Most people can agree that when a person is in school, school needs to be their first priority. Sure there are friends, jobs, sports and other distractions, but getting the best education you can while you are still in school should probably be the highest goal.

That being said, there are ways to find a balance where a good student can enjoy other things without them affecting their education. In fact, having extracurricular activities may actually help some students with their education and all-around health and growth.

Being a good student athlete is something many people can pull off and some can even make it look easy. But it does require a lot of discipline to both academics and athletics. Here are some tips on how to be a good student athlete while (hopefully) enjoying both your schoolwork and your sport.

Like mentioned before, prioritization will help keep a good balance between schoolwork and sports. Go to practice when it is scheduled, but then go home right afterwards to you can get your homework done and get to bed at a decent hour so you can still get your all-important sleep.

Make sure that even though you have organized practices and training associated with your sport, you can also practice and train on your own to make the most out of your athletic season.

Eating healthy not only fuels your body, but it also fuels your mind. Make sure you are getting a good start to the day with a breakfast that contains food from all the food groups so you have the right balance of vitamins. Instead of junk food snacks plan to eat fruits and vegetables to keep your body energized without the sugar rush.

Getting plenty of sleep as a student athlete means getting between seven and ten hours each night. Because both your body and your mind are being used so heavily as a student athlete, you need plenty of physical and mental rest. Staying up late or going out are still OK to do once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it.

Drinking alcohol, smoking and any kind of drugs are off the table. This really shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but remember to keep your commitment to your health and your sport and make smart choices.

Work hard at both school and sport. Push yourself to do your best both in the classroom and on the field (or whatever venue applies to your sport). If you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask questions. And always be ready to work hard; don’t allow yourself any excuses to blow off school or practice.

Qualities that are learned by student athletes will come in handy when you’re looking to get into the “real” world in life after school. Many student athletes are great communicators, especially if they’ve had a background in team sports. They also know how to receive and provide feedback since they’ve been held accountable to not only their teammates for many years, but also probably had a strong desire to prove themselves to their coach.

This means a student athlete is also a team-oriented person, which will most likely serve them well in the professional world. Time management is something a student athlete has been doing for many years, as they’ve had to juggle school, homework, sports, friends, and sometimes jobs.

Possibly most important of all, a student athlete is achievement-oriented. This is a person who not only feels the need to excel in their preferred sport, but also wants to be a leader in the classroom. They want to win their games and matches, but they also know it’s important to keep their grades up. They know what it takes to be successful, and they’ve been doing it a long time. Their work ethic is superior and they can multi-task to get things done.

Student athletes are well-rounded, responsible people; but they also work hard for everything they have, from their grades to their sporting wins (and losses).

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