Finals Week: Why Athletes Have An Advantage

Vital LeadershipAthletic Leadership, Career, Mental Toughness, Students, SuccessLeave a Comment

Why Athletes Have an Advantage | Sports Leadership | Vital Leadership

Athletes are smarter.

No. Not necessarily. But statistics do show that athletes have better grades.

In a study done at Baker University in 2009, 51.8% of athletes reported having a GPA of 3.5 or above, while 39.8% of non-athletes report the same level of performance.  In a 3-year study in North Carolina, the findings showed that the mean GPA for athletes in the study was a 2.86, while the mean GPA for non-athletes was only 1.96. The mean graduation percentage for athletes was 99.56 percent as compared to 94.66 percent for non-athletes. Over 285,000 athletes were a part of that study.

So, athletes may or may not be smarter, but they do seem to apply themselves better in school. The reasons could be many – from incentive to participate in sports to the self-discipline that sports require being translated into better discipline in schoolwork to better time management.

Let’s talk about game time. Athletes have to prepare. They warm up and get mentally focused for the game. No athlete shows up at the last minute and expects a good performance. Athletes don’t even play unless they have been to several practices and have prepared their body and their mind to learn new skills. They have listened to their coaches. They have slept well, warmed up well, fed their bodies well and are ready to play.

It’s time to take your hardest final. How confident are you?

That depends on what effort you put into the class, right? That depends on how well you paid attention along the way. How good were your notes? How well did you follow up on test questions that you missed earlier in the semester? How many “practice” sessions did you put in? How much did you listen to “your coach?”

All of these things contribute to your confidence level at test time. You believe you know what you need to know. You eat a good breakfast, and you go in with plenty of sleep. Right?

Other than the sleep part and, maybe even the breakfast part, preparation for test time and game time don’t vary. And the sleep and fuel part should not vary either.

For some reason, in the game of school, there is an image of “cool” around pulling an “all-nighter.” And, often, breakfast is a donut or coffee. Would your teammates look at you fondly if they knew you stayed up all night before the state championship game? And, if you only had a donut inside you, would you even expect to have a chance to win?

So, if you are an athlete and you know how to prepare and win on the court or on the field, isn’t it time to do those same things in the classroom?

And remember that confidence comes from preparation. You wouldn’t feel good about sports without practice and concentration and conversations with your coaches/teachers. Give your best to your school work now. As athletes usually do.

And non-athletes can, too.


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