Pressures of a Student Athlete

By: Ciara Reed

Unfortunately, when students join a sport, they pay the price of having to deal with twice as much pressure and stress than a normal high school student. They must not only deal with the pressures of excelling in their sport, but are also expected to keep up with schoolwork to maintain their grades. Student athletes live a very demanding and sometimes overwhelming lifestyle, given their daily workouts, conditionings, practices, and games/competitions.

With such a hectic schedule, it leaves little time for homework to be completed, which causes a lot of stress and anxiety for the student. Since a majority of their time is dedicated to sports and school, it is difficult to find a balance between the two as well as setting aside time for themselves.  High schoolers are also expected to partake in other extracurricular activities such as joining clubs and volunteering, which is hard to make a priority when a huge portion of their life revolves around being an athlete.

Alexis Coombs, a senior on the Tuscarora varsity volleyball team, has certainly mastered the skill of handling the challenging role of a student athlete. As an A and B honor roll student and a talented volleyball player, she has committed to attend Southern Mississippi University. In addition, Coombs is also a member of the Virginia Elite travel volleyball team, which also confirms her knowledge and experience on balancing grades and athletics. “Time management is definitely important. My normal routine after school is going home and getting as much homework as I can done, then going to practice from 8-10 pm, and then finishing my leftover homework,” said Coombs. As one can see, with her busy volleyball schedule, she is very limited in time which is why planning ahead is crucial.

Another individual, well-experienced in dealing with the pressures of a student athlete is Michala Pellegrino, a junior on the Tuscarora varsity softball team. She has also committed to playing at James Madison University and is an all A honor roll student. “The balance of sports and school comes with a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. To cope with this I try and finish as much of my work at school as I possibly can so I’m not as overwhelmed at home,” said Pellegrino.  It is apparent that as a student athlete the best way to handle the pressure and stress is through being efficient and using time wisely.

Jonathan Roebuck is another exemplary student athlete that has acquired the skill of handling pressure. As member of the Tuscarora track and field, football, and basketball teams all three years of his high school career, he has a lot on his plate. “Sports and school are two very hard things to balance, but over the years I have really learned that you can’t let the stress get to you and that you cannot procrastinate. Being overwhelmed is a normal feeling for me, but I love the sports I play so it is completely worth it in the end,” says Roebuck.

For student athletes, it takes a special mindset to be able to handle the pressure and stress. It is possible to balance the two; however it requires time management, planning ahead, and the determination to succeed in both.