Balancing Sports and Studies in Singapore

By Sara Ng

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The rigourous education system in Singapore often calls for a large amount of time and focus to be dedicated to studies. For those who have sporting aspirations, a lot dedication and time is also required to pursue this goal. Balancing the two is not always easy, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes very much a lifestyle.


1. Identify your goals

It is always useful to know exactly what you want to achieve in both your studies and in your sporting endeavours. Some have big targets for their academic pursuits, while others may be chasing lofty sporting goals. Identifying precisely what you want to achieve in both sports and studies will help you decide how much time and resources to dedicate to each of these goals.

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2. Identify things you need to do to achieve these goals

After knowing exactly what you want, you have decide how much time and work you need to put in to achieve these goals, while taking into account how much time you have currently. You may need help from your teachers of coach to help you with this. Come up with a schedule that allocates the right amount of time to each activity; don’t forget that you need time to rest and to also spend time with friends and family. You need to know your habits and what work best for you – some people study better at night, and so prefer to train in the morning. Others prefer to get a run in before the sun rises, leaving the rest of the day free to do their work. Knowing when your body performs best for sports and when your mind is most alert for periods of study is extremely important – it may take some trial and error to find out – but once you do, plan your time according to this and you will find that your time is used more productively

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3. Chasing your goals

This is the part when you actually put your plan into action. I believe that achieving your goals ultimately requires 3 things: a hunger to succeed, a driving force that keeps you going, and self-discipline.

You need to be hungry for success; you need to really want to achieve your goals.

You need a driving force – usually the hunger drives you to succeed, and acts as your motivation, but you need to know ultimately why is it that you want to achieve these goals. You may want to challenge your physical limits in sport, you may want gain as much knowledge as you can through your studies and push your own intellectual limits. Sometimes, there is someone who may have inspired you, or you may want to be an inspiration to others - going back to why you want to do this would serve as your driving force.

Discipline ­– the stumbling block for many. This is however not always the hardest part – once you have the desire to succeed, discipline comes naturally. If you want something, you need to do what it takes to get it. Surround yourself with people who are a positive influence and who share similar goals. If studying with others help you, form study groups and fix a regular meet-up schedule. As for sport, training with a group of highly-motivated individuals will help you push the limits in training. Having people to train or study with would also ensure that you do the work when you need to – when you are tempted to skip revision or training, it helps that there is a group of people waiting for you to turn up for the regular study or training sessions.

When you have a choice between sleeping in and training, think about that PB or the spot on the podium that you have been working so hard for.

A willingness to work hard would get you where you want to be. A lack of time is not an excuse - you have 24 hours a day, and 168 hours a week: enough time to put in the work to chase your goals, but not enough time to waste.


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