The Art of Balancing School and Sports

Recognizing varsity student athletes with 4.0 GPAs

Finding the balance between school and sports is what separates good athletes from great ones. There are many athletes who find success on the playing field, but those who push themselves to be as successful in the classroom are the ones varsity football coach, Charles Porterfield, thinks it’s important to spotlight.

“Achieving and maintaining a 4.0 GPA is no small task,” Porterfield said. “When you pair that with balancing a sport in high school, it becomes a massive feat. Athletes who are able to maintain a 4.0 GPA are true examples of hard work, dedication, and time management.”

In order to play a sport, an athlete must have at least a 2.0 GPA. Porterfield encourages his athletes to go above and beyond the minimum requirement. He has several things he does to promote academic success.

“One of the main things we do is make sure we always recognize those individuals, whether it’s during a team meeting, in a parent email, or a meeting with community members,” Porterfield said. “Any member of the football program who is doing the right thing, will be recognized in some way.”

Juniors Seth and Bryce Tenberg, both varsity football players, are 4.0 athletes. Bryce attributes his success both on and off the field to sleep.

“If you get enough sleep, you can focus easier in class,” Bryce said. “This allows you to have to do less work outside of school so you can focus on your sport. I like to get between eight to nine hours of sleep each night.”

Seth affords his success to balance.

“I am taking four AP classes,” Seth said, “but I mix in life fitness and gym classes to give myself a break mentally, while I improve physically.”

Sophomore Robby Smith, also a varsity football player, has a similar strategy.

“I took Algebra II Honors, World History I Honors and Biology Honors,” Smith said. “I would also recommend throwing in a less labor intensive class, which for me is band and gym. That way you don’t overwork yourself and don’t feel as pressured.”

Elizabeth Todd, varsity field hockey coach, understands the struggles of student athletes.

“Maintaining a 4.0 is something to be proud of,” Todd said. “Maintaining a 4.0 while putting the time commitment into sports as well is something to be proud of and recognized.”

Todd believes sports and classwork go hand in hand.

“A big reason to play sports is to learn self discipline and how to deal with difficult situations in life,” Todd said. “If the coaches said ‘work hard here, but don’t try there,’ it would undermine the entire message we want to get across. Sports and high school are temporary, but the lessons you learn here can be long lasting.”

One of her varsity players, senior Anna Lee, has been able to successfully balance athletics and school. She attributes her success to time management.

“There’s already so little time in the day for you to get your work done that you can’t afford to waste any time that you have,” Lee said. “I go home right after practice and go right to work. I study whenever I get the chance, whether it’s after practice or right before a game.”

Ffiona Coulson, also a varsity field hockey player, also attributes her success to time management.

“It can be difficult,” Coulson said. “I just have to really focus on any homework I have as soon as I get home and make sure I manage my time well. On game days, I often have to do homework in the bleachers while the JV team plays before us, as well as when I get home after the game.”

For athletes who are struggling with keeping up with their classwork, experts have advice, get organized, write down all your assignments and practices to plan when you are going to get everything done, don’t procrastinate on assignments or fall behind in your school work, use your travel time to get work done.