In sports competition, what is the most important play?
You are likely to get many different answers depending on who you ask. However, to most coaches, the correct response they want from their athletes is, “the next play”.
This is a vital message coaches need to communicate to his/her team and individual players. Participants cannot be focused on what previously took place on the field, court, etc. All of their attention needs to be on what is going on in present time. If an athlete is still thinking about what just happened—either positive or negative—it takes away from their concentration on the next action.
Similarly, as you work on your academics, it is important to keep your focus on what you are currently doing. If you just had a grade you really like or one that was not so fantastic, you need to refocus and get your attention on what you are doing now. This enables you to do the best you can on the current project, assignment, test, or evaluation.
Learn from your past and prepare for your future, but focus on what you are learning today!
St. Patrick’s Day is an annual celebration on March 17. What began as a commemoration of the patron saint of Ireland has become a fun-filled celebration of all things Irish.
Not Irish? It does not matter!
At celebrations throughout the world, you will be informed that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! You will see green clothing, green hair and green shamrocks. The city of Chicago even dyes the river green. You will hear St. Patrick’s Day expressions such as “Erin Go Bragh,” “Kiss the Blarney Stone” and my personal favorite “Luck of the Irish to You!”
“Luck of the Irish!” I love this expression because for years I misunderstood it. I believed it meant something like extreme good fortune. But an Irish-American friend explained that it really encompasses the sense of luck that you make yourself through your own positive outlook and determination. I liked that meaning so much better!
While I enjoy the idea of luck—wishes on a falling star, crossing my fingers—I believe in being positive and being prepared. Whether facing an exam, hoping for an opportunity or approaching a challenge in your life, it’s fun to make a wish, but you are more likely to find the luck you need when you put forth effort and have a positive attitude.
So when I wish you the “Luck of the Irish,” I really wish you the happiness and good fortune that comes from knowing that you have prepared yourself for the good things you want to come your way.
Fundamentals are the basic skills, techniques, etc. that serve as the foundation of any system. Being fundamentally sound is an essential if you want to be successful at something.
Throughout my years of coaching football, the team that was the most successful was usually the team that did the best in the basic fundamentals of blocking and tackling. Most football coaches plan to spend a significant part of their practice time developing or enhancing these essential skills with their players. If you are not fundamentally sound at blocking and tackling in football, you are going to struggle.
How are you in the basic fundamentals of being a good student?
Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are three standard fundamentals that can help lead you to academic success:
A regular study schedule or routine
A study environment that has minimal distractions
Completing all required homework and assigned readings
Just as there are many additional skills in football besides blocking and tackling (i.e. passing the ball, catching the ball, rushing the passer, causing turnovers, etc.) there are also many other important skills in your development as a student: writing, reading and test taking to name a few.
After you set the foundation with the basic fundamentals, you can start working on these additional skills.
What academic fundamentals do you need to work on to help you be the best student you can be?
Sports have long been an integral part of my life both as an athlete and coach, and I feel the lessons learned in athletics are similar to academics. For example, in athletic competition one of most important components to victory is having a game plan.
Most coaches develop game plans based on several factors including but not limited to:
The ability of his or her players
Opportunities for success against an opponent
You may have heard the “coach speak” phrases:
“Stick with the game plan” if the team is doing well or just needs to perform better
“Adjust the game plan” if changes are needed in order to win
Having a game plan for your academic success is important as well, and right now is a great time of year to reassess the plan you are working on.
Perhaps you can just “stick with your plan” because you are earning the grades you desire. However, some of you may need to “adjust your game plan” because you are not experiencing the results you want or need to reach your goals.
Here are my three suggestions for adjusting your academic game plan:
Believe you can do it—self-confidence is key
Work hard—nothing can take the place of effort
Get help if you need it—be sure to use the resources available to you!
So now I have to ask—how is your academic “game plan” working for you? Do you need to “stick with it” or make some “adjustments”? What adjustments do you think you need to make? Please comment below.
I know many of you may have started new years resolutions with the ringing in of 2016, but my resolution actually started at the beginning of the school year—July 1, 2015.
After two years of procrastinating I finally acknowledged that it wasn’t my desk chair shrinking. And, after seeing my better half shed 40 pounds (he cut out soda and became friends with our dusty elliptical), I was determined to break out of my habit of grazing and start lacing up my running shoes again.
Breaking old habits is tough, but when it can result in positive changes for your life, it is most definitely a meaningful goal. For me, I knew it was time to transform and not just for myself.
My resolution is for:
My wonderful family, friends and neighbors
Playtime with grandkids
Energy for my co-workers and the many students I work to inspire throughout the year
Our youngest son’s wedding (in September 2016!)
I’m proud to say that my chair now fits comfortably again, and I have bought a second pair of sneakers to keep at work.
But I’m still working toward my goal and could use a bit of encouragement! Please share your inspiration and suggestions as I look to continue on my resolution.
For your resolutions or any of your goals in general, I encourage you to also set up a support system to help you be successful. And don’t ever be afraid to ask for help along the way!