The secret to balancing study, a job, a baby and a life

Slade King balances study, a family and coaches the BOP Volcanix women's rugby team

Slade King (left) balances study, a family and coaches athletes including the BOP Volcanix women’s rugby team.

One of the biggest challenges to students is time, especially when they are parents, and it’s also one of the reasons why some students don’t complete their study.

Juggling is second nature to Rotorua-based Slade King who fits in work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in Rotorua and Mount Maunganui while he completes a Postgraduate Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at Wintec. Alongside two part-time jobs, study and a 2.5-hour round trip commute, he still finds time for his wife and baby girl, and his own personal training schedule.

How does he do it? By segmenting his commute, study and work and doing what he loves, with an eye to the pay-off in the future, he is making it work.

“Besides loving the work I do (it actually doesn’t even feel like work) and what I’m studying, I enjoy changing up locations and creating wider networks as a result of my travelling and multiple responsibilities,” he says.

“I don’t get over any of it, because due to the nature of what I do, it’s all in small doses. I believe my management and organisational skills are sharper than ever because of this workload, and I know it will benefit me in the future.”

Slade says the biggest setback is having less time right now for his family, but he manages to work in time for that too.

This student dynamo is coaching up to 80 rugby players for the Bay of Plenty (BOP) Rugby Union.

He’s the lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for the BOP Volcanix (the women’s premier team), their wider training group, BOP men’s and women’s Sevens, and also a few of BOP Steamers players that live in Rotorua.

“The players vary from Chiefs, Black Ferns, Black Ferns Sevens, All Black Sevens and of course at a regional level.”

He says that after looking into all his options around the North Island, Wintec “was an easy choice”.

“They were prompt and professional in making contact right away, they showed genuine care of the situation I was in by being as flexible and accommodating as they could, and most importantly, the quality of the course is up there with the best.”

Director for Wintec Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Greg Smith says that working in the field you study in can pay off.

“Work and family is a reality for many students and it’s our job to help them to build a career in sport while earning a living. Many people have different individual needs and responsibilities, and our job is to look at those and enable them to develop their skills and understanding in the world of sport and exercise science as much as we can.

During the week, Slade wakes at 4.30am, downs a coffee and heads to the Rotorua Performance Centre from 5.00am – 7.15am to work.

He’s home for his baby at 7.30am and drops her off to day care by 8.45am before he hits the road to Hamilton.

From 10.00am - 3.00pm he’s at Wintec, in class, studying or planning and then he’s on the road to Mount Maunganui.

From 4.30pm – 5.30pm he trains before starting work from 5.45 – 7.45pm at Adams Centre for High Performance in Mount Maunganui. He makes it home to Rotorua in time for dinner (and bed) around 8.45 – 9.00pm.

“I make sure I finish early every Friday if I can, so I have all weekend with my baby girl and wife. I still get to see them both every day, so it’s not too bad and I know it’s only temporary and in the long run, this is going to pay-off.”

Find out more about Wintec Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance.

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