Time Management for Athletes

resizedimage400325-Timemanagement-forbloggerIt’s that time of year again. The 2013 school year is upon us! Most of our athletes are back in school, a few remain before they head off to college. It can be a stressful time of year… IF you are unable to manage your time properly!

As a former student-athlete myself, I know exactly how hard it can be to fathom how much goes into a weekly routine: school, sports practice, games, and workouts; many have private instructors for hitting, pitching, throwing, etc to enhance their skills; added on top of that a part-time job  – then of course there’s the social aspect i.e. hanging out with your friends, or a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Where do we fit in the time for ANYTHING else? It all comes down to properly managing your time and making the best of it. Time is our most valuable commodity – any wasted opportunities will be gone forever.

I am writing this post today to reinforce the fact that you should NEVER have any regrets when you look back on your athletic career. Most athletes will only play sports through the high school level – a few will go on to play at the collegiate ranks – and a VERY select few will ever play at the professional level. With a very short window of opportunity, you should be attacking every day as if it’s your last! You never know when an injury or unfortunate circumstance will sideline you.

When I was in high school, I played two sports. Football in the Fall, which in reality is pretty much a year-around sport beginning in January with off-season workouts, into the Summer with 7-on-7 passing tournaments, college camps, more workouts, practice, and double-days, then in the Fall we had mandatory 6:30 AM weight training, school all day, followed by practice from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm every day. Fridays were game days (after all day at school), Saturdays were film review. Same routine pretty much for track, except we had two meets every week; a dual meet on Wednesdays and an invitational somewhere out of town (often driving 2-3 hours one way) on Saturdays.

My only real “days off” were… NEVER. I also worked a part-time job as a grocery bagger for 12-16 hours a week, usually on Saturdays and Sundays for 8 hours each.

This same trend continued into College until I graduated; I played two sports (football and track) up until my Junior year of college where I was only focusing on Football at Cal Poly-SLO as a walk-on wide receiver. I also worked 20-30 hours a week, was a full-time student, and had an internship for 10-15 hours per week on top of everything else. It was not uncommon for me to finally get settled around midnight on the weekdays, only to wake back up at 5:30 AM to do it all over again.

You’re probably asking yourself: HOW did I manage to fit all of that in? I’ll tell you a big secret of how I made it work. You ready?

I was willing to sacrifice certain things to make it happen and never made a single excuse as to why I couldn’t do something – instead I would routinely ask myself, how can I make this work? That meant I had to spend all of my spare time being as productive as possible. I had a very rigorous routine and schedule that it just simply became normal. I often hear about high school athletes complaining that they are way too busy to workout 1-2 hours per week yet they simply are playing a sport and going to school. Now, I understand that school is priority – don’t get me wrong. However, even with the most rigorous class schedule with AP classes, honors, etc you can still find the time IF it’s important to you.

Now, with all of this said, how do we effectively manage our time wisely? Prioritize and make a list of what you need to get done each day in order to move closer to your goals. For example, do you think spending hours on Twitter and Instagram or watching mind-numbing reality TV shows are going to make you a better athlete?  I highly doubt it – that can probably wait and be put very low on your priority list. If you have the time for that, you probably could have spent that hour or two being more productive by studying more, or getting a good workout in, or even stretching and foam rolling. You see how this can add up over time?

Look, I know what it’s like to be busy. You can only fit so much into your schedule before something has to give. But I also understand the importance of learning how to effectively manage your time as a young person. It’s very beneficial, especially for your junior and seniors. College is NOT high school. You will have to manage your time all by yourself, and it will be even more challenging if you wish to play sports on top of going to school.

Action Step: Make a list before you go to bed and write down your goals for school, sports, and your personal life. THEN, prioritize (in order) things you think you need to get done in order to reach your goals. Do you think good grades happen by accident? Do you think faster 40’s or heavier weights lifted just appear out of thin air? NO. You are going to have to WORK for it every single day.

Now get to work 😉

Until next time,

 – John Cortese

PS: If you enjoyed this post, drop me a comment below and let me know about tips you have used to help manage your time as a student-athlete, parent, or coach!

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