3 Focus Tips For Student Athletes
September 26, 2013
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Student athletes have a lot on their mind: finishing homework, preparing for courses, attending practices, upcoming games and, in some situations, part-time job responsibilities.
With all of these things vying for an athlete’s attention, it’s important for these students to stay focused on school.
It’s crucial for athletes to be able to focus when it’s time to study. Often your schedules are restricted and you do not have a lot of free time – meaning that when you sit down to study, you need to work efficiently.
At Briarcliffe, we want to see you succeed. Whether you are a student athlete or not, you can implement these three focus tips to get the most out of your study time:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
As an athlete, you know the value of practice. You work every day to prepare yourself physically to compete on the field.
Remember that this commitment to preparation is applicable to your studies. Reporters Jeremy S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs of U. S. News say, “The harder you work on the track, in the weight room and on the field, the more competitive your game. The same principle applies to your academic work. Come ready to compete.”
The easiest way to practice for your courses? Do the reading.
Readings are assigned to prepare you for discussion and to allow you to slowly digest the coursework over the semester. Reading, however, is not always easy. This is especially true of critical reading, which your instructors often ask you to do. You have to actively engage with and analyze the text – a skill not often taught in high school.
Start practicing over the summer. Hyman and Jacobs compare reading to running. They note, “It might take some practice, but it will pay off in the end with heightened focus and broader knowledge that can help you stay fit in the classroom.” If you already know what degree program you want to study, you can look for books related to your program. For suggestions, you can contact your advisor at Briarcliffe.
2. Get in the Zone
You often hear coaches or other players talk about “getting in the zone” before a game. The phrase refers to focusing on your work on-field to play smart and, ultimately, to win. Have you ever thought of applying this concept to your work off the field?
Todd Herman is a professional trainer who works with professional, Olympic and amateur athletes on “the inner game of success.” He helps them stay sharp, focused and consistent on the field and off the field.
Student athletes especially can apply the zone to their work in their degree program. Outside of class, you want to use your time efficiently and effectively. Your schedule is demanding and you don’t have time to waste. So, by getting in the zone, you can achieve a high level of focus.
Herman says, “All distractions are gone, all ideas of ‘I can’t do this,’ all that self-conscious stuff just isn’t there. You’re totally caught up in the moment and in the flow of the activity itself.”
Think it might be difficult finding your zone at homework time? Try doing whatever you do before a game. Whether it’s listening to music, doing warm up exercises or something else, you can trigger the zone by doing these activities before starting homework. Get in the right mindset and you’ll find your zone.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
Students often have trouble focusing because they are struggling with the course material. For example, they might be confused about a particular theory.
Rather than struggle for hours to understand something, consider taking a break and contacting your instructor. Explain the problem and see if they have any suggestions for you. They might be able to offer you additional resources. They could even offer to meet with you after class to review the materials or give you the name of a tutor.
When you are honest with yourself, you can seek out the right resources.
At Briarcliffe, you do not have to struggle. Learn more about the opportunities available for student athletes.