Published On: Fri, Jan 5th, 2018

Why Character Development of Athletes in College is the Way Forward

Maintaining high standards as an athlete/sportsperson while keeping a good GPA can prove to be exceptionally hard work for some.

Athletes in College

College life can be difficult enough without considering the additional burdens of intense training, performance and competition. For a large number of students who are also considered high-level amateurs in sport, finding a sustainable way to keep both boats in the race, so to speak, provides additional stresses in addition to adapting to campus. As a significant number of students at Universities are far away from friends and family, simply finding their feet can be challenging.

Without compromising studies or their performance levels, the dedication college students in this position require to ensure that their education and sporting development are not incongruous can be taxing. In fact, a proportionate number of individuals faced with such complexities notice that their social lives and free time are non-existent. While their classmates are partying on weekends, these individuals are training or sleeping. The struggle to find the time to accommodate the respective demands of studying and performing in their sporting capacity can lead to some just simply dropping out of college or quitting sports.

It is not impossible to do both, however. Canadian golfer Blair Bursey managed to maintain his studies while performing at consistently impressive levels throughout 2017.While studying at Utah Valley University, Bursey qualified for August’s PGA Utah Open following a 6-under-par 66 in the qualifier for the tournament which carries significant prestige.Bursey mixed a busy schedule training and performing while studying as volunteering as a coach.

“I’ve had a pretty strong schedule this summer and haven’t really lived up to my expectations,”Bursey said while speaking to Gander Beacon.“To finally have a week where I felt like I had some good golf shine through was definitely encouraging.”

Bursey’s achievements would not have come without ensuring that he had the correct balance between studying and competition. The strenuous physical demands of sport in addition to the challenging nature of study cannot be underestimated. In this case, it is essential to make time for a healthy and well-balanced social life. The right environment in the downtime between sport and studies will go a long way towards achieving longevity and success in both. Failing to appreciate just how potentially damaging a minor “burn-out” can be could be disastrous.

With high-level athletes, or even those beginning to find their feet in a sport while at college, there is a way to ensure the best chance of success. Classes, examinations, training and sporting schedules are generally known in advance. Ensuring there is ample downtime in between, even if it means dedicating enough time to sleep or visiting family and friends will contribute towards a happier and healthier student athlete. For those unfortunate enough to be in a position where they have to choose between studying or pursuing a career in sport, there may be a point, with retrospect, where they come to lament their decision and not doing things differently.