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How Teaching Discipline Unlocks Freedom for Your Student-Athlete


Parenting a student-athlete involves a non-stop juggling between academics, sports, and personal growth. One of your student’s biggest challenges is staying motivated, especially when it comes to schoolwork that might not be super interesting. But guess what? There’s a trick – it’s not all about motivation. It’s about something called discipline. 

Understanding the Link Between Discipline and Freedom

Have you ever heard the saying “Discipline equals Freedom”? This phrase embodies a concept popularized by Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. It might sound strange, but it essentially means that if you follow specific rules and stay disciplined, you’ll have more freedom in the end. Let me explain with a couple of examples.

Meet Sarah, a sophomore soccer player. She made a rule to finish her science project two weeks early. This discipline allowed her to focus on the big tournament that was coming up without stressing out about the assignment. Or consider Mike, a high school senior trying to balance a busy hockey season while getting into college. He found that waking up an hour earlier each day gave him extra time to study and do hobbies, leading to a more balanced and less stressful routine.

What do these students have in common? They didn’t let a lack of motivation get in their way. They use discipline to finish their work and make more time for things they enjoy. 

So, how can you help your student-athletes develop discipline? Take a look at the following tips.

  1. Identify and address bad habits– If your kid struggles with homework at night because they are tired, encourage them to study in the morning before school. Small changes like this can make a big difference!
  2. Make plans and stick to them- Help your student create a study routine, like setting times for uninterrupted study time or going into their teacher’s office hours each week. These simple, structured approaches can greatly improve their time management skills.
  3. Use rewards and consequences to promote good habits– Incorporate a reward system where if your student finishes their homework early, they get more free time. However, if they procrastinate, they will have less time to chill. This helps to reinforce the idea of how discipline can lead to freedom.
  4. Keep track of behavior– Encourage your kid to use a planner to write down their daily tasks. This practice will help them prioritize tasks and better manage their time. 
  5. Give them praise for doing great work– Remember to celebrate them when they show discipline. Getting praised for doing good always feels good and can be a powerful motivator.

Discipline is a secret power for student-athletes. It’s not just about getting their homework done- it’s about showing them how getting things done can give them the freedom to follow their passions. Teaching these skills now will help them build a foundation for lifelong success.

For More: 

Structure and Freedom Creativity

Motivation vs Discipline

Discipline equals Freedom 

Positive discipline approach in managing athlete behavior

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