Louisiana High School Athletic Association Executive Director Kenny Henderson knows what the life of a student athlete is like.
Before being named as the man in charge of the day-to-day operation of the association of more than 400 high schools, Henderson was the principal of Ruston High.
As an educator first, Henderson understands the ordeal of young people who are facing the responsibilities of their first taste of independence as high school students. He is especially concerned that participating in sports is just one part of the educational process and that student-athletes need to budget their time between studies and extracurricular activities. For a great majority of those in school, what they learn will carry them further in life than the wonderful things they can do with a ball.
So, in his most recent newsletter, Henderson wrote these words of advice:
➤ Student-athletes are busy people.
➤ A typical day may start with a glass of OJ, then it’s off to school from mid-morning to late afternoon, then practice, then homework, squeeze in dinner, a little “American Idol,” studying for that biology quiz, walk the dog, shower (if there’s time), and bed time. This doesn’t include phone chats with family and friends and responding to that endless flood of texts and e-mails from your bffs.
➤ We get it – you’ve got a crazy life, but if we could have your attention for five minutes, we’d greatly appreciate it.
Develop a game plan
Henderson says time management is crucial when you’re a student-athlete. You have to remember that you are a student first and an athlete second. Your performance in the classroom is just as important as what you do on the field, so here are a few tips on how to stay on top of your hectic schedule.
1. Turn your cell phone off or on silent when doing homework or studying for a test. The fewer distractions you have, the faster you’ll be able to finish your schoolwork.
2. Facebook is cool, but it’s time consuming! Try cutting in half the time you spend on social networking sites. You’ll be amazed with the extra time you have, and you can use it to get ahead on schoolwork, so you’ll have less to do later.
3. If you know you will be missing class for a game or practice, make arrangements early in the semester with your teacher.
4. If you’re not driving, use the car ride home from school or practice to get a jump start on homework and studying.
5. Turn off the TV!
6. Purchase a planner. Write down all of your test, quiz and project due dates for the month, semester or year so you know when you’ll be busy and when you’ll have time to breathe. This helps you stay on top of your schoolwork.
7. GOOGLE Calendar is an electronic planner. Type in all of your test, quiz and due dates and it will send you a text message to remind you when something is due!
8. Away games are always fun, but they can also be a great time to get some homework done. Take along a book for the ride and knock out some of that reading on the drive over to your rival’s school. It’s less you’ll have to do when you get home that night.
9. Use your weekends wisely! Weekdays can be very hectic with school, practice and games. Use the extra time you have on Saturday and Sunday to get a jump start on next week’s work or catch up on some of the assignments you may have missed.
10. It’s OK to say no. Not everyone understands that student-athletes have a lot on their plates. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say no if someone asks you to do something. Make sure that you are comfortable managing your current schedule before adding on to your to-do list.
And the Clarion Herald would like to add, most of all, enjoy this wonderful period of your life. It will evoke fond memories that will last a lifetime.
The association has an informative Web site in which the executive director publishes a monthly column. www.lhsaa.org.
Ron Brocato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.