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November 17, 2023

Finding a balance

Bailey Elliot is using her study time wisely. A calendar helps Elliot keep track of tests and homework.
Bailey Elliot is using her study time wisely. A calendar helps Elliot keep track of tests and homework.

By Morgan Maiden

Finding a balance between school work and high school sports can be difficult.

Wake up, four classes and then a two hour practice is how many students at Freedom High School spend a day. After two hours of practice, a mountain of homework is waiting to be completed. However, students aren’t the only ones with a busy schedule; the coaches also take time out of a full teaching schedule to help students and improve their athletic careers.

Travel teams add more to an already packed schedule of high school sports and the work load. Many players participate on travel teams to help with the prospects of college scholarships.

Freshman Riley Waldrop is on the varsity gymnastics team, as well as travel gymnastics. Waldrop spends more than 20 hours a week year around at the travel gymnastics gym. After school, Waldrop practices with the travel team until 8 p.m., then practices with FHS for two more hours.  After a 15 hour day, Waldrop spends the rest of her time completing homework.

“My travel team requires me to be there everyday, so there is no option to skip practice for homework,” Waldrop said. “At school, I try to get everything done, so that I don’t have much when I get home. I use a paper calendar to keep track of everything I have to get done.”

Sophomore Nik Becker is on the FHS cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and field teams. He is also a participant in countless clubs.  By 7 p.m., Becker comes home and prioritizes all of his work, in order to focus.

“I try not to stay up too late, because I know I have practice the next day,” Becker said. “So I prioritize my work and get done, is what is most important for the next day.”

Some people find it difficult to figure out the best study habits. Becker finds that turning off his phone and studying alone works best for him.  Also, Becker tends to go to school early in the mornings and study in the library.

Many students state that stress is a big part of high school. Coaches and teachers see it all the time with students. Woodgrove High School lacrosse coach Jason Shartsky says when big tests are going on during school, he can see a difference in an athlete’s performance due to the stress. When the boys are stressed he tries to give them their space, because he was once in their shoes and understands how they feel.

“The way I like to run practice is just to play the game and not worry about everything else,” Shartsky said. “ I like to tell them to leave their problems by the door because we are here to play.”  

One of the FHS athletic mottos is that four years of balancing school and sports helps prepare students for life. Waldrop and Becker, along with other FHS athletes, find tools like calendars and study spaces to help balance school and sports. At times, it may seem impossible.

“Balancing school and sports is like a juggling act,” Waldrop said.

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