Balancing School and Athletics in a Pandemic

John Paul Talag

  • March 17, 2021

Photo Sent in By Gahr Tennis Coach

The pandemic has drastically affected students’ day-to-day lives. Online learning has shown a plethora of effects on the performance of students. While some have thrived in this virtual setting, others have substantially fallen behind, causing increased stress and anxiety.  Student-athletes, however, are unique as they must learn how to balance high levels of training in their sport while maintaining their grades. 10th-grade Varsity football player Allan Santana has created an efficient routine for himself to keep up in academics and football.

“My routine involves me doing daily weightlifting six days a week. Usually, school is over around 2 pm for me, so from there I usually do weight lifting for about two hours. After weight lifting, I do about thirty minutes to an hour of skills training. Once I’m finished, at around 6 is when I start my homework, and it usually takes me around 4 hours to finish it all.”

With these routines, some athletes have explored new and creative ways to handle school and training at the same time. 10th-grade Varsity cross country runner Edrianna Jo Simbol shares how she tackles studying for exams while running.

“The pandemic has allowed me to focus on school more while being able to run. During my workouts, I like to do my homework or review my topics while running. For example, I have a treadmill indoors, so I can put my textbook on top of my treadmill and study the material. It may seem childish or silly, but it has helped me keep up with my grades as well to allow me to stay in shape.”

But as teachers give out more assignments and increase student workload throughout the school year, time may not be on athletes’ sides every week. Balancing virtual learning and personal workout plans can sometimes become disorganized or even chaotic. Sacrificing free time, social life, and sleep is often necessary in order for one to stay on top of one’s schedule.

“School overall has been harder this year trying to balance all my classes as well as making sure I have enough time to workout. There are days where I have to work out at 12 or even at 1 in the morning because schoolwork took up my entire day,” Santana noted. 

“Some days it’s a struggle. I find myself finishing my assignments at 11:50 pm more and more often. It can be very stressful at times, but it’s just what I have to do to make sure I keep my GPA up and have adequate time to keep my workouts consistent.”

This adjustment to online learning and the pandemic, in general, has caused mental implications for students. Some individuals may lose hope and drive from continuous isolation and the lack of certainty for their future in sports, school, and life. 

“It’s been a struggle for some athletes to stay motivated during the pandemic. However, I always think on the brighter side and tell myself that everything will be worth it once the pandemic is over. While running, I like to think of my running team, and if they are running as well. It gives me the motivation to keep going and it inspires me to keep up with them,” explained Edrianna. 

Covid-19 has certainly brought new challenges for athletes and students. With the developed vaccine and cases slowly declining, however, the state of the pandemic has improved. As Gahr starts to reintroduce sports safely in-person, new ways to handle the balance of sports and school will continue for the foreseeable future.

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