If you consider yourself as dangerous a student as you are an athlete, you understand the importance of finding a balance between studying and competing. There are all kinds of other considerations as well. You likely have rigorous practice schedules, strength training, and much more to add to your plan.

If you are concerned about how you will be able to manage your responsibilities to your team(s) with the need to keep up good grades, keep reading. We have some valuable advice on how you can achieve that balance and find real reward in both your athletic and academic pursuits.

#1 – Start Developing Time Management Skills Now

We all have the same 24 hours in our day. How we use those hours will have a broad impact on what we accomplish. This is especially true in the area of academics. Your college years are a pivotal time in your life.

Before long, you will find yourself faced with having to manage “real world” responsibilities like work life, family life, and more. It all starts here. Commit to getting good at all things time management and self-discipline.

Start thinking about how you currently manage your time. Do you think you use your time optimally? Be honest with yourself. It’s all right if the answer is “no.” Now is the perfect opportunity to learn and improve, just like you do developing skills in athletics.

#2 – Start Setting Goals Early

At the very beginning of the semester, you should be familiarizing yourself with everything that will need to be done for each class. Develop a workable plan that includes your classes, your athletics schedules, study, and personal time. That last bit is significant and should not be neglected.

It may seem overwhelming just thinking about how you will juggle 15 credits and a rigorous training schedule, but the execution of the task can be much more comfortable than it looks in the planning stages. The more you do to manage and plan out your time in advance, the less time you will waste on things that don’t lead to achievement and success.

#3 – Seek Help In Problematic Areas

Sometimes study time means meeting with a professor or a tutor to gain a better understanding of specific academic concepts. There is no shame in asking for help. If you do, you could score some major points with your professors. Many college students also rely on and meet regularly with tutors to clarify difficult concepts and stay on track. Sometimes you need to do what you need to do to pass.

This is especially true for many college students – athletes or no – when it comes to writing assignments. There are numerous online resources for getting college help with assignments, and it is just as smart to seek out help in this arena as it is in other areas of study. You don’t have to farm out the entire project. It is far better if you do as much as you can on your own. Still, with time being what it is, a little help putting together a final draft can provide you with a bit more time to either focus on your game or just cut loose with friends.

#4 – Don’t Make Excuses

You knew that you were taking on a big responsibility when you decided to both starts attending college and represented your school in athletics. Don’t use your busy schedule as an excuse to slack off. Remember, this time is pivotal to your success in many areas beyond just college.

Without good grades and a degree in some marketable field, your options after graduation will be limited. Even if you have plans to go pro after college, that is never guaranteed. Only a tiny percentage of college athletes ever do. You must be prepared for every possible reality and eventuality.

Hold Yourself Accountable

You are officially past the time in your life when your parents or teachers will keep after you to get to class and apply yourself. A small dose of self-accountability will go a long way right now. Developing good time management skills will help you not only be a better student and athlete, but it will also set you up for success in many other areas of life.