Ever wondered why some athletes succeed and some don’t?
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Hard work pays!”
With exams just around the corner, the obvious ‘cramming’ sessions begin with night after night spent sitting at a desk trying to remember what was taught in class 6 months ago.
Why not do things better?
(great article below by High School Swim Coach Braden Keith)
INSTEAD, WE SHOULD BE STARTING EARLY, AND TEACHING OUR DRAGONS’S STRATEGIES FOR DUAL ATHLETIC AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Very rarely does anybody want to learn about time management skills before academics become a problem, and before the big-red-panic button is smashed, meaning that practice attendance goes by the wayside.
Here’s the top strategies I can give to managing these things:
1. Learn what actually works – because it’s probably not what you think. No, all-nighters do not work. No, coming home from school and sitting in front of your text-book does not work. No, saving all of your studying until the night before, or the morning of, a test does not work. No matter how long you’ve been trying these strategies, no matter what anecdotal evidence says, no matter how badly you as a parent or you as a swimmer want to enforce them, study after study after study shows that these are not the best strategies for test performances.
2. Learn from those who know – perhaps the most valuable thing that any coach can do, in terms of helping their teams succeed and balance, is to take a practice at the beginning of a season, and bring in a tried-and-true expert to give a seminar on study skills. Strategies like going home and studying the day you first learned something, rather than trying to do it three weeks later before the test. Strategies like taking breaks from studying (practice is a great chance for a mental break from derivatives and gerunds, especially if the coach is trying to work harmoniously and is giving credit to the fact that finals can be a stressful time for swimmers) can be a big win, and too many people assume they know the best way to study and learn without taking the time to read the literature.
3. Talk to your coaches before deciding – you will be amazed on what coaches are willing to do to keep kids in the water. Late arrival, let the athlete get out 30 minutes early, letting a teammate who is excelling in that class get out 30 minutes early to help tutor them or help them work through a problem, coaching them on time management, helping to keep them focused. The problem is that too often, the coach isn’t brought into the loop until a student is at the breaking point or in the danger zone. In the United States, athletic coaches, along with teachers, peers, and parents, are a part of a child’s support system, and the fact is that because of the nature of what we do, coaches will often have a very different connection with students than any of those other groups. Coaches are able to give students a ‘higher purpose’ for their studying, coaches are able to connect with students on a different level, students are used to receiving constructive criticism from their coaches, and students are used to their coaches holding them to higher standards. Therefore, a coach reminding a student to study and how to study can sometimes have a bigger impact than any of the other groups.
4. Understand your circumstances – Every sport has a different circumstance, and it’s important to know those circumstances when planning your life. If your child’s target meet/competition is in mid-December, then maybe your family tradition becomes grandma travels to you for Christmas, and you travel to grandma for Easter. If your school season runs through February, make your big family vacation over summer break rather than winter break. Even different sports have different challenges and opportunities. Football players don’t take December vacations, and swimmers shouldn’t take big vacations in the middle of their main season.
5. Respect your coaches, and they’ll return the same – If you have enough respect to get your coach’s input on your child’s specific situation, then they will have the respect to be flexible and understanding about your child’s practice attendance. When your coach really gets angry is when you come to them with a final decision before said coach has had any chance to proactively impact the situation. Coaches like to be in control, and often times, they are quite good at it. Give them a chance. Make it a conversation. The coach shouldn’t dictate to the athlete or the parent, nor should vice versa happen, but there is usually a positive solution to a problem.
6. Hold yourself to a higher standard – as mentioned above, “school over sports” is an easy excuse to get sympathy for your decision to shirk responsibilities to athletics. Your parents will let you get away with it, your teachers will let you get away with it, and even your teammates might let you get away with it.
“To truly get everything out of the student-athlete experience, however, it is up to the students to hold themselves to a higher standard than that. It’s up to the students to hold themselves to both their academic and athletic commitments. And it’s up to the students to balance their lives.”