For many students attending college, participating in sports is a vital part to their experience. Whether they participate in a formal sport and are on an school team or are on an intramural team, sports take up a significant amount of time. There are many benefits to being on an athletic team in college and can be incredibly helpful to improving your college experience. However, for all of these benefits, it can often be challenging to find the perfect balance to focusing on school and still making time to participate in sports. Here are some tips to tackle this challenge successfully.

Plan your schedule

The first step to successfully balancing sports and school is to carefully plan out your schedule. You definitely do not want to sign up for classes that conflict with your practice time or vice versa. Most coaches make players aware of the practice and game schedule well ahead of time, so make sure you have this calendar on hand when signing up for classes or other responsibilities. Go over your schedule multiple times before finalizing it and re-evaluate each week so you’re aware of what’s coming up.

Get better at time management

The key to balancing sports and college is being great at time management. No matter what you’re involved in, you’ll find it’s difficult to juggle multiple responsibilities if you aren’t managing your time properly. When it comes to sports, utilize any travel time to and from games. Use your weekends wisely and if practice is canceled one day, use that time to study. Get your schoolwork done as soon as possible and even work ahead so you aren’t sacrificing in one area or another.

Talk to your friends

You might feel stressed out over trying to balance your academics and athletics, but most of your teammates are likely in the same situation. Talk to them to see how they’re handling the pressure of sports and school and you might gain some useful knowledge. It can also help to study together and motivate each other to avoid procrastinating.

Learn when to say no

You’re likely involved in other organizations besides sports; it’s part of college. Not to mention having a social life! While being involved in a lot can be fun and looks good to future employers or grad school, it’s also important to learn when to say no to taking on more responsibility or joining other activities. Sometimes you might have to skip a night out with your friends or turn down a leadership role in another organization in order to better focus on your academics and the sport you play.

Take some time off

Every sport has an off-season, so it’s important to make the most of this time. Really focus on your academics and use this opportunity to get involved in other activities. Consider volunteering more or working at a part-time job. Remember to avoid wearing yourself too thin and make rest and relaxation a priority when you have free time.