Sports and academics can be a make-or-break factor for college. With both being time-consuming and highly influential, one often takes away from the performance in the other. Both student-athletes and teachers express the struggle to balance these two integral parts of students’ lives.
“You need to prioritize athletics and academics,” math teacher Warren Hahn said. “They should both be important parts of everyone’s day. If one starts to crowd out the other, then I don’t think you have balance.”
It can be difficult to find time for academics along with sports, but encouragement from coaches can help.
To junior Maren Summers, a good coach can make all the difference between an athlete who succeeds in school versus one who does not.
“In softball, they always tell us ‘mind over matter.’ You can do anything as long as you set your mind to it,” Summers said.
Teammates also have an impact on each other. Senior varsity tennis captain Caitlin Williamson learns life skills from her sport.
“Sports can help you with leadership and teamwork and working with people,” Williamson said.
Williamson believes these characteristics will benefit her in the future.
“I want to go into [a career] that focuses on leadership, so tennis really helps to build that,” Williamson said.
Sports experiences build on traits that can last long after high school.
Athletic Director David Posthuma is one example of this.
“My role here as the athletic director depends on my experiences both playing and coaching sports,” Posthuma said. “Athletics has played a very large role in my life.”
However, other athletes believe that sports hinder student performance in school, especially if academics will be their main focus in the future.
Because of this, sophomore Haley Knight prioritizes her academics over sports.
“I think education will get me farther—to have a more successful future,” Knight said
There is no right answer to whether or not a student should play sports in high school. Students must choose what benefits them the most—physically and mentally.