While students are busy studying for final exams, it’s the heart of the season for winter collegiate athletes.
Both men and women basketball players spend two hours a day, six days a week practicing in the gymnasium, while both men and women swimmers and divers spend three hours a day, six days a week in the pool.
“I actually see practice during finals as a good study break,” junior basketball player Riley Achenbach said. “It’s a good time to forget about the stress and play the sport I love.”
Women’s head basketball coach Dana Haggenjos said she tells her athletes to prepare for finals like any other test. She also goes over proper sleep and nutritional habits throughout the week.
Haggenjos studied kinesiology at DePauw University while playing basketball for the school’s women’s team.
“I didn’t allow myself to overreact to the words ‘final exam’ because they were just another test,” Haggenjos said. “I did go to practice during the week. It was probably the best thing I could do for myself to allow for my brain and body to shift out of study mode.”
When she would hit a study block, Haggenjos said she would go to the gym to shoot free throws and mentally go through diagrams of the human body.
No games are scheduled during the week of final exams for Franklin College athletic teams, but practice is optional for swimmers and divers during final exam week.
“Basically, we don’t have morning practice [all week] and if someone had to miss [afternoon] practice, it wouldn’t be counted against them,” head swim coach Andrew Hendricks said. “We do it to maintain their training as we go into the holiday season.”
He said he always reminds his athletes that “prior proper preparation prevents poor performance.” Hendricks also swam in college as a student at Indiana University.
“The way I see it is there are 24 hours and two hours of practice [a day], so 22 hours are leftover,” Hendricks said. “I’m not going to study for 22 hours — I studied two to three hours a day and some days I didn’t study. The majority of my studying I completed before. During finals week, I was refreshing for the class the night before.”
Junior swimmer Amy McCormick said time management helps her prioritize what comes first, which is always academics.
“[Practice] doesn’t take away time,” McCormick said. “Practices are a stress reliever from studying.”
McCormick has advice to athletes who may be stressing as finals week approaches includes:
- Don’t wait for the last minute to study.
- Manage your time wisely.
- Keep all your notes and handouts from throughout the semester to help you study for a cumulative exam.
- If you share a major with a teammate, find a time to study together after practice.
- Go to practice to get your mind off studying, then come back and study some more.
- Get plenty of rest.