Admittedly, many high school student-athletes strive to enter a college or a university to pursue their athletic career (Sanders et al. 23). Many of these students dream of a professional career. Some see their athletic achievements as the way to obtain higher education. However, it is important to note that often college years fall short of student-athletes’ expectations.
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One of the greatest issues concerning student-athletes’ education is that this group of students is often isolated. Another problem concerning student-athletes is that they as well as educators often pay little attention to these students’ academic performance.
Thus, student-athletes turn out to be unprepared to become successful members of society as they lack the necessary knowledge and skills while their past athletic achievements are not taken into account any more.
Fortunately, educators have acknowledged the major issues in this sphere and many steps have been made to solve the problem. Thus, many schools implement policies aimed at involvement of student-athletes into the mainstream of students.
Apart from this, specific educational programs and approaches are being designed to improve student-athletes’ academic performance (Schellhase 18). Therefore, student-athletes can be sure that even if they do not pursue athletic career, they will be prepared to find their place in the contemporary world.
Some people believe that athletes can succeed in their sport careers only. Likewise, student-athletes are still often regarded as those who should defend the school’s honor and who are not required to achieve some academic goals. There is still a kind of classification of students where successful students and successful athletes are in different camps.
Nonetheless, this classification leads to unfavorable outcomes especially when it comes to student-athletes. In the first place, student-athletes are often alienated from the rest of the students.
Many student-athletes focus on their athletic performance and often try to succeed in their athletic career at the expense of their academic performance. These students set limits and this becomes quite a difficult problem to solve in their after college life.
Some may argue that student-athletes should only blame themselves as they fail to study properly. However, the problem is much deeper than that. It is necessary to admit that student-athletes often lag behind their fellow students. Nevertheless, it is not about their being too lazy or narrow-minded. Athlete students often have to endure a lot of tension on the part of their coaches.
These young people also face such challenges as “time constraints” and “career choices”, “physical and emotional fatigue”, “institutional policies, discrimination; marginalization” (Simiyu 16). Reportedly, graduation rates “are on increase” nowadays (Simiyu 16).
However, the data also show that student-athletes’ performance largely depends on such factors as race, gender and sport (Simiyu 16). Admittedly, these factors should also be taken into account when developing teaching strategies and educational programs.
Apart from this, student-athletes are expected to achieve certain goals and they simply have no time to attend classes or focus on their academic performance. Besides, many young people are concerned with their present and they do not think of certain future perspectives.
Therefore, educators are responsible for this vulnerable group of students. Educators should make student-athletes understand that their athletic career is only a part of their life and that they need to acquire certain knowledge and skills to fit their future career goals.
Luckily, now educators pay more attention to student-athletes’ constraints. In fact, there have been much done in this sphere so far. In the first place, educators started paying attention to challenges such students have to face (Simiyu 18). This is a great step forward as now educators can shape educational programs to address needs of student-athletes.
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For instance, many scholars suggest particular programs that can help student-athletes to improve their academic performance (Schellhase 19). For instance, Schellhase analyzes Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and tries to adjust it to student-athletes’ needs (19).
By demonstrating potentialities of this approach, Schellhase contributes greatly into the development of specific programs for student-athletes. Such attempts confirm that educators have, finally, started paying more attention to student-athletes’ needs.
It goes without saying that special training programs and teaching approaches alone cannot solve the problem as a lot depends on the students’ commitment. When it comes to student-athletes, there can be no lack in commitment as these people have developed strong volition during their athletic career.
Admittedly, those, who have already achieved considerable results in sport, will have courage to address certain academic challenges. Nonetheless, some students may fail to understand the importance of academic effort. Therefore, educators should be able to explain this matter to student-athletes. Student-athletes should be encouraged to obtain as much knowledge as possible to better fit the rapidly changing world.
In fact, it can be effective to include special course into the curriculum for student-athletes. This course should focus on these students’ career goals. It is essential to show the ways student-athletes can choose. These young people should be told about successful athletes and alumni of different schools. Thus, student-athletes will be aware of successful stories.
Apart from successful stories, students should understand threats and challenges they are likely to face during their college years and their after college life. These challenges include fatigue, drug abuse, isolation, possible failures, etc. Admittedly, when one knows what exactly can happen, he/she is ready to react accordingly.
Therefore, student-athletes should learn more about various situations. Student-athletes should participate in various discussions on such topics. These discussions will help student-athletes to work out their own successful behavioral patterns.
Furthermore, student-athletes should also critically assess their athletic and academic performance (Schellhase 19). They should be able to prioritize their activities when the time comes.
Student-athletes should understand that their college life presupposes acquisition of certain skills. Therefore, student-athletes should always remember about the major academic goals. Admittedly, educators should help these students to remain focused.
On balance, it is possible to state that now educators understand that student-athletes require special attention. More so, educators do pay much attention to this group of students. For instance, scholars work out various educational programs and teaching techniques to address student-athletes’ needs. However, this is not enough as these students should also be encouraged to focus on their academic performance.
They should be ready to face certain challenges in their college years or in their after college life. This will enable young people to better fit the society. It is necessary to note that academic success depends on the student’s commitment.
Luckily, all student-athletes are committed to achieve the highest results in sport and are ready to overcome difficulties. Therefore, educators only need to encourage all of these students to be also committed while pursuing their academic goals.
Sanders, Victoria L., Henry A. Gardner and Jeffery Jones. “Recruitment, Admission, and Retention of First-Year Student-Athletes.” College Student-Athletes: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications. Ed. Daniel B. Kissinger and Michael T. Miller. Charlotte, NC: IAP, 2009. 23-36. Print.
Schellhase, Kristen C. “Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory in Athletic Training Education: A Literature Review.” Athletic Training Educational Journal 2 (2006): 18-27. Print.
Simiyu, Njororai Wycliffe W. “Individual and Institutional Challenges Facing Student Athletes on U.S. College Campuses.” Journal of Physical Education and Sports Management 1.2 (2010): 16-24. Print.