Category Archives: Sport

3 Tips for Student-athletes Who Struggle With Grades and Social Life

 You know those mornings when you wake up and your body is sore from head to toe after the sprints you did the day before. You need to get ready in 5 minutes because you are almost late to class since you hit the snooze button at least three times. Half dead you leave the room and head to the day full of classes and practices right after that. Before you know it it’s 8pm, you find out you forgot to even eat and by the time you get to homework it’s 10pm.

This is a very typical day for most student-athletes across the nation. It doesn’t matter what division you play, student-athletes are superheroes! They are known to be phenomenal at time management, prioritizing, and putting on a good face even though inside they are exhausted. In order to fully understand what it’s like, one must just try this life himself.

It’s extremely easy for student-athletes to drop their grades or become isolated from any social or personal life. However, since athletics play a big role in the pride of schools, athletes need to strive for impersonation of perfection.

In order to keep your head straight on and off the field, court, course, etc. here are some tips that all student-athletes can use in everyday life to improve their game, grades, relationships and life.

1. Routine, routine, and more routine

Being a student-athlete usually forces you to have a daily routine, which really is the best thing for you. Keeping a daily routine keeps your work, practice and social life in order. You can stay organized with to-do lists, plus we all know how good it feels to cross out the things you finished. Along with a to-do list, you can have a list of priorities, placing the least important thing at the bottom, knowing that you might not get to it that day, but always trying to get the first things on the list accomplished. Having a hundreds things on your schedule is overwhelming and it’s easy to forget about some. Having it in writing in front of you (maybe hung on the wall), will put a bit of a pressure to get it done and also serve as a reminder, so you won’t forget anything important.

2. Ask your coaches

Often times, student-athletes are too afraid of their coaches and building a more personal relationship with them doesn’t seem like an option. Don’t be scared of your coach. In most cases, they were student-athletes once too and they know exactly what it’s like, including all the struggles you might be experiencing. The duty of your coach is to be your mentor, so put it in use. Whether it’s a problem with school, grades, professors or even personal life, don’t be scared to share your concerns with your coach. You might find that he/she understands you much better than you thought. Try to use your coach as a resource for answers for more areas than just athletics.

3. Meal time­ is friends time

During the season it is hard to make time for friends other than teammates. If your roommates are non-student-athletes and you find yourself never seeing them, then the solution is to make meal time a friends time. Every student-athlete should be eating at least three meals a day, so why not utilize your time and eat with your friends you never see. Set up breakfast, lunch or dinner dates with your non-athlete friends to catch up on life. This tip not only gets you into good eating habits but also lets you talk about other things than sports and have a social life.

John Isner reflects on college years: ”If I hadn’t played for four years at Georgia, I don’t think I would be where I was now”

James Blake isn’t the only younger player who is making a strong case for going to college before going to the pros. Two of his former opponents are making waves on the pro circuit as well: Georgia’s John Isner and Illinois’ Kevin Anderson. Isner, who was named the 2007 Farnsworth/ITA National Senior Player of the Year, finished his senior year ranked No. 2 in the nation. Before leaving his Bulldog teammates, Isner helped lead them to a perfect 32-0 season, and two national team titles. Isner also racked up one national singles title, three national doubles titles, and was named an ITA All-American four times in his career at UGA. Since turning pro in June of 2007, he has climbed all the way to the top 10 ATP!

Isner opens up about his choice of going to college:

“For me, to tell you the truth, I never even thought about going pro [after high school],” Isner said. “If I didn’t go to college, I really don’t even know if I would be playing tennis now. A lot of players leave high school and go straight to the pros, and they don’t make it and don’t have success, so they burn out after two or three years. For sure, if I hadn’t played for four years at Georgia, I don’t think I would be where I was now.”

Isner also drew on his time at Georgia to help him prepare for the biggest matches of his career. While he admitted that winning a lot of matches in college gave him confidence to take on the toughest professional players in the world, Isner recalled that it was the pressure-packed situations that helped him keep his cool on Center Court.

“Playing at Georgia, we’ve always played in front of huge crowds, especially in May,” Isner said. “There was a lot of pressure on us as a team to play well because we were expected to win. Obviously playing Andy [Roddick] in an ATP final, there’s a lot of pressure, but I don’t think it compares at all to playing in NCAA’s at Georgia, with five or six thousand people watching you play. Every match was pressure packed, and I was able to stay calm and play my game. Playing at Georgia helped out because that was playing for the team, and that’s a lot more pressure to succeed: you don’t want to let your team down.”

While at Georgia, Isner underwent a lot of physical changes as well. The 6’9” right-hander admits that his time as a Bulldog helped him become the physical force we see on the court today, as he put on over 40 lbs.

“[College] was the best preparation I could have ever asked for,” Isner said. “In those four years, I had unbelievable coaching with Coach Diaz. I learned so much mentally, and I got so much stronger physically. Coming out of high school I was tall, skinny, and gangly, not strong and not mature. I was none of that. I had to go to college and get stronger. I had to start growing out instead of up.”

This trend doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon: while Blake, Isner and Anderson all made it to the top 10 ATP. Their incredible journey indicates the wave of success from college to the pros.




In case you were wondering how college coaches evaluate your athletic skills before even inviting you for a school visit and meeting you in person, here is the answer: through your highlight VIDEO.

When you are playing around with the idea of playing college sports, you should definitely start putting together pieces of your athletic performances rather sooner than later. The good news is that college coaches do not really care about how professionally the video is filmed or edited. They are not expecting any special effects or anything you would not be able to do yourself. Honestly, all they care about is to see you in action to get a rough idea about your level as an athlete to see if you would be worth the next step.

The one thing you should focus on though, is what moments you choose for the footage. It can get pretty difficult to get a tape from an actual game sometimes, so feel free to film yourself even at practice or friendly games. The more footage you gather, the more material you will have to play with while editing it.

Coaches are not looking for an hour-long movie when looking you up. Putting together the best moments that represent your character as an athlete can be conducted into a short 5 to 8 minute video. Trust me, even the most interested coaches will most likely stop the video after 8 minutes, because it is something that they usually do in their spare time between practices or so. The trick is to catch their attention within the first minute, so MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR BEST FOOTAGE IN THE VERY BEGINNING to make them want to see more of you.

Although, it requires some time to put the video together, think of it as a key that will open the door to your future in America. Having a presentable video with your highlights makes it a lot easier for StAR crew to work out the best deal for you in the college world!

Petra Jurova