STUDENTS BALANCING SPORTS AND ACADEMICS
Ashwin is a good student and top class Squash player. This blog is written by him.
Sports and academics are two of the most important facets of a student’s life. One keeps the brain healthy while the other keeps the mind and the body healthy. It is generally seen that students, also sometimes with the support of parents, keep focusing on one of the two while neglecting the other. This leads to a creation in an imbalance in the minds of the students. Although most students concentrate on academics, they neglect sports and exercise.
I can share an interesting observation from my short life. During my early schooling years (i.e. from kindergarten to class 6), I lea a very unhealthy lifestyle. I used to eat junk almost daily, waste my time watching T.V. or just roaming around in my locality in my free time and do no exercise. Although I was academically above average in my class, I was obese, and had a very unorganised lifestyle. The second ‘phase ’of my life (class 6- 10) was the most important one. The period which defines me. My father put me into Squash because he thought I was directionless and was really feeling helpless for me. Initially, it felt like torture but gradually my life changed completely. I became physically much fitter and to my surprise my academic performance was my best during this time (ranging from 94-98%). During my 11th and 12th, being a science student, my physical activity dropped to a certain extent. Although I was studying for 8-10 hrs in my class 12th, I scored 93% in my board exams even though my study hours were almost triple as compared to my previous schedule. What does this indicate? I think the answer is evident.
Why is sport important?
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body build more connections between nerves, leading to increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, and better-developed problem-solving skills. In short, playing sports helps your brain grow and makes it work better. Exercising is a great way to get out of the stressful academic life that is all about homework, presentations, and group projects. In fact, playing sports helps students relax and reduce their anxiety. I personally think that I would go crazy without going to the gym at least three times a week. Health care professionals recommend physical activity as a key ingredient to any stress-management activity. In sports, there is leadership. Becoming a captain gives practical experience in leadership which would prove invaluable in later life. Sports active students are top scholars. Sport
builds their ability to concentrate and focus in class. Regular exercise improves our energy levels. Sports students can be active throughout the day without getting tired. Regular exercise boosts the performance of the lungs. They are able to absorb more oxygen into the body which is used in the generation of energy. Sports students can perform tasks with fewer struggles. Athletes definitely have better physical capacity than non-athletes.
It is commonly believed that sport is only running fast, scoring more runs or scoring more goals. The essence of sports is much more than such things. It teaches us a lot about life as well as ourselves.
Academics are important!
Education raises us above the other animals. Education empowers us. If we merely regard learning, studying, as the means to secure a certain institution accredited accolade, then we may have acquired some knowledge, but little humanity. Thus academics help us to gain knowledge regarding various subjects and to a certain extent helps us to develop a better understanding about the world. Academics are also important because it directly decides the positive outcomes of students after finishing school as it determines our employability and the major key to our later life and career.
How to be a student-athlete?
A student needs to keep certain things in mind to excel in both academics and sports simultaneously. Honestly, maintaining a balance is much easier for those students who are more focused on academics and indulge in sports/exercise just for leisure. For such students, the primary focus should be on finding out an hour daily and exhaust oneself by doing basic exercises such as running, skipping, crunches etc. The real challenge is for the athletes who find it difficult to focus on academics while investing major chunk of their energy and time on sports. Thus, it is more important for such students to use their time more efficiently. Firstly, students should focus on showing up for their classes even if they do not feel like being punctual always. One must pay extra attention in class and take good notes and try to understand the topics and their fundamentals properly so that they need to invest less time on learning them again from the beginning while approaching exams. Students must be proactive in class and keep their minds alert. They should not hesitate to approach teachers and form study groups. Most importantly, students must aim to study small portions daily and keep it consistent so that they do not have to devote long hours during exams. The brain must be trained to work at a certain time, consistently. One should try to earn good grades by working hard and smart as there is are no shortcuts and no magic tricks. So, cutting corners is a big no-no. Education is really important. There should always be a belief that you can excel in academics as well if you put in your mind into it. Finally, make academics a sport and compete in a class room by viewing your assessments as challenges to meet. Competition along with cooperation makes everyone better. The efficiency a student-athlete develops in assimilating information, managing time will prove of immense benefit in later life.