Kim Miller has taught and coached at Swansboro High School “for over 20 years,” so she knows a thing or two about what students, especially athletes, need to do to prepare for the first day of school.
“Definitely make sure you get plenty of sleep,” she said. “It’s early in the morning that we start school. Also, eat breakfast so you have fuel to start the day off on a right note.”
Miller and other coaches in the area are preparing for the start of school. Students return to class Aug. 26.
Miller added that classes begin at 7:10 a.m. They started at 7 a.m. after schools opened back up last school year following Hurricane Florence in an effort to make up lost time.
“Most students don’t go to bed until early in the morning and they sleep half of the day and it takes the body a while to get acclimated when schools starts,” Miller said. “That not only affects your school work, but also your athletic performance. One thing I’ve been preaching to my volleyball kids is not staying up all night and that they’re eating and hydrating properly for practice and for games.”
East Duplin Athletic Director and basketball coach Robert Ross agreed.
“When school gets back, the kids are used to practicing early and probably getting in naps during the day,” he said. “If they practice over the summer in the afternoon, they are probably sleeping in. So proper rest now is important.”
Getting proper rest isn’t the only thing the coaches recommend to their students. They said they also stress time management, especially to their athletes.
“You tell the kids to get their work done in the classroom,” Ross said. “The big thing that I tell our student athletes is to be ready to be held to a higher standard. As a student athlete, everyone is watching you. You want to make sure you’re doing the right things in the classroom and out in town.”
South Lenoir Athletic Director Lisa Smith said she tells her athletes they are role models.
"We tell them that people looks up to them and that they need to be doing the right things," she said. "We tell them that they represent our school."
Dixon Athletic Director and baseball coach Brandon Ball agreed.
“They have to make sure they get their homework done,” he said. “Practice and games will happen after school and you can’t miss those just because you’re being a slacker in class. So take care of business.”
Even if students have a lot on their plate.
“A lot of kids have out-of-school extra stuff like travel soccer or travel softball,” Miller said. “They have to manage their time.”
The key, Ball said, was to get the school year off on right foot, especially freshmen.
“One thing I tell the freshmen is that they are getting a brand new start,” he said. “Our teachers don’t know them. So any negatives they had in middle school, if they truly want to change and become a better person, this is their chance.
“It really applies to everybody, but mostly freshmen because they are getting a true fresh start.”
Havelock football coach Allen Wooten agreed.
"First impressions are important and it starts with the way you dress, the way you handle yourself and the way you sit in class," Wooten said. "Something I tell my kids is to try to be role models because you're setting an example for other Havelock football players. On the first day, go introduce yourself, be 'Yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir.' It goes along ways in the classroom."
So does being proactive, Smith said.
"We tell them to be open to all new experiences," she said. "We tell them to try extracurricular activities and to get involved."
Chris Miller can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 910-219-8472. Follow him on twitter @jdnsports.