Finding a Balance: Sports and Academics


Guest post by Ryan Bach

As if being a swimmer wasn’t hard enough, managing your swim workouts while also being a full-time student can get pretty hectic. While sometimes it may seem impossible to succeed in both the pool and the classroom, it is necessary to remember that it’s been done before by past swimmers, many of which turned out just fine. Here are some tips to consider when approaching a tough period of training and schoolwork:

Manage Your Time

This may seem obvious, but during “crunch time”, temporarily reducing the activities of your day that are not deemed necessary to either school in swimming will make a significant impact on your results in both your practices and your exams. Don’t lounge around in the shower after practice, refrain from playing video games etc; maximize your time to hit the books right after practice so you can get the most out of your studying.

Break It Down

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the time constraints of your schoolwork and your coach pushing you to get to practice in time. The best way to approach these issues is do break your days down into smaller parts. Make a list of things you need to get down before practice, and a to-do list for afterwards. The overwhelming feeling comes from the perception that you need to get everything done at once, which is impossible. Breaking down your days and making a schedule for your days will make it much more mentally manageable.

Rest Up

Busy school days and tough practices are bound to leave you exhausted at the end of the day. That being said, rest is one of the most important components to your success. While it may be tempting to stay up late to get ahead (or catch up) on schoolwork, it is important to get enough rest so you will be prepared for the next day. If you have trouble resting your mind after a busy day, take some personal time before sleeping to watch a quick TV show, or catch up on some recreational reading to ease your mind before bed, so you can wake up rested and refreshed for the next day.

Most of all, believe in your abilities as a student-athlete to not just complete your academic and athletic commitments, but to excel in them. And remember, you will always have your teammates and coaches to support your efforts. Now what are you waiting for? Get to work!


Ryan Bach was raised in Glenview, Illinois before attending Boston University, where he studies business and competes for Boston University’s Men’s Swim Team. Currently he is working for a legal consulting firm in the Beacon Hill area of Boston, MA.

Image courtesy of tpsdave

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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