As a former Division-1 collegiate athlete I understand how challenging it can be to balance sport at a high level and maintain good grades.  Late nights, early mornings, and taking exams on the road doesn’t make it easy to strike a balance between the two areas, but here are three reasons why it’s crucial to work towards balancing your efforts in both swimming and academics.

  1. A balance between sport and studies makes you a top candidate for any job
    When you get out in the ‘real world’, you must know that companies love hiring former athletes.  This is because you are goal-oriented, no stranger to hard work, and you know how to work in a team.  You don’t need at 4.0 GPA, but if you have decent grades to match a healthy swimming career, then you’ll be at the top of the list for the most reputable companies.
  2. A singular identity can harm your swimming performance
    When you are an age-group swimmer still figuring out ‘who you are’, it pays to have multiple activities to direct your energy on a daily basis.  First, swimmers who don’t balance their efforts with studies are more likely to place excessive pressure on themselves to perform well as a swimmer, and your focus on one activity in your life can become all-consuming.  Second, multiple activities convert into diverse circles of friends and it’s healthy to have friends who can take your mind away from pool from time to time.
  3. If you want to be a collegiate athlete you need to show a decent effort in academics
    No matter how good you are in the pool at the end of high school, colleges will still look at your grades as the first line of assessment for acceptance.  Many of the most competitive athletic programs generally demand stronger academic results to be accepted.  On top of that, from experience, if you hold an athletic scholarship you have to maintain a certain GPA to keep it.  So, start good habits early and it will be easier to manage when you hit your college years.

Remember, balance does not mean you are always in equilibrium.

Adjust and adapt your effort to the most pressing tasks in your schedule at a certain time.  If it’s exam time, make sure you maintain training attendance at the very least, and be ready to gear up the pace when exams are over.  It will all then balance out in the long-run.

Dr Jay-Lee Nair PhD | Psychologist MAPS
Book an appointment to help balance your studies and swimming (or any other sport for that matter!) with Dr Jay-Lee at the Singapore Sports Medicine Centre.