Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Football Schedule Arithmetic

Most non-football players think team members spend their time goofing off in the gym. Most football players disagree. Other sports probably have similar problems, but the football players seem to have the most intense schedule problems. Let's look at it in some detail:

Each day has 24 hours, and we can't do much with that—the number is probably going to stay the same for a while. Now let's consider the five weekdays, Monday through Friday. Weekends are a special problem, and I'll get to those in a minute. Here's what we are deducting from each of those five days:

  • 3 hours for academic classes (Assuming a 15-credit load, spread evenly over the five days)
  • 8 hours for sleep (a number you probably should not cut back on—an athlete in training might need more)
  • 3 hours eating, dressing, brushing your teeth, etc.
  • 2 hours in the weight room
  • 1 hour for required team meetings
  • 2 hours for practice

So far, I've accounted for 19 hours. Most people find that at least an hour daily is just sort of lost (the phone rings, a friend stops to talk on campus, etc.). Assuming that the team meeting, the weight room, and the practice somehow limit themselves to those five hours, the student has a full four hours to spend on ALL other activities: studying, doing the laundry, and so forth. That's a total of 20 hours a week.

Most counselors advise that you follow the "two for one" rule in studying: two hours outside class for every hour in class, so our football player should be studying something like 30 hours a week. No problem! There's always the weekend.

No, there isn't. Every in-town game destroys all of Saturday (and somehow I don't think the average player can hit the books for 10 hours straight on Sunday after a game). Every away game wipes out the entire weekend, from Friday afternoon (thus killing those four hours of Friday study) to late Sunday night. Somewhere someone has the impossible dream that you can study on the bus, the airplane, and in a strange hotel room with three teammates. Maybe, but I have trouble believing you can cram in 14 hours of quality time (remember the Friday we killed?) in a hotel room and on a bus.

There's the problem. I don't know the solution, but I do know that you can't afford to slack off, even for a moment. Most assignments keep rolling forward, no matter what your life is like outside the classroom.

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