Education is the key to success. But how can you strike that optimal balance between training and learning? Do you want to achieve success beyond sport? As an athlete it’s vital that you choose a school or university that will work with you to achieve your aims with both your education and your sports career.
Explore the benefits, challenges and opportunities of pursuing a dual career balancing sport and education. Dual career can also mean pursuing other opportunities alongside your sporting career, such as employment or internships or entrepreneurship.
Dual career can help you
- Enhance current skills and develop transferable skills for the future.
- Learn to successfully balance two or more aspects of life without sacrificing your prime pursuits.
- Become more well-rounded.
- Expand your identity.
- Give yourself a break and/or different focus and positive distraction.
- Ensure that both elements of a dual career complement each other.
- Reach your potential in both areas.
What are the benefits for you?
As well as obtaining an academic qualification, balancing sport and education can provide a variety of benefits such as:
- Health and psychological benefits such as reduced stress and increased well-being.
- Opportunity to develop life skills.
- Expand social networks beyond sports.
- Enhanced future employment prospects.
- Prevention of identity crisis.
Dual career does not mean
- Giving up on your sporting dream.
- Your sporting performance must suffer.
- Being negative/doubting your sporting ability.
Develop a few useful questions to ask the institutions and yourself when researching the institution that suits your plans best. What were the most important ones? Below are some examples to get you started.
- Does the university/school offer flexible study options?
- Does the university have scholarships/bursaries available for me?
- Do I have obligations to participate in sport at the university?
- What if I have to miss my lectures, is there additional support for this?
- Are there any sports scholarships I might be eligible for?
It is important for you to take responsibility when developing relationships within your academic institution, like you would in your sports teams. You should:
Meet key staff early.
Be respectful and polite.
Be willing to give something back.
- Make sure you are familiar with your academic and sporting demands.
- Create a planner and fill it with your course commitments, sporting competitions and personal events.
- Meet your academic advisor and coach to speak about your concerns and come up with solutions.