breakfast

6:45-7:45 AM

Athletic Training Rehab

7:45 AM

Leave for class

8:15-10:10 AM


10:30-11:30 AM


11:30 AM-1:00 PM


1:15-5:30 PM


5:30-6:30 PM

Team Lift

6:45-7:45 PM


8:00-10:00 PM


10:00-11:00 PM

Free time/bed

This schedule is merely a framework for what my day to day looks like, but the important thing is that it accounts for everything to ensure I stay on track. As a student-athlete, you have to be diligent about your time. Build your own schedule and make sure to factor in:
  • Travel Time

This could include time to get to your practice, travel to & from games, plane or bus time, walking to the weight room, etc. Travel time is often a key time to catch-up and plan on doing homework. Make sure to indicate in your schedule what is “useable” travel time, like a plane, bus, or car trips vs. “spoken for” travel time, like walking to the weight room, driving over to the practice field, etc.

  • Missed Classes & Make-Ups

As a student-athlete, you will inevitably have to miss class. To ensure you’re staying on track it’s important to meet with your professors and make sure you’re making up missed work, fitting in scheduled presentations, or available for make-up tests. At the start of each week, I meet with my professors to discuss travel dates and missed work for that week. These meetings allow both my professors and myself to be on the same page as to what work will be late when presentations must take place, and when I will need to take exams.

  • Workouts

Keeping your body moving during the season is SO important in order to minimize injury and soreness. Although workouts can be rigorous and there will be days that you feel like you can’t make it through, getting your body moving will benefit you as you dive deeper into the season.

  • Meal Time

You can’t maintain yourself as an athlete without fuel. Make sure you’re scheduling in the appropriate amount of time to get yourself a healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Practice & Game Time

Practice and games are designated 20 hours, per NCAA, out of each week. We primarily arrive at the stadium four hours pre-game time, and typically play a doubleheader for each game. Usually, game days take up anywhere from 8 to 9 hours of the day, while the practice is mandated at 4 hours a day.

  • Personal or Fun Time

In all of this, you’re probably wondering if I ever have time for friends or time to myself, and the answer is yes! I designated at least an hour per night to do anything that I would like to do from watch TV to going bowling with friends, and I also use my Sunday evenings as a free day from school to allow a little bit of a mental break. Over my past 3 years as a college athlete, I have learned the importance of being intentional about scheduling time for yourself, in order to keep yourself in a mentally stable and stress-free state.

Overall, balancing all of the different aspects of college athletics, academics, and a social scene can be EXTREMELY, grueling but planning ahead and investing in a planner will make time management an easier task. College athletics can give you tons of memories and opportunities that you will never forget, and although it may be stressful at times (let’s be real what college student hasn’t cried in the library once or twice?) it’s completely worth it.