10 Tips for Dating a College Athlete

No matter what school you go to, student athletes make up a major part of the campus population! Chances are, if you’re out and about on the dating scene, you’ll likely get to know some of them pretty well, and maybe even end up dating one…which can often be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re getting into. That being said, here are 10 tips for dating a college athlete, especially if this is your first time and you need a little guidance!


1. You must accept that the sport they play is a MAJOR part of their lives.

In most cases, student athletes have been playing their respective sport since they were little kids. They’ve gone their entire life learning the ins and outs of the game, as well as spending hours upon hours on the court/field/etc. That amount of dedication has been years in the making, and now they finally have the chance to represent their university or college with pride. If you are dating a college athlete, make sure you realize that their sport is very important to them and that type of dedication cannot be instantly applied to you.

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2. Try learning the sport they play!

If you don’t already know the rules of the game, take the time to do just that! Being able to understand what they’re talking about after a game or practice, or even when they’re watching sports, will definitely help you relate to them. They will not always talk about their sport, but when they do, you’ll have a leg up on the conversation if you already know the basics of how the game is played.

3. Remember that when dating a college athlete, time is precious.

I hate to break it to you, but the amount of time your athlete SO will be able to give to you will probably be slim to none – especially during their season. Early morning lifting and conditioning sessions can leave them feeling tired at the end of the day, and there will be times where they need to put schoolwork or other commitments ahead of you. However, when they do have the time for you and invest themselves in being with you, don’t take that for granted or waste it!

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4. “Needing space” may mean something different.

Usually, when you’re dating someone and they say they “need space,” the alarm starts sounding in your head. With student athletes, space doesn’t equal cheating or a break up. When athletes need space, they may just need some time to relax and reset after a tough loss or a grueling practice. Their schoolwork might be piling up, or their coach might be telling them they need to focus on keeping their grades high. Whatever the case may be, don’t assume anything, especially because…

5. Communication is key!

This doesn’t just go for dating a college athlete – this is important in any relationship! Fortunately for you though, student athletes are usually great with communication. It’s a vital part of their sport, most likely, so they will already have the skills to communicate well in a relationship or dating situation. Be sure to talk to them, don’t play mind games, and avoid saying things you don’t mean. Athletes listen well and are very clear and honest in communicating with those around them.

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6. When disagreements arise, and they will…

You’re bound to get frustrated with someone you’re dating, regardless if they’re an athlete of not. Whether or not the disagreement is over time, attention, situations, expectations, or anything else, it’s important to remember that athletes are used to constructive criticism. Tell them what you’re seeing and feeling, but don’t outright accuse them of doing something incorrectly. Allow them to see your side and let them communicate theirs. It’s a two-way street, and they will be more responsive if you avoid pointing fingers.

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7. Luckily, being part of a team is natural for college athletes.

Beyond communication skills, student athletes have tons of practice with being on a team. They know what it takes to make things work, and when it comes to dating, they’ll work to develop the chemistry necessary for success. You can count on them for many things, including…

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8. Motivation and encouragement.

Student athletes have received plenty of encouragement throughout the years, and they always have to find ways to stay motivated. As they do those same things for their
teammates, they might also apply those same tactics to you. Let them motivate and encourage you, and don’t be self conscious. They are not judging you for any shortcomings you may have; they just want to see you overcome them and thrive.

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9. Keep in mind that they won’t always be down to party.

If you’re the type of person who loves to go out on the weekends, you might need to take a step back and reconsider dating a college athlete. Often times, student athletes either have little time to dedicate to partying, or they simply aren’t allowed to (depending on the rules of the team). Some teams have dry seasons, where they can’t drink alcohol at all, and in light of that, you may need to figure out some other way to have fun and enjoy their company.

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10. Above all, you need to support them.

Last but not least, student athletes love to be able to look out in the crowd and see someone they care about cheering and supporting them. It’ll mean the world to them if you make an effort to go their games and cheer them on, even during the low points in the season. Not only will you grow closer, but you’ll show them that you care about all the parts of their life, not just the ones that are easy to deal with.

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