Its a new school year and many varsity athletes have started practice before they have even opened a book. While there is always the story of the C student who gets a full athletic scholarship, that is the exception not the rule. So, how do you help your student keep up their grades while still playing a varsity sport?
1. Stay Connected
Many schools post grades and homework online. Check to make sure your student is completing their work. If your school does not offer this, email your student's teachers and ask them to contact you should they see low grades and incomplete homework. You can't help if you do not know what is going on.
2. Talk To the Coach
Coaches can be a wonderful influence on their players. Ask the coach to stress the importance of hard work off the field as well as on the field. Most coaches are happy to do this and understand that their responsibility goes far beyond helping their team score points.
3. Work at A Desk
Students do most of their work on laptops making it easy to do work in bed. Bed is for sleeping not working. Having a work station with good lighting keeps students focused and organized. If they work in bed, its much easier to fall asleep and not complete work properly.
4. Penalize Poor School Performance Properly
For many student athletes, sports is their place to unwind, let off steam, and feel good about themselves. Instead of threatening to eliminate sports for poor grades, take away things like video games, going to parties, and use of their phone.
5. Set Goals
Not everyone is going to be a student athlete at Harvard. Assess your student's true academic potential and set goals they can realistically achieve. Advanced placement chemistry is not the best option for the science student who struggles to get a C.
6. Get Extra Help
Academic tutors can be costly, however, there are other options. Find a senior looking for extra money to help your student with their homework. If there is a local college, put up a posting for an academic tutor. If both are out of your price range, go to the teacher and arrange extra help during office hours.
7. Be Encouraging
It can be frustrating for both parent and student when grades go down a notch during the athletic season. When faced with a bad grade, discuss where your student went wrong and how they can avoid the pitfall in the future. Tell them you believe in them and you know they can do it. Tearing them down will only lead to poorer grades.
8. Organization is Everything
One of the biggest struggles facing students is organization. Every Sunday night, do a backpack check and remove all the crumpled papers and help them organize them into folders or binders. Be sure their work station is free of items unrelated to work.
9. Remove Distractions
While they may need a laptop or ipad while studying, they do not need their phone. Phones should not be allowed during study time. There is nothing more distracting than the pings of Snapchat, Instagram, and Group Chats while trying to write an essay.
10. Value Education
Children's values come from their parents. If education is valued and encouraged at home, a child will value it too. For the majority of students, sports will become just a hobby rather than a profession. School must come before play.