Student Athletes – balancing work and rowing

Many athletes row at the same time as studying – it’s common to start rowing in

Cambridge VIII (left on the Middlesex station)...
Cambridge VIII (left on the Middlesex station) maintaining position c. half a length behind Oxford (right) approaching Chiswick Pier in the 2010 Boat Race (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

University or to continue studying while aiming for high performance rowing team selection.  Rowing is not a classic ‘work/life balance’ decision it requires more commitment than most other professional sports.  So what advice can we find for students who want to row as well as study.

Brodie Buckland is a graduate of Harvard, Oxford and currently studying Law at Australia’s National University.  As an oarsmen he has represented both the United States and Australia.  He writes

The potentially contradictory world of being a student and an athlete.  This contradiction arises from one basic question — how do you do the best that you can in two separate areas of your life at once?

I find that I enjoy walking a hybrid path. I feel the most successful, the most complete, the most happy when I’m studying and rowing simultaneously.

Given this introduction, dear reader, I do not doubt that somewhere you’re thinking that I must be content with mediocrity, or at the very least that I’m sacrificing my potential in one are of my life by having other commitments. Personally, though, I find the opposite to be true. A rising tide floats all boats, and by demanding the best of myself in all areas, I become more successful at each of them.

I’m just trying to relay the idea that some aspects of being an athlete are relevant in academia, and some of the skills you gain from being a student can aid your athletic life. In the world of high-performance sport, single-mindedness is touted as a key to success. Read the rest of his post

Time management is more often the skill needed by students who also row.

Here are some great tips from LHSAA

  1. Turn off your phone when studying
  2. Use the car ride home to start work on your essay
  3. Buy a planner and schedule your time for key assignments and tests
  4. use your weekends wisely
  5. And remember it’s OK to say ‘no’ to requests.

But what about “Professionalism”?

Often the conflict is seen to be between the amateur sport and the standard to which it is performed.  In a book by Andrew Zimbalist he makes reference to ‘joke’ study courses like “The History of Basketball” which enable professional athletes to legally play as amateurs and students.

This is a charge that is sometimes laid at the Boat Race which has clear rules about recruitment not being allowed – yet representatives of Oxford and Cambridge attend the US University rowing championships each year as well as the FISA World U23 regatta.  Surely their presence leads to ‘introductions’ to potential candidates some of whom are paid internationals?

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