Beyond Athletics

Student-Athletes Should Work Smarter, Not Harder

how a college coach contacts recruits means a lot in recruiting

Don’t work hard.

That sounds weird, right? Possibly because it’s only half of the motto, one that we live by here in the office: “Work Smarter, Not Harder”.

I’ve always thought that sounds funny at first, like: Wait, am I being told I don’t have to work hard?

Of course no manager, coach, VP, or CEO would encourage their team not to work hard, but when you really dissect the notion, it’s a total light bulb moment. It means to be efficient. It means instead of doing the same thing over and over to find the best practice, not just the usual practice. It means to ask for help, dig into the problem, and map out a no-nonsense path to solve it. Like many things in life, it often starts with trial-and-error, but ends with a better way of doing something, not simply continuing trial-after-error, trial-after-error.

And turns out, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban shares the same philosophy, particularly when it comes to the success of Maverick’s star, Dirk Nowitzki.

Do you work smarter, or harder?

This theory seems to be almost made for student-athletes.

Few people in the world have more demanding and more grueling schedules. Between school, practice, games, and other commitments, there’s really few other ways to find success than by figuring out how to work smarter, not harder. There are 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week. There are 7 hours of school in a day, and 5 days of school a week. There are 3 hours of practice or game time a day, at 6 days a week. And your mind and body need a good 7 hours of sleep a night to handle this type of schedule. Add in other commitments and a social life, and your day is cooked.

Bottom line: When we simply break down the hours left in the day, there’re really no choice but to “Work Smarter, Not Harder”.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by homework? Sit down and map out your week of classes – where can you fit in some extra study time while at school?

Are you not running your goal 40 times, or do you keep coming up just shy of your weight class? What are some small changes you can make to become more efficient in your prep and training?

Can you send your school’s track coach some video for him or her to assess your running style? It may turn out to be something as simple as tucking your elbow in.

Are there some sugars you can easily cut out of your diet, or some proteins you can be adding in? Simple, small, meaningful adjustments, and time well spent can positively impact your productivity in ways you may have never imagined.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.