I am often asked how we get student-athletes to find success while balancing athletics and academics. The answer lies not in the notion of balance, but in the desire to be the best you can be each and every day.
Make a decision. You need to figure out what you want to be great at. Narrow your focus so there are two, or maybe three, things that you really want to excel at, and make those your priority.
Assemble your team. Volleyball is the ultimate team sport. Teams that function well together not only add to one another’s capabilities, but they also multiply them. The same is true when it comes to your academic success. Find the other students in your class who have the same drive to succeed as you do. Who you surround yourself with has a lot to do with how successful you can be.
Prepare relentlessly. The most important time in your course is the actual time you are in the classroom. This is the academic arena, the field of play. As an athlete, you never want to go into a match without having practiced and prepared. Likewise, you never want to enter a classroom without having done your homework, looked at the syllabus and having an idea of what is going to be discussed in class that day.
And finally, compete. I always loved when teachers posted test grades for everyone to see. It made is easier for me to figure out where I was in the class and allowed me to keep track of those who were doing better than I was. It also kept me motivated to work hard throughout the semester.
Branden Higa is the head coach for the women’s volleyball team, a position held since 2012. He has led the team to a 12-7 record so far this season.