It’s a tough gig being the parent of a student-athlete. Demands that come with the expectations and competing priorities of a student-athlete can create a feeling of being pulled from pillar to post. In everyone else’s life but your own. Being a parent, a worker, a partner, and a homemaker can be a tough enough gig on its own. Throw a student-athlete or two in the mix and you have yourself a world of chaos if you don’t prepare.
This is your athlete’s race, but you are right there alongside them the whole time. It takes stamina, dedication, and motivation. It takes laser beam focus and a lot of hard work. If you don’t warm-up and prepare for the race, you will soon run out of puff. Not only must you warm-up and prepare, but you also need to recover, repair and rejuvenate. You must look after YOU if you want to host this gig. In today’s blog, I am going to show you how to be a ‘BOSS’ parent and handle the expectations and competing priorities of a student-athlete.
Your athlete is going to have many expectations and competing priorities in their time as a student-athlete. Time management will need to be of an impeccable standard. We as adults have a little more grasp on the time management concept (honestly, mine could use some brushing up). Your athlete will also need to learn some solid time management strategies. It is my suggestion that you both sit down together and create your schedules. When you are creating your schedule you will need to take your athletes entire schedule into account. Organise and sort your time with theirs in a way that you won’t find yourself with overlapping time requirements.
I have some amazing resources that can help you organise both yours and your athletes time to compliment each other. If you are interested in checking them out, head on over to College Bound Athletes. There you will have all the resources you could need at your fingertips. I have blog posts that cover how you can create an effective schedule to suit both you and your athlete. Check them out at PEAinternational.
Your athlete’s education and sport are going to be competing for their time and attention, consistently. If you can find the right balance you can certainly create a system that complements education and sport. One that doesn’t take up all of your time. With a good system and structure – you will effectively handle your athlete’s expectations and competing priorities. You will handle them without losing your mind, without losing your time, and without the use of a recruiting service.
I teach our clients my SNORES Method. It’s a strategy that helps both parent and athlete to effectively balance all elements of the college sports journey. Would you like more information on my SNORES method? Simply head over and join College Bound Athletes, my free private Facebook community. There you will find out all about my SNORES Method and much more.
What you need to know is, what major priorities your athlete has at school. And which priorities can take a step back for a bit? Your athlete’s education needs to be A1 at all times or they won’t be accepted into college anyway. Being aware of which priorities stand higher than others, allows you to see where you can put your priorities also. By planning ahead, you will have a much clearer schedule that fits both your needs, time, and attention.
To last the entirety of the journey, you need systems and structures in place to keep you on track. Being organised is going to be your most valuable tool. When you are creating those schedules with your athlete, include absolutely everything. There will need to be consistent patterns and routine to help run things without disruption. Record sleep times, meals, training, study, work, cleaning, shopping, and anything else that takes up any minutes of your day. When it’s all laid out in front of you, its easier to come up with a plan. One that will allow you to be everywhere, without feeling like you are running out of steam.
By starting early, right up there with priorities and planning, is pacing. Giving yourself time to plan, gives you the added luxury of being able to pace. This race is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Pacing yourself will allow you to focus on one thing at a time. You can tick those priorities high on the list off because you give yourself time to pace and keep focused. My number one piece of advice I will always give before anything else is starting early and don’t stop. Prioritise, plan and pace are what will set you apart from every other college-bound parent out there. You will have your show together, while the rest are still pulling their hair out with a look of despair.
Dealing with the expectations and competing priorities of your student-athlete is going to require you being able to balance like you are on a tightrope. If you think you have had to multi-task before, you are going to have to multi-task now more than ever. Creating that perfect life balance will give you time to stand back and recharge each week. You will have every time frame accounted for and you won’t burn out from lack of sleep and poor nutrition. Yes, I know as parents we will skip many meals to stay on top of things. The problem is, it has quite the opposite effect.
If you are not looking after your own nutrition, it will lead to eventual burnout. Burnout will result in unwanted feelings of stress and overwhelm. Balance everything right and it’s possible to have a routine that is solid and effective. One that ensures you are getting the rest you need to keep going. There needs to be a perfect balance of sleep, nutrition, organisation, relaxation, education and sport. Focus on these six elements and you will find the right balance. Neither of you will need to worry about burning out before the finish line.
Don’t Forget Downtime For You
The one thing I really want you to remember, is you have to schedule downtime for YOU! It is so easy to let things get away from us. We end up giving up all our downtime to squeeze everything in. It is imperative that you give yourself time to detach. Time to not think about college or sports, or work. Disconnect and give yourself the gift of quality ‘you’ time. Refresh, refuel and rejuvenate.
Take advantage of your athlete’s heavy study periods and training sessions. Take that time to stop, breathe, and re-set. Remember though, you will have to make sure that it goes into your schedule. Don’t try to squeeze it in if you get time. You won’t find time unless you skip something that’s on your schedule already. Include downtime in your schedule. The expectations and competing priorities of your athlete won’t seem like a crazy whirlwind when you do.
Networking with other parents of student-athletes will be one of the wisest things you do. Create relationships with parents walking a similar journey to you. You will have access to tips, resources, updates and advice that you won’t find anywhere else. The best part, you will build a lifelong support network you can rely on for the rest of your life. Find groups of parents, coaches, teachers, professors and so on. There are hundreds of college groups with parents and admissions staff offering advice every single day.
Networking groups also give you access to all the latest rules and regulations, test and exam updates, and general need-to-knows. Keeping up to date with the latest college news will ensure you are always one step ahead. You can find the strongest support network on the planet at College Bound Athletes. It’s my sporting community of parents and elite athletes. Come on over and check us out.
Having someone to hold you accountable will help you cope with the expectations and competing priorities of your athlete. Someone who can help you meet every action step, and help you create your solid and effective schedules. A person to hold you accountable to keep moving forward. When you have an accountability partner in your corner, the journey doesn’t seem lonely. You don’t have to feel like you are just winging it most days.
Our clients in our paid programs are assigned their own accountability coach. This is to ensure parents know we are holding their hand the whole way. You can ask your partner, a friend, or another parent on the same journey. You can reach out to your networking groups. It can be anyone you trust to have your back and hold you accountable. If you would like information on our accountability program, jump on a consultation call and we can have a chat. Click here and you will be taken to my calendar. There you can book a free call at a time that suits you best.
In addition to networking groups, start building professional relationships within the education and sports space. Sports professionals and educators can offer assistance and advice. You can also build relationships and have good help you can trust. They are professionals who have often been in their space for a very long time. You can reach out to them on social media and college websites.
Past students who play professional sport can give you many different stories and experiences. They can offer great advice about recruiters, coaches, and teams. Give many ideas for your athletes official and unofficial visits, scholarships, and so much more. Building these relationships gives your athlete another source of support when they head off to college also. Having strong professional relationships can save you a lot of research which will free up more time on those schedules. As I have stated, building relationships and networks will be your strongest element in moving forward.
The way you keep up with the expectations and competing priorities or your student-athlete is by looking after YOU. Create a strong schedule, know your priorities, plan, pace and balance, and build that strong network and professional relationships. This is the first step to creating a successful college sports campaign. Lay it all out! Build strategies and systems to help you consistently move in a forward direction, never losing sight of the end result. Do all of these things, and you are ready. You are ready to embark on a wonderfully successful college sports journey with your athlete. The expectations and competing priorities of your student-athlete will seem like a walk in the park.