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Balancing Sports and Grades: A Parent's Guide

elementary school high school middle school study skills Mar 10, 2024

I still remember those hectic days, juggling between my older son's soccer practice, Boy Scout meetings, and my younger son's baseball games, all while ensuring their grades didn't slip.

Managing a busy sports schedule for your children can feel like a full-time job. Between the practices, games, and tournaments, it's easy for schoolwork to take a back seat.

But it doesn't have to be that way. 

Here are some strategies to help your child excel on and off the field.

Prioritize Academics

Make it clear to your child that academics come first. 

This doesn't mean they can't enjoy their sports. But, it does mean that their schoolwork should always come first. Help them see the value of good grades. It can benefit them in the long run.

Parents often feel like kids work hard and could use a little break. At times, this is true. But life doesn't always care what you want. So, we, as parents, need to help guide our children. We must help them make tough decisions about school vs. sports.

Create a Schedule

Like a sports schedule, an academic schedule can be helpful. 

Set aside specific times for homework, studying, and other academic activities. This will help your child manage their time better. It will also ensure enough time for sports and schoolwork.

As parents, too often, we say, "Let's do this tomorrow." But tomorrow becomes next week. Then, the week after. Without realizing it, you now have an academic crisis.

We show the importance of grades by keeping to a schedule, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes at a time. We also teach our children the value of time management.

Communicate with Coaches

Don't hesitate to communicate with your child's coaches about their academic responsibilities.

Many coaches are understanding and willing to work with you to ensure your child isn't overloaded with too much. They may be able to adjust practice times or provide additional support.

But parents and kids alike fear the repercussions of an angry coach if their child prioritizes something else over their sport. 

As a coach, I get it.

I volunteer for hundreds of hours per year. I ask my athletes to make time for me because I make time for them. 

So, if you must tell the coaches your child can't make it, just be sure you tried to cut something else first.

After all, your child did commit to the team. Though school comes first, we may send our kids the wrong message about priorities.

Use Downtime Wisely

There's often downtime during sports events, particularly those all-day weekend tournaments.

Use this time wisely by bringing along homework or study materials. I know the kids won't want to do this. But, spending 20 minutes in a coffee shop or car is much easier than finding motivation at 10 pm on Sunday. That's the "magical" time when your child remembers they have a test Monday morning.

Even if they have nothing due, taking a little break from the tournament can be calming. It's also a great way to get ahead in school.

Seek Academic Support

If your child struggles to keep up with their schoolwork, we can help.

We pride ourselves on being a learning center and not just a tutor.

What's the difference? A tutor answers questions. We like to think we solve problems.

We teach our students more than just how to get homework done. We teach them to think for themselves, work independently, and ensure they have the fundamentals to do well in school. In just one to two hours per week, we improve your child's grades and give them the confidence they need to excel academically in the future.

Remember, balancing sports and grades is all about creating a balance. It's not about sacrificing one for the other but finding a way for your child to excel in both areas. With some planning and communication, it's possible to help your child thrive both on and off the field.

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