I always emphasize to the team that academics come first. If they don’t have good grades, they don’t compete. As a coach, I try to understand when they have periods where work is heavy and try to be more understanding and flexible with practice for them. They also have to confront school to compete for tournaments that take place during school hours, especially sectionals and state competitions for high school. It all comes down to time management. We also have juniors and seniors on the team who understand the importance of time management and can help mentor the younger ones. College student-athletes have shared that it is important to schedule time for both studying and training. It takes discipline to stick to this schedule. Parents and coaches play a key role in encouraging and supporting student-athletes to find this balance. We try to be understanding if they need to miss practice for exams or important project deadlines, as long as they communicate with us and plan ahead. Additionally, we encourage our team to use their time wisely during road trips to tournaments by studying on the bus or in the hotel room. Our team also has a minimum GPA requirement for participating in the sport, which helps keep our athletes focused on their academics. Overall, we aim to support and guide our athletes in finding a healthy balance between their academics and sports commitments.