Going away to college is an exciting time for all students. There are a lot of different choices that need to be made when it comes to classes, working on campus, and so on. One big decision that needs to be made is whether or not students should take the time to play intercollegiate sports. In this article, Seth Coffing, an experienced coach with a proven track record built over 19 years of coaching at all levels, discusses the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a college athlete.
Benefits of Becoming a Student-Athlete
Many benefits are available if students take the time to join a college sports team during their time at school. There’s a chance that joining a team may help to pay for some college tuition. In some cases, it may be all of the tuition. Scholarships can make a big difference in how much students end up spending on their education. Not everyone who is a student-athlete has this help available to them, but it can be something to look into if costs are an issue.
Beyond the financial, there are physical, emotional, and mental benefits. The expression “freshman fifteen” is a running joke for new college students, but the potential to gain weight during a student’s first year is a real phenomenon. Being on a sports team can help to keep participants in shape physically. As a part of a team, students get the opportunity to make friends and surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Being away from home for the first time can lead to loneliness and depression, but being on a team can make a positive difference. College teammates, coaches, and support staff create a fantastic support system.
Drawbacks of Being a Student-Athlete
Student-athletes are often the toast of the campus, but it’s not all fun and games. There can be various sacrifices that an athlete has to make during their college years. The main drawbacks have to do with time. Playing sports in college takes a lot of dedication. It often means getting up early for practice and being ready to play on game days, including travel. College classes alone can be demanding on students’ time without being involved in extracurricular activities.
A student’s eligibility to play revolves around several factors. One involves their grades. The time that student athletes devote to their college team could take away from their studies, and as a result, grades could drop. A student athlete’s time at school could be in jeopardy if they can’t juggle everything. Taking on too much during college years could result in not achieving as much as they wanted academically.
The question of whether to play college sports a personal one. Will the benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks? Each student will need to decide whether or not he or she will be able to balance their coursework with their responsibilities. For many college students, being involved with intercollegiate athletics provides them with great memories, friendships that last years, and a support system that helped them become what they are today.
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