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Managing Time as a Student Athlete

Managing Time as a Student-Athlete

There is now substantial evidence proving that student-athletes perform better academically than non-student-athletes. It is no longer a question of “if”, but more a question of “why”. So, why do student-athletes perform better academically?

One of the many reasons is due to student-athletes more effectively utilizing and managing their time. Time management is a phrase uttered almost as an afterthought when discussing the benefits of being a student-athlete. You would first think of the ability to work within a team, learning from failure, commitment, etc. Time management is usually just another add-on to the list. However, this skill has any impact on a student’s collegiate and post-graduate careers, if nurtured at the Secondary school level.

While an incredibly small margin of Secondary student-athletes go on to play collegiately in their sport, those that do effectively take on two, (nearly) full-time jobs. USA Today polled collegiate athletes on the hours spent on their sport and on their academics. Even at the lowest level of US collegiate athletics (NCAA Division III), students were spending nearly 30 hours a week on average for their respective sport. Those same students were spending over 40 hours a week on average on academics. 

How do these student-athletes survive such rigorous demands in their late teens? At Canadian International School (CIS), a top school in Bangalore, we encourage our student-athletes to develop time management habits at the earliest, so they’re not worried about building effective habits on top of the demands of both their sport and their academics.

Both USA Today and FNU wrote articles with tips from collegiate student-athletes about how to build effective time management habits. Some may or may not apply to high school student-athletes at international schools, so let’s splice together feedback from both these articles and feedback from our own CIS students.

  1. Build good [academic] habits in high school. The old adage is true: if you wait until the last minute to do it, it only takes a minute to do. That may suffice for high school, but it won’t for college. Create citations and complete whatever you can as soon as you can, then build in time to continue working on your assignment leading up to its due date.
  2. Create a To-Do List. Categorize and/or prioritize your own To-Do List. This will allow you to project what needs to be done in the coming weeks or, potentially, months. When you compartmentalize your tasks, your focus is on one thing at a time, which tends to lead to greater efficiency.
  3. Utilize your downtime. Bangalore traffic is bad. With winter break looming, you may be spending some time in airports. These are times that can be utilized. Make a new To-Do List in the car or catch up on your reading on the plane. That being said…
  4. Build-in ‘buffer’ time. Between sports, academics, and other commitments, you may not have a lot of time for anything else. Ensure you build in appropriate buffer time between activities or tasks. Maybe that’s watching your favourite TV show or playing an online game. However, be careful: don’t let one episode or one hour of gameplay turn into multiple hours.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is so important, but sometimes the pride of being a young adult gets in the way of admitting you need help. There is a lot on your plate and your instructors want to help you, but they can’t ask for you. Instead of waiting and the situation deteriorating, reach out. Much like asking your coach for advice or clarification, sometimes you need to ask the same of your teacher.

You may notice that many of these tips and tricks put the onus on the student-athlete to manage his/her time effectively. Far too often do we see international student-athletes with additional tutoring sessions that effectively take time management out of the students’ hands. More often than not, these same students struggle to manage their time at the collegiate level with far fewer contact hours and higher expectations on students to complete work on their own time. 

At Canadian International School (CIS), a top school in Bangalore, accountability is another great benefit of being a student-athlete, and this is where you develop that trait. Can student-athletes manage their time to attend all scheduled practices and prepare effectively for their classes? It takes diligence and determination, but if you start early enough, good habits in high school make everything just a little easier.

To learn more about athletics at Canadian International School (CIS), visit our athletics page or contact our admissions department at