Seven Tips to Help Student-Athletes Improve Their Overall Game

An article that ran in USA Today in 2011 is very much relevant today.  The article, written by Kelly Clayton—then a senior field hockey player at Elizabethtown College—provides seven valuable tips that high school student-athletes can use in everyday life to improve their game, grades, relationships and life.

1. Routine, routine, routine

If you are a student-athlete, you need to follow a daily routine, and this is a good thing because it keeps your work, practice and social life in order. To-do lists prioritize the workload so that you can prioritize the things that need to be accomplished first.

2. Eight hours a day keeps the losing away

During the season, a student-athlete is playing or practicing their sport around six days a week. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t be at your best during practice and that can affect the rest of your team. Sleeping eight hours a night is possible if you have a daily routine in place.

3. Stay in shape all year

Take a week off when your season then ends, then get back into the gym for off-season training. Staying in shape doesn’t have to be as rigorous or as long as the season’s daily practices—you can shoot for a 30-minute workout doing cardio and/or weight.

4. Use your coaches

It depends what school you go to and how big your team is but many student-athletes admit to being scared of their coaches and go all four years without building a relationship with them. Don’t do that. Don’t be scared of your coach. They were once student-athletes, too, and know what you are going through. Your coaches' jobs are to be mentors to you, so use them. If you are having a problem with school, home or anything else go to them and tell them your struggles. Don’t feel pressure to become friends with your coach, but feel free to use them for their vast knowledge about your sport and connections.

5. Make meal time, friends time

Every student-athlete should be eating at least three meals a day, so why not utilize that time and eat with the friends you rarely see? This tip not only gets you into good eating habits, but it also allows you to unwind and have a social life.

6. Love your teammates

You and your teammates have a special connection because you have all made a commitment to a sport. While being on a team can heighten competition and lead to jealousy for starting spots and playing time, it is important to love your teammates. If you support your fellow team members and encourage them everyday, they will do the same for you.

7. Give it your all, every single day

No matter how bad your day has been, you have a different perspective when it’s time to take the field—you are there to play, compete and have fun. Many athletes during a given year will never play at the same competitive level again after the current season; it’s important for you to play each season with no regrets and be the best player you can be.

To read the original article from USA Today, click here.