Athletics or Academics

I was recently asked a very good question “When should you start getting good grades at school?”, Study and good grades during high school years are crucial for several reasons. A strong academic foundation provides you with a better breadth of knowledge and skills beneficial for personal and professional development. Study equips you with better critical thinking abilities, problem-solving skills, and as a result you will receive a better, well-rounded education that will support your success in any field. Furthermore, maintaining good grades demonstrates to any coach discipline, commitment, and a strong work ethic. It showcases your ability to manage your time, balance academic responsibilities and persevere through challenges. These qualities are highly sought after in the professional world.

In the past year my athletes have achieved Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees. They have studied as prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Monmouth, and Providence. These are all renowned for their academic excellence, world-class facilities, and extensive resources. These universities provide a rigorous and intellectually stimulating environment fostering personal growth and intellectual curiosity. Moreover, they also have well-established athletic programs and therefore offer opportunities for athletes to excel both academically and athletically. These schools prioritize the development of you as a student-athlete, providing access to top-notch coaching, state-of-the-art facilities, and a supportive community.

One significant benefit of attending a prestigious university as an athlete is the opportunity to receive a high-quality education that will extend well beyond your athletic career. Sports can be unpredictable and can often have a limited professional lifespan. However, a degree will stay with you forever providing a foundation for future career prospects. Your athletic achievements may open doors, but the degree will open doors to a wider range of opportunities, enhancing your credibility in the job market. In addition, prestigious universities have extensive alumni networks and connections. These can prove invaluable in terms of future networking and career advancement. The relationships and experiences gained during your time at these institutions will continue to benefit you throughout your life.

In a chat with a university coach recently I enquired about a couple of New Zealand athletes that were on his team. His answer was very insightful. He felt that they had burnt themselves out at school. They were not the sort of athlete he would now pursue. Rather than just concentrate on athletics and academics in years 9 to 13 they had also thrown themselves into other sports. New Zealand high schools now undertake high performance programs with their premier teams. They train like professionals. However you don’t see professionals doing multiple sports. Doing one is enough, doing two or three will not work to your advantage.

If your goal is an athletics scholarship, then concentrate on athletics and academics. Then there is the opportunity to have a top-class degree and a fun overseas experience without the need to work in hospitality or behind a shop counter. Achieving good grades in high school starts at Year 9 and will help your personal growth, skill development, and future success. Attending a good university provides a combination of exceptional academics and athletic opportunities, offering a strong foundation for a fulfilling future beyond sports.