Schools are Pushing Student Athletes Too Much and Here’s How


Christina Anderson

Student athletes are often asked to practice long hours daily while juggling schoolwork.

Naomi Kyei-Asare, Staff Writer

Imagine you just went through what seemed to be a never-ending six hours of school with homework spilling out of your backpack, just to go to a grueling two-hour practice.  Sore and beaten to the verge of collapse, you arrive home with eyes halfway shut and then…BOOM! You remember that you have two tests to study for and some other homework to get done.

This is what it is like to be a student-athlete in high school today.  While sports are rewarding activities,  the stress that comes from the time commitment involved in them can take a huge toll on not only your grades but also on your mental health.

The article “Stress and School Sports” from the Ohio University Athletic Administration department takes an in-depth look at adolescents feeling overwhelmed over the need to balance school and sports. The report states, “One study noted 30-35% of adolescent athletes reported overreaching. Feeling burned out can negatively impact other aspects of life.” This report goes on to examine how even though sports has some really good benefits, such as getting exercise or even feeling a part of a team, it can also do just as much damage making the teen feel kind of like they are drowning or in over their head.

There is a difference between a lot of work and too much pressure. As a student-athlete or a student who engages in any extracurricular activity –  there will be a feeling at some point that the workload is too much. However, this becomes a problem when the balance between school and sports is off and it starts to take a toll on the student.

The organization NCSA (National College Student Athlete), a college sports recruiting group, details this issue. The article “Can Being a Student-Athlete Become Too Demanding?”

states,  “What parents and other professionals need to keep on their radar is whether their student-athlete(s) is feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks at hand, or the pressure to perform those tasks by a certain level or standard. A full plate is one thing. Anxiety and stress brought on by the people who are supposed to be a support team, [no matter the intent], is another.” This is another indication of how sports can be a good thing. It also raises the question of how much of a good thing it is if it starts to negatively affect a student’s life.

Being able to fix this problem or make student-athletes feel cared about starts with the school. Schools should take steps to provide accommodations to student-athletes to lessen their workload in both school and their sport. If you asked any athlete if they would like to have a little more free time in their lives outside of schoolwork or practice, they would respond “Of course.” The truth is, these athletes are often just too overwhelmed and stressed which is hindering their quality of life.

Schools should try to incorporate an open period for student-athletes where it best fits into their schedule for them to be able to get work done, de-stress, and even get extra help.  As for the hectic practice, scheduled athletes should be allowed two practice days every month to take a mental health break or prepare for any big tests, etc. This would help to limit the time an athlete is on campus.  It is very consuming to their lives for them to be at school for about 8 hours straight. Schools could accommodate this by giving athletes at least a day off a week to be able to rest, destress, and work on whatever they need to. That doesn’t mean they won’t use this time to practice by themselves judgment-free but they would also be able to spend time on other things.

Schools should not be alone in trying to help student-athletes overall. However, Families could contribute to helping their athlete’s overall well-being by doing their best to make time to come to at least some of the athletes’ games so that they feel like they have a support system and like they’re not all in it by themselves. The family support system would provide a sense of community for them to have at home and to feel less alone.