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Soccer versus School: Navigating the Challenges and Excelling at Both

Playing soccer should not require that a youngster abandons their education. Teenage years are an important period in a child’s life when they are able to adapt to varying circumstances. While this is the stage of life when mental capacity and ability to do different things develops, care must be taken to avoid an overburdening schedule.

With proper management and a well-thought out process, children can strike a good balance between participating in soccer and excelling at academics. Sports and academics can co-exist when they are well integrated. Hence, a well-planned schedule will involve a realistic understanding and estimation of the child’s abilities in each activity, with due regard for the level of difficulty demanded. With this foundation, parents will have a pragmatic map for helping the child navigate the hurdles of both worlds and the child can overcome the challenges and enjoy the rewards to be derived from each area.

There is no rigid set of things to do that will guarantee the best soccer student. But the following are guidelines for getting a good understanding of how to achieve a minimum standard of stability.

Time Management

Any achievement worthwhile, whether soccer or academics as a standalone pursuit, requires making personal sacrifices. Because there is only so much time we have in a day, pursuing both soccer and academics will demand that the child make some adjustments to existing activities in order to make free time. Since schedules will vary between class, practice, paper submissions, and games, hours that may have been previously spent on hanging out with friends, viewing television or browsing the internet will have to be reserved for rest as well as for keeping the body and mind in the right condition.

Taking Responsibility

Owning the process is a great way for the achievement of this balance and self-motivation. If a child treats both as mandatory rather than as learning experiences, it will probably be more difficult. A good approach is to help the child understand each one as being complementary to the other and indeed that is how it will increasingly feel. Soccer is not merely a contact sport; the more intelligent players who literally think on their feet are better on the pitch. In turn, a child’s academics can benefit from the agility and discipline that comes with soccer.


The life of a student athlete requires dedication to a flexible timetable. A determination to succeed at both has to be matched by a commitment to adherence to the timetable. There will be times when the apparent repetition of tasks may grow monotonous, stirring temptations to abandon them for something more fun like hanging out a few more minutes, watching an extra 30-minute show or going to bed later than usual. These may not necessarily prove detrimental if done occasionally but breaking good habits is generally not an effective route to success.

Managing Stress

Academics arguably come with more pressures than sports. When a paper is due or a test is coming up, this is not the same as when you have to turn up on a field for practice or play. Some courses probably need more time than others and that could increase one’s stress levels. Mitigating against this is possible through proper planning, while consciously prioritizing those courses that require more attention. Avoid putting off any necessary study or due papers, but follow the planned schedule. As the academic term progresses, the child will determine whether to take some time off allocations that are relatively easy, adding them to more difficult courses. Overall, following a flexible calendar and beginning working on tests almost immediately as they are assigned helps ensure that too much will not be accumulated for an impossible “later”. Procrastination is always the friendly-looking enemy and it’s best to steer clear.

Not Achieving Good Grades?

Periodic communication with the child about their school performance lets the parent know what amendments need to be made. In the case where grades seem to be on the decline, individual conversations with the teachers and coach could help identify subtleties that can be taken to account. These may then be incorporated into the child’s schedule to effect improvements. Accompanied by a reassuring tone that he will be able to work it out, the child can be made to appreciate an extra bit of commitment to time-saving tips. All the while, the goal in participating in soccer must remain having fun and improving their knowledge of the game.


The art of balancing more than one interest is a skill that is best developed as early as is possible. With adequate guidance and support from adults, there is little doubt that the youngster will be able to master this art within the most reasonable timeframe possible and go on to live a productive and fulfilling life.


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