It’s all about balance for Elite Athletes

Image of Clare Warwick playing softball

Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) student Clare Warwick is in CSU’s Elite Athlete Program and has been selected to play for Australia at the World Softball Championships in Canada, which start today.

I was someone who was lucky enough to get a sports scholarship to go and play softball at the University of Hawai’i n the US after finishing high school.

I did this for about six months and, after receiving my Bachelor of Science there, I decided to do some more study to become a teacher and CSU offered a very flexible way to do this around my sporting commitments. I had always been thinking about teaching and my positive experiences in coaching confirmed my desire to teach.

The main two things that motivated me to go to university were firstly the fact I wanted to play college softball and that going to university was a necessity. Secondly, I had always wanted to pursue a university degree to give me more options for employment.

portrait of Clare WarwickI am now in my second year of studying a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) at CSU and have been selected to play for Australia at the World Softball Championships in July.

CSU is an Elite Athlete Friendly University, which has helped me manage my study and performance. The Elite Athlete program supports and encourages student athletes to help them balance their higher education whilst training at an elite level. This means that I have had constant communication from CSU checking that everything is okay and that I am managing my sport and study. The program has also helped me in organising my study around the world championships and given me the financial help to get there.

I’m hoping to achieve the same thing in schools as I do in the softball community: provide support, guidance and motivation for students trying to achieve their academic goals.

In order to balance my training and study, time management skills have become my best friend over the course of my study both in Hawai’i and with CSU. I have had to make a lot of sacrifices to fit everything in but it has been worth it. You have to be very honest with yourself about what your priorities are.

I love softball because it brings a wide range of athletes together. The nature of the sport allows tall, short, fast and slow athletes to contribute to a collective goal and find their niche within a team. I think this is a big selling point for kids starting the sport.

Softball is a highly skilled sport and the work that you put in at training really does shine through in games. This was shown in winning the bronze medal at the 2012 and 2014 world championships, which are a couple of my biggest sporting highlights.

Softball also makes you a mentally tough athlete and person. Dealing with a low success rate when you train so hard is not always easy to deal with. As a softball athlete I think you need to have a good perspective on yourself and the sport in order to be consistent, especially at the international level.