Sports are great, athletics beneficial, and of course, physical fitness is important for children and teens alike. But those passions can be taken too far. And in the teen life overdoing any one area usually leads to the other areas getting short shrift.

So, if your teenager is paying too much attention to sports and not enough to academics, here’s a few things you can do.

Penalize in a thoughtful way

Athletics is an extracurricular activity, and like all extracurricular activities, it can be curtailed. Studies need to come first. While that approach may seem harsh, an effective thing to do is give a warning to the teen that her athletic participation is at risk if the study habits do not improve. Then, if they don’t, follow through. 

A decision like this can be accompanied with all sorts of second-guessing: you’ve taken something away from your child that she adores, you’re stunting her development in her athletic endeavors, you’re also depriving her of all the positive things sports can engender, such as community, positive peer influence, and teamwork. It’s very important here to remember that she has a role here, and it is principally up to her to earn certain privileges. If she does the academic work, then she can get back to the athletic fields.

Help out with supportive measures.

Not all kids are great at schoolwork and testing, no matter how much they study. That’s especially true of those meeting the often-demanding schedules of practices, games and the travel sometimes involved. Athletes are pressed for time to be able to keep up with academics. 

How to fix it? Consider helping your child with tutoring. Sure, this presents its fair share of challenges schedule-wise, but if time can be carved out, it might be a great way for your teen to catch up on her studies and also create an environment where she might have a better chance of thriving academically.

Bring a Sense of Play

Very few kids revel in the idea of studying and homework. Let’s face it: they find it a drag, just like we did. But you don’t have to be down in the mouth about it — consider instituting a rewards system for bringing up the grades. Encourage her to study outdoors, in the park, or some more lively environment than her classroom or her bedroom—where she can still focus on schoolwork). If there are weekend car rides to games, encourage her to study there, and then the game afterwards can almost seem like a reward.

If a healthy balance can be struck between academics and athletics, then it’s a definite win. It’s up to you to make sure that balance is reached.