The Hard Balance Between School and Sports

Ava Wine, Staff Writer

Issaquah student athletes spend between 20 to 25 hours a week outside of school training for their sport and drowning in mass amounts of homework. With the constant pressures from peers, coaches, and teachers to improve and get better, this is an incredibly rewarding and challenging interest. With the additional finals, advanced classes, daily homework, and strict deadlines placed on students, this passion can start to become damaging to mental and physical health. An article by SuccessStartsFromWithin, a motivational blog for teens, states, “Anxiety stems from worrying about what all you need to do, whether or not you will get it done, and if you do get it done, just how on Earth you will do so.” Working through these struggles is what makes student athletes both physically and mentally strong.

There are many positives to playing a sport for the school. Even with the harsh struggles of balancing schedules with the many commitments of a varsity sport, junior Benjamin Wing agrees with this saying, “You would much rather do something for your sport than do homework. And sports take more of my time.” Students who do extracurriculars are always either playing them for a sense of community or a career path. If a player wants to make their hobby a career, they most likely find a sense of joy and stress release in the activity. Freshman Rhenna Hung agrees, stating, “I would rather be hanging out with my friends at practice than doing algebra two homework.”  Especially during AP testing, student tensions have raised to a high. Dealing with AP testing preparation involves many long hours of studying and when you add the stresses of doing a spring sport, it causes students to not get the satisfaction that the sport used to supply. Isolation and many skipped practices cause student’s emotional outlet to be gone. Depression and anxiety can quickly become present and consume students.

It is incredibly important to find a way to prioritize mental health. Senior Rama Bah suggests, “Designate time every day for school before or after sports to make sure you do not fall behind. Also keep a schedule or planner for everything.” Time management is the key step to creating a successful, balanced lifestyle. Between practice and training, some students only have one to one and a half hours to do homework. Student athletes who take advanced courses may have up to 30 minutes for a singular class. The maximum amount of time for a high schooler taking AP courses is up to three and a half hours. Junior Emma Lavi finds a solution, saying, “I would suggest letting your teacher know days that you will be busy or the days with more stress.”, A blog focused on college and high school sports shares an article about the tips and tricks to balancing this large workload: “The weekends are a great time for you to take a mental and physical pause from your academics and athletics. Taking a break and resting your mind and body is imperative for a student athlete.”  Later in the article, they say something remarkably similar to what Lavi explained previously: “Maintaining strong communication with your professors goes hand in hand when utilizing your resources.” Teachers are here to help you and coaches are rooting for you both academically and athletically.

Coaches and teachers do their best to support all their students and supply the tools they need to succeed. Sophomore Henry Tait states, “Some of my coaches make sure we know that school comes before sports.” The staff at IHS do an excellent job of recognizing and watching out for any changes in students’ mental health.  Senior Tanner Dutra expands on this topic by saying, “I wish teachers would give us more time on homework… especially during the end of the season when there are more practices and less free time.” Many athletes try to keep a strong and healthy relationship with their coaches. Not only is this super beneficial to the sports team, but also socially and mentally. Many school coaches played a sport during their high school or college time, this helps give the students a reliable source to ask questions and get help with struggles the coaches faced in their past.

Overall, the life of a teenage athlete is a busy, stressful, and challenging time, but it is also a wonderful time to grow as a person and learn skills that will be admired throughout life. Learning how to create a positive environment, keep relationships with peers and administrators, and keep mental health stable will cause school athletes progress both on the team and educationally to skyrocket.