Starting up

Making the Grades

Nearly every college-bound ball player worries about his grades. You probably do, too. You wonder how you will keep up with schoolwork while playing baseball. Many college players have to deal with 30 hours a week of baseball (even more in season) and also newer, tougher academic demands. It’s not easy to balance your time so you can stay competitive in the classroom and on the field.

Here are four tips to help you keep your grades up while playing college baseball. You don’t have to wait until you are in college to use these tips. Start now and your transition to college will be that much easier!

Stay organized.

When you’re busy, you may think you don’t have time to do the extra work to stay organized, but the time you take putting papers in one place or keeping an academic planner up to date will save you hours of wasted time. Designate an area in your room to keep your schoolwork and supplies so you won’t have to search for things. When you can, try to plan out a few days at a time so that you don’t end up rushing an assignment or cramming for a test at the last moment.

Talk to your teachers/professors.

Talking to your teachers is an important way to stay on track. When the teacher or professor knows that you are interested in doing well in a class, they are more likely to take the time to work with you. No matter what happens, when you speak with your professor, you’ll learn about what is expected of you. If things aren’t going well in a class, don’t be shy! If you were struggling on the field, you’d talk to the coach, right? It is the same way in the classroom: get help from your teachers, teaching assistants, or tutors before you really get in a slump.

“I had to think 1) I’m here because I love baseball and I want to play, and 2) I want to get a good education, and if messing up academically is going to not allow me to do my number one goal, which is to play baseball, then I gotta rethink what I’m doing.” – Dayne Quist, Pitcher, UC Davis (2009-2012)

Do your work right away; don’t procrastinate.

Keep up with classes. If you just do the work that is assigned to you right away and don’t fall behind, that is a huge step. When you fall behind, that’s when you’re going to have sleepless nights worrying. Take advantage of study hall or study groups to keep you motivated when you want to put things off.

“This sounds like a spiel that you hear from all your advisers when you get here, too, but sometimes it comes down to this. Maybe the team has a party on Friday so maybe you say, ‘Ok let’s do that on Friday.” But then on Saturday night, when all your friends are going out again, you say, ‘I can’t do that.’ It’s not fun, but it has to happen.” – Justin Andrade, Infielder, UC Davis (2010-2011)

Use the resources at your school.

You may think that you can get good grades without help from anyone, but when you get to a university setting, it is not the same as high school. You’re going to have to work a little harder, especially if you don’t already have good study habits. You’ve got to be honest even though it’s tough. Many colleges and teams will have study hall and free tutors for you. If you think you might have problems focusing, you may need to take advantage of tutors and/or get extra help. That’s not anything to be ashamed of. Some players told us that, at first, they ignored the emails about tutors and extra help. Their grades suffered, and it took a long time for them to bounce back. Don’t wait if you find that a class is overwhelming. Get help at the first sign of trouble. Keep in mind that bad grades can keep you from playing baseball.

“Sometimes you think you could use that hour or two during the week more efficiently than just sitting there with a tutor, but when you are a student athlete, you’re going to be tired and looking for excuses not to study. If you know you have an obligation with a tutor, then that really forces you to be there. And that’s why we show up to practice every day: because we have an obligation to a set of guys and an obligation to a program. If you set up an appointment with someone to make sure that you do your studying, then that helps a lot.”  – Daniel Cepin, Outfielder, UC Davis (2007-2010)