Saving sanity as a student athlete

Spartan basketball player Leonard Brice likes alone time with TV to destress from being an athlete.

There are many benefits of being a collegiate student-athlete. You develop character traits like teamwork, perseverance, responsibility, and the physical benefits of staying healthy.

But college student-athletes also feel stress to perform well on the field, and the added stress of maintaining a good academic standard, along with a healthy social life. This can cause student-athletes to become overwhelmed and lose sight of the things that matter outside their lives as student-athletes. 

Student-athletes at Castleton participate in different activities when they have time away from their sport. Junior basketball player Leonard Brice relies on calmness as his most important form of activity outside of basketball. 

“I really just enjoy relaxing by myself while watching TV, whether it be YouTube or regular TV, I enjoy chilling,” Brice said. “There’s a lot of fun options I can try but I genuinely enjoy being alone watching TV or listening to music.”

Sophomore softball player Samera Rideout values the importance of spending time with family and friends. Whatever activity she decides to participate in, it’s important to her for family and friends to be present at that moment as well. 

“Honestly, I just like hanging out with my family and friends. I enjoy being around the people that I care about, so I don’t have many activities I do, I just wanna be around people I love. I don’t really care what I’m doing,” Rideout said. 

Doing things that you enjoy with or without others is important, but learning how to manage that outside life while playing a sport is a skill as well. 

“If I wanna get that down time where I’m alone chilling, I usually have a set plan I follow throughout the day,” Brice said. “If I’m getting out of practice in the morning and I know there’s schoolwork I need to finish, I’ll use that time after practice to call my family while I’m eating and then I’ll do my work so I’ll have the rest of the day to myself,” Brice added. 

Rideout agrees about the need to step away from the sport.

“I learned that if I become too consumed with my sport it becomes my identity and that’s what I don’t want, so that’s when I know I need to take a break,” Rideout said. “Knowing when to take that break is tricky too but it’s whenever I feel like I’ve done enough, like if my entire day has been spent doing a certain activity then yeah maybe I should move on from it.”

Junior football player Joshua Peters believes in creating a routine to help manage life on and off the field.

“Once everything is taken care of with my sport, I just make sure whatever it is I have to do, it gets taken care of which usually becomes my routine,” Peters said. “Whether it’s lifting weights and working out, I must have an idea of what needs to get done throughout the day.” 

Vacationing is another way to recharge and take a break from a sport, but vacationing is unique for athletes. 

Brice understands the plus side of vacationing, but he also understands the risky side. 

“Yes, vacationing gives you time off to relax from everything and enjoy yourself but if you take too much time off there’s someone else getting better so you’ve gotta realize that you have to keep working,” Brice said. “You’ll have breaks at certain points during the season so it’s important to not get caught up in too much time off.” 

Rideout and Peters have similar beliefs. 

“Athletes should definitely vacation because your sport can become your whole life and control your mental state,” Peters said. “Getting away helps level yourself while calming down to find a mental peace within,” Peters added. 

“I definitely think it’s important because when people become too consumed with their sport, it becomes their entire personality and sometimes you lose sight of your own goals and purpose in life,” Rideout said. “I think getting burnt out is a real issue in sports today especially when you look at how much time athletes devote time to their sport. Your body is meant to rest, that’s how it was designed so I think it’s important to go on vacations,” Rideout added. 

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