Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

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Subj:  Information on Grades and Training
To:  [email protected]

Dear Athletic Insight,
I am writing to you and asking if you can help me. I am looking for information on how school results are affected by sports training. Specifically, how during the training season academic results often improve when compared to the sports off-season. What can be done to resolve this? If you can help it would be much appreciated.
Thanking you for your time and assistance.

Murray A.
Swimming Coach

Dear Murray A.:

I am not familiar with any research that has looked at this factor specifically. However, if I had to take a guess I would assume that it is related to the structure that the athletic season provides individuals. That is to say, during the season, most schools typically provide teams with study halls in which they have to do work. This happens both during home and away events. When I worked with our college football team, I supervised study hall when the athletes were at home. If they did not attend, their coaches were informed and they were made to do additional things during practices (i.e., run extra laps). It would be my guess that athletes find other things to get involved with during the off-season. When they are not provided with a structure such as practice 3:00 - 6:00, dinner 6:00-7:00, study hall 7:00-9:00, they tend to procrastinate more because they are not under the watchful eyes of their coaches or counselors. Since they are not putting in the time then their grades suffer. The solution would then be to have structured time throughout the year for studying not just during their season. Hope that this has been of some help.

Miguel Humara, Ph.D.


To:  [email protected]

Have you ever printed any articles discussing the merits - if any - of athletes in the 7th and 8th grades playing up on junior varsity and varsity teams?

Curious Reader

Dear Curious Reader:

No we have never printed any research on this topic. I feel that it could have both beneficial and detrimental effects on the individual. On the one hand, athletes need challenges in order to maximize their potential. If an athlete has moved beyond the level of his contemporaries, then it would be necessary for him/her to play with people that had a similar level of athletic skill. This in turn would result in further development of their athletic abilities.
On the other hand, this could result in the individual feeling increased pressure to play beyond his/her abilities and could result in detriments in performance and the sporting experience being a chore rather then what it is supposed to be - fun. Additionally, it could result in the individual not feeling that he/she belongs to any one group. That is to say, he is not like the other individuals in his grade but is not like the other individuals in his team.
It is important to weigh both of these points of view before deciding to move an athlete up in level.

Miguel Humara, Ph.D.

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Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology: Line Mental Health Net Award Winner
Copyright 2002 Athletic Insight, Inc.
ISSN 1536-0431