Traditionally, student athletes are stereotyped as being low achievers in academics and even when they manage to have decent grades at the end of a school term, many do not believe those good grades were earned. Some people may believe that someone else wrote a paper or took a test for the star athlete or an instructor gave a passing grade simply because of an athlete’s position on the school team.
Contrary to this long-standing stereotype, the realities for athletes have shifted. Schools and coaches have begun to place a greater emphasis on academics and athletes who cannot pull their own weight in a classroom are not welcome to play sports on a team. Student athletes are called on to make the grades or get cut from the team.
As a result of this new posturing by teachers, coaches, parents and other mentors, there are many benefits to being a student athlete. These students have access to private tutoring, personal trainers that help them to maintain stamina and physical wellness, athletic scholarships, and other positive reinforcements. There are some benefits, however, that a student athlete cannot gain through any material resource.
Because the student athlete is required to juggle class assignments, team rehearsals, socializing with peers and family commitments, he must know how to manage time well. Some student athletes even add the responsibility of a part-time job to the mix. The presence of athletics places a serious strain on a traditional student’s time. Studies have shown, though, that the more responsibilities a student has, the more he rises to the challenge of taking control of how he spends his time. This higher demand for a student’s time usually creates a higher performing student, both in the game and in the classroom.
The sports that students play often call on them to be good team players. They learn to be cooperative with fellow players, empathize with opponents, follow codes of good sportsmanship and respect team unity. The team is a country and the moral laws in the land of athletics frequently demand that students live as responsible sports citizens. This sense of allegiance and patriotism translate quite well in the real world. Good athletes become good world citizens. They learn to serve others and uphold many ideals that push humanity a little further forward. This makes them strong leaders. They are respected by their peers and others look to them for positive influence.
Student athletes must use critical thinking skills in order to execute strategies for winning games. The plays that have been worked out in the privacy of team practices or locker rooms really reveal a player’s ability to think critically and solve problems quickly and with minimal casualties. The best student athletes must know which play to execute and when to execute it. This is not always as easy as it seems to eager fans. It requires knowing your team as well as you know the game you are playing. It also requires that an athlete can think critically under pressure and offer a solution that places his team closer to a desired outcome. Athletics requires students to be rational and clear and to move with some degree of precision.
On the field or court, athletes have learned how to develop a sibling-like connection with fellow teammates. Despite small quarrels that inevitably arise, they know they must be in their teammates’ corners, no matter what. This kind of relationship building enables them to manage the relationships they have in classrooms, in their neighborhoods or in their families. They must develop a degree of negotiation tactics that allows them to always put the integrity of their relationships above any chaos. Those relationships often call on them to be open to many diverse viewpoints, heritages and backgrounds. This ability to be a stellar navigator of the human spirit carries athletes far in their chosen careers and travels.
The student athlete knows better than most other students that winning may never look the same way twice. Sometimes, even when they lose the game, they win by having an amazing experience. They learn to take hard hits, fall and get back up to keep trying. The very idea of playing a sport builds a sense of perseverance that students can get in few other places than through athletics.
Steven Doumet is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to athletics. In this article, he offers a few benefits of being a student athlete and aims to encourage further study with an athletic administration degree.