how to juggle life and sports commitments

How To Juggle Life And Sports Commitments

A packed training program, full-on school life and social commitments can leave you feeling overwhelmed. There is no quick answer for how to juggle life and sports commitments, but being organised amongst the madness will help. 

Our top tip is to spend time finding a method that works for you and work on it until you find a happy medium. 

Someone who is no stranger in how to juggle life and sport is Elite Netball Academy Ambassador, Loughborough Lightning Captain and England Roses player Natalie Panagarry.

We caught up with Nat to find out how she manages her time juggling netball, life, media commitments and everything in between!

How to juggle life and sports commitments by Natalie Panagarry

“I’ve been there. Being a student-athlete is challenging and stressful. You can feel overwhelmed and as if you are constantly being pulled in different directions. Skills you can master now will bode well for the future. I still use methods and tactics from my school days to help me juggle life and sports commitments. After years of juggling numerous commitments here are my top tips to try and help you achieve a balance and stay organised:  

1. Plan your week 

Look at your calendar for the week ahead and note the ‘big rocks’ coming up. These could be tests, assignments, deadlines, training and games scheduled. 

Plan how you will study during this week and when you will train. It’s also a great idea to plan some rest time. Sleep is a form of rest, but so is reading, hanging out with friends or listening to your favourite sports podcast.

Don’t be tempted to get too far ahead of yourself when planning the details. Have an awareness of what is coming up but in terms of the finer details of when I am going to do things, I tend to look a week ahead, any more and it fries my brain!

Planning your week will help you juggle life and sports commitments
Take time to plan your week

2. Use a planner or diary 

Seeing assignments and deadlines written down can help you to determine a study schedule and decide which deadlines are the most urgent. Calendars and planners are one of the easiest ways to organise your schedule. I like ones where you can see the full week on one page. Visualising what’s coming up will help to juggle life and sports commitments.

3. Use your weekends wisely

Use your weekend as preparation time for the week ahead. Plan and prepare for homework that is due or training targets you need to hit. Be disciplined in doing this at the same time every week – I always do this on a Sunday evening when I’m recovering from the weekend’s netball activities.

“You can feel overwhelmed and as if you are constantly being pulled in different directions”

Natalie Panagarry

4. Get savvy with your time

Another tip would be to use the travel time to and from school, practices, and games wisely. We spend a lot of time in the car travelling to netball, try to use this time to your advantage. Could you look over your notes, read textbooks or study. Most books have audiobook versions, so download and plugin for longer car journeys.

5. Prioritise sleep

Make sure you get enough SLEEP!! I cannot emphasise this enough. A healthy sleep schedule improves academic and athletic performance. Plus going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day makes it so much easier to keep a consistent schedule throughout the week. A good sleep schedule will make you feel refreshed and energetic, which means you will be able to tackle the week ahead with full force.

Sleep can help us feel able to juggle life and sports commitments
Sleep plays an important role in athletic performance.

6. Make good use of school resources

Your teachers, tutors and coaches want you to succeed and feel happy. If you feel overwhelmed or need help, make sure you speak up. They will help you find a better balance and will be more than happy to support you. Also, use your close circle, whoever that may be. Speak up to family or friends to explain how you are feeling. Work together to find the answers. 

Remember everyone has their way of staying organised and a personal tried and tested method of how to juggle life and sports commitments. What works for another teammate may not be the same for you, so ask how your network manages to juggle their commitments to help you find your balance in your style.”

Nat x

Here are some useful websites for anyone feeling overwhelmed:

Mental Health Foundation

Calm App

BBC Headspace

The Elite Netball Academy team of coaches are always on hand to listen and help you plan a training schedule that works for you. We can help you figure out how to juggle life and sports commitments.

Anna Carter

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