Blog: Finding the balance

Category: Sport

With the next half of Lent Term upon us, this week’s blog will focus on the importance of time management.

To help with heavy workloads and the stress, several researchers have studied the implementation of time management strategies and found an improvement in both academic and sporting performance. Research also shows that pupils with a high ability, but who are not structured with their time achieve very little compared to pupils with good time-management skills. 

Stress levels are influenced by previous experiences, personality and coping mechanisms, meaning that some pupils will find school life more stressful than others. Exercise can be used to reduce these stress levels. It is well established that regular physical activity improves health and well-being, reducing the risks of illness and injury associated with stress. It also acts as a break from academic pressures whilst releasing feel good hormones. Regular exercise has even been associated with improved academic performance! 

Therefore, to reduce the negative effects that can arise from poor time-management and stress, assisting pupils to find a life balance is an important consideration for us to facilitate well-being and long-term success.

What We Do

Returning to school life after a break can cause a spike in mental and physical stress due to the sudden increment in workload. When training load increases by 5-10% more than the previous week, athletes have over 10% greater risk of injury [1].

We have a number of strategies in place to facilitate a gradual and systematic increase in physical activity, with the aim of preventing undue stress and injury incidence. For example, we did not include the usual morning strength and conditioning sessions for teams and sport scholars in the first three weeks of Michaelmas Term to allow individuals to adapt to increased workloads following a lengthy break. Moreover, during the exam periods we reduce training load, particularly for the Hundred year-group and above. In their sessions, exercises will be more pupil led so that training is seen as a relief from academic stress, providing a sense of freedom. With the days being so busy, we have also emphasised the importance of using free time appropriately to rest and recuperate mentally and physically. This can be done by following the four Rs of recovery: 


  • Refuel
  • Rehydrate
  • Repair
  • Relax

We want to create a developmental mind-set within an open but high-performance environment, empowering pupils to make beneficial lifestyle decisions and take ownership over their progress. Although poor decisions and poor time management may not seem to have an immediate effect on performance and recovery, they will add up and eventually hinder potential. 

A key message: If we take care of the moments that matter now, the years will take care of themselves!

James Davies
Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach

Ruth Taylor
and Joshua Wall
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Reference List:

1.Gabbett, T.J., 2016. The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, pp.bjsports-2015.

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