If you are reading this as a youth athlete or parent of a youth athlete, whether new to the experience or a seasoned vet, you have likely experienced a completely crazy schedule. Club training, games, tournaments, private training, fitness, school activities, homework, etc are constantly competing for an athlete’s time. In most cases, parents carry the burden of driving, carpooling and generally racing around to get their student-athletes from activity to activity. It is important for athletes to understand and manage their own schedules starting in their teens at the latest. I can’t tell you how many team talks when asking about upcoming events and participation, where I have had many players look back with a blank stare and an apparent lack of any clue of what their upcoming schedule is. The facts are that many youth athletes are over-scheduled and it is a significant effort for parents to manage all of the commitments.
If you or your athlete is one of the 2% of youth athletes to be fortunate enough to compete at the college level, then you (they) will likely benefit from the regimented schedule that comes with being a collegiate student-athlete. Between team and school standards on academic performance, many universities provide and demand adherence to a strict schedule of classes, workouts, training, competition, study hours, tutoring, etc. I would argue that while busy, student-athletes have an easier time adjusting to academics by virtue of the support they receive compared to non-athletes or those not in specialty programs
Time management is a crucial skill for teenage athletes to develop as they navigate their busy sports lives filled with school, extracurricular activities, social events, and personal responsibilities. Rather than relying on parents to manage their time, athletes will benefit from starting to manage their own time as they become teenagers. Here are some tips for effective time management that can help teenagers make the most of their time.
- Set Priorities: It is important for teenagers to identify their priorities and focus on the tasks that are most important. Make a list of tasks for the day or week and prioritize them based on importance and urgency.
- Create a Schedule: Creating a schedule is an effective way to manage time. Set aside specific times for schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and personal responsibilities. This can help teenagers stay organized and ensure that they have enough time for everything.
- Avoid Procrastination: Procrastination is a common issue among teenagers, but it can be detrimental to effective time management. Encourage teenagers to tackle difficult or unpleasant tasks first, and reward themselves with a break or a fun activity once the task is complete.
- Minimize Distractions: social media, television, and other distractions can eat up a lot of time. Encourage teenagers to limit their screen time and minimize distractions while they are working on tasks.
- Use Time Efficiently: Time can be wasted if teenagers don’t use it efficiently. Encourage them to use small pockets of time for productive tasks such as reviewing notes, reading, or completing short assignments.
- Take Breaks: Taking breaks is important for staying focused and avoiding burnout. Encourage teenagers to take short breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus.
- Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for effective time management. Encourage teenagers to establish a consistent sleep schedule to ensure that they are well-rested and ready to tackle the day’s tasks. More on sleep in an upcoming article.
- Learn to Say No: It can be difficult for teenagers to say no to social events or extracurricular activities, but sometimes it is necessary to prioritize responsibilities. Encourage teenagers to be honest with themselves and learn to say no when they need to focus on their priorities.
Effective time management is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. By setting priorities, creating a schedule, avoiding procrastination, minimizing distractions, using time efficiently, taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and learning to say no, teenagers can manage their time effectively and achieve their goals. Time management is another important life skill that youth athletes can leverage now and develop the muscle memory required to carry on that skill as they progress through future stages of their lives. For more on “The Secret Sauce” follow this blog and follow @coachrich8 on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.