Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Sports and Study Schedule for Teen Athletes
What's the best way for students to fill up their available hours between school, sports and everything else? If student athletes aren't making use of a schedule and support from the adults in their lives, they may be losing out on more than just much-needed sleep.
Consider the most admirable and successful pro-athletes. No one steps in and whittles away at their time without a darn good reason. It's far too valuable a resource to waste on things that really don't matter.
Between work and school, students should also schedule time for friends, family and personal interests and hobbies. It's also vitally important for students to get enough sleep.
So, with all of these limits, the secret is to make the best use out of the "filler hours," the spaces during your day that aren't otherwise productive and which eat up your time. Here's where they hide most often in high school: in hallways before school starts, during lunchtime after you've eaten, in class, after you're finished with your work (but still in your seat, waiting for the clock to move) and after practice, before you head home. Turn on your computer or log into Facebook, and you've just said goodbye to another hour.
Schedule the rest of your day around those events that are most important: school, homework, sports practices and games. Make use of the filler hours by making them work for, instead of against, your productivity.
If your student plays basketball, for example, a good working schedule might look something like this:
Monday: Review notes from the previous week before school. Have a snack after school, then head to work (4 hours, max) or volunteer. Eat a healthy dinner, and don't open your email yet! Do your homework, taking notes on anything you think will turn up later on an exam (use color-coded note cards to keep subjects separate).
Tuesday: Head to basketball practice after school. Afterward, set a timer for 30 minutes and restrict yourself to answering email or checking your messages. Eat a healthy dinner before doing your homework. Restrict yourself to two hours maximum for study; review work that's been returned and add notes to color-coded cards.
Wednesday: Grab a snack after school, then attend practice. Get thee to the computer lab or study group for an hour. Midweek is also a good time to schedule activities that require coordinating schedules, such as club activities and school committees. Don't blow off dinner. Get on track for exams and papers; do research after dinner, leaving an hour before bed to read or enjoy a midweek hobby break (no video games!).
Thursday: Don't lose hours between the end of practice and your night game: study during down-time. Eat a healthy dinner. While on the road, make the most of the commute. If you have homework after the game, make sure you don't use the computer right up to bedtime. Give yourself an hour of screen-free downtime instead, and review for Friday exams.
Friday: Train with a partner or teammate. Make sure you're on track for class on Monday; ask teachers about upcoming projects and exams. Eat a snack, then head home after school. Limit screen time to an hour before bed. Don't stay up too late!
Saturday/Sunday: Work or volunteer for 2-6 hours. If your study group meets on the weekend, be sure you have specific goals and come prepared. Make sure to review notes for Monday. The weekend is a great time to work on team building activities. Work on conditioning or cross-training doing an activity you enjoy.
Ideally, students should only work between 10 and 20 hours per week during the school year if they keep a part-time job. Research indicates that working more hours than 20 hours a week may actually be academically harmful to students.
Studying for more than 2 hours per night isn't helpful, either, according to Professor Harris Cooper of Duke University, whose research has shown doing homework consistently and at an appropriate level does translate into good grades and higher student achievement.
The secret is in organization, so that little things don't take over and monopolize valuable time.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.