A day in the life of a student-athlete
12 months ago Triangle 0
Written By: Colby Roach
Life for college athletes can be a balancing act. Some students think they have it rough when a busy schedule means getting their homework done, attending club meetings, playing in an intramural game and then maybe running out to dinner with friends. Imagine tacking on an additional
four or more hours a day to train and practice, which not only forces an athlete to wake up earlier but also leaves them physically exhausted. And they do it, rain or shine.
Bryan College Men’s golfer Nick Scully making a putt to conclude his first round at Lake Tansi Golf Course in Crossville, Tenn.
While many student athletes receive scholarships to play their sport, many do not. Many athletes spend all that time and energy without an athletic scholarship because they will do anything to play.
There are 252 NCAA Division-1 football teams nationwide with about 125 players each and only 85 available scholarships. When you think about it, there are 31,500 Division-1 athletes who wake up earlier, work harder and do more in a day than most college students can say and that’s only in football.
A typical college student normally wakes up around 8 or 9 a.m., or even sometimes as late as 11 a.m., while most student-athletes are waking up for early morning practice around 5 a.m.
From there, athletes endure lengthy and physically enduring practices. Teams cover drills, team scrimmages and, of course, conditioning. After all of that is said and done, players still need to go to class like everybody else.
If you ask any college athlete, they will tell you it’s quite physically and mentally demanding, but it’s all worth it. They’ll tell you the sacrifice is worth the reward, and that the chance to collegiately play the sport they love and represent their school is priceless.
“Basketball is more than a game. It has taught me lessons that I can apply to the rest of my life outside of sports,” said Bryan Men’s basketball guard Tyler Yoder.
Other students will put certain labels on college athletes, believing that they’re the ones who party the most. But what most college students often forget is that they’re the lucky ones who get to enjoy their summer, while athletes stay on campus for offseason training and holiday competitions. The athletes also don’t get to see their families as much as regular students do.
Time for class. Being a student-athlete involves you going to class as all other students. Athletes are the most scrutinized students. They are required to complete many tasks each day with very little sleep.
Once classes are over for the day, athletes will then go grab a quick lunch before heading to team practice.
Practices can last from 2-6 p.m. During that time, coaches will put the team through drills and other things needed to perform better in their next game.
After practice, athletes will go grab a quick dinner before getting a shower and starting on homework for the next day.
Some athletes try and take on the task of
playing two sports, such as senior Nick Scully of Bryan College. Scully, whose main sport is golf also plays volleyball during the spring semester. Since golf is a year-around sport that means he is pulling double duty when it comes to practices and tournaments.
“Managing time effectively is essential to having success in the classroom, on the golf course and on the volleyball court,” said Scully.
When summer arrives, the practice doesn’t stop. Players are constantly practicing during the summer to stay in top shape for the upcoming season.
Players are often required to stay after the semester is over and return weeks before others return.
Basketball standout at Bryan College, Cody Knox gives us an inside look of what it is like for athletes during the summer.
Many college athletes believe that they will eventually turn professional.
“In 2008, 400,000 students participated in athletics, but only one of every 25 of those students went on to compete professionally. Depending on your team size that means one (or none) of you will actually earn a paycheck from upon graduation.”
“Practice never stops. Everyday that we do not practice, someone is out working us. To be successful you have to practice like you have never won, but play like you’ve never lost.”
The demand is at its highest during the last few weeks of school. While most students are preparing for final exams, student-athletes are preparing for conference tournaments as well as final exams.
The amount of pressure put on athletes during this time is sometimes overwhelming. Athletes get little sleep as it is, but sleep is reduced to a couple of hours each night during the last weeks of school.
Students are forced to work vigorously to stay on top of their classwork and perform on the field.
Being a student-athlete is equivalent to having two full-time jobs. Each job is equally important.
The bottom line for most athletes is that it’s all about time management. Being a student-athlete is the ultimate way to teach people how to manage all of their priorities.
Q & A: Former Bryan
Basketball player Brandon Arnold
Q: As a student- athlete, what were the hardest things for you?
A: Staying motivated to go to class after getting in late on Friday mornings from road games.
Q: What was the most rewarding part of being a student- athlete?
A: It was everything that I had worked for. Getting my tuition paid for was the most rewarding
Q: What kept you motivated to continue working hard?
A: I was constantly trying to be the best that I could be.
Colby Roach is a Communications: Journalism Option major. Colby is the sports editor for the Bryan Triangle. He has also completed an internship with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. You will find Colby at most local area sporting events or can follow him on Twitter