The problems and daily challenges that college athletes face these days are constantly putting more and more pressure and stressing on them. This added stress and tension from playing an NCAA sport on top of studying and trying to be involved on campus can be too much for some.
Stress for college athletes comes from many outlets. Such as the struggles of getting enough sleep in addition to finding time for studying, eating healthy, and working around class schedules and practice times. Student Tanner Lawrence said in an interview “the hardest part of competing in collegiate athletics was finding a balance between social life, academics and the responsibilities concerning the sport.” Not to mention the stress that comes from the sport itself. These stress factors include injuries, coaches and even traveling with the team.
Many student athletes do not get enough sleep; Academics by itself are a stressful load on the body as well as the brain. When mixed with the needs for muscle repair and functionality then inflammation and therefore damage is increased. The body needs more sleep to repair under these stressful conditions. These add up over time and degrade/ breakdown the mind and body which results in decreased muscle response, focus, and overall performance in and out of the classroom.
Diet is another top priority that is sometimes overlooked by athletes; however it is essential top athletes. Proteins to rebuild broken down and weakened muscles as well as carbohydrates and calories to burn for energy. According to Winning Nutrition for Athletes, the ideal diet should contain 45 percent to 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 25 percent to 35 percent of calories from fat, and the remaining 10 percent to 15 percent from protein. This means eating a variety of foods on a daily basis from all of the food groups including grains, meat and beans, fruits and vegetables, dairy and oils. This will allow athletes to reach peak performance.
Coaches can sometimes be a close friend and help you with studies, or offer useful advice. But sometimes coaches don’t seem fair, or are tough on an athlete. Either way dealing with coaches can sometime add to an athlete’s everyday stress. One recent example of coaching problems affecting a team is the problems at Penn State with Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky. How the athletes at Penn must feel about losing their coaches, or how disappointed they are in what they did?
When interviewed about what the hardest part about being a student athlete Head Wrestling Coach Mark Haywald answered “Balancing the expectations of himself and those of sports and academics.” Also Haywald was quoted from a coach’s point of view that “I want my athletes to have high standards for themselves”
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sets regulations aimed at keeping athletes eligible. However, in the end, it is the student’s responsibility to remain in good standing on and off the field. The NCAA has a GPA minimum of 2.1 for eligibility.
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