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Time Management


Simon Peter O’Hanlon

Critical to the academic success of a student / athlete is the support system that the athletic department and college provide. Some of the components commonly found in such support systems are: remedial work, study tables, tutors, advisors, progress reports, etc.

Regis College is committed to graduating ninety-six percent of all basketball players completing their eligibility with us. It is, in fact, so stipulated in Head Coach Lonnie Porter’s contract. After careful consideration, it was concluded that an integral element to the usual support system was needed in order to provide our players with the tools to succeed in a world where effective management of time furnishes one of the key secret to success.

Time Management is not a new concept. However, in order to better provide them with some priceless success skills, those of us in college athletics need to educate well our student / athletes regarding the facets of time management.

At Regis the Time Management Program centers on three integrated factors:

  1. Weekly conferences and goal setting.
  2. Student – Professor communication.
  3. The Time Management Notebook and Planning.

Weekly Conferences and Goal Setting.

At the first weekly conference the student / athlete and his/her advisor discuss the Time Management Program graduation needs, weekly goals, GPA goals, success strategies, etc. The conversation emphasizes that the Time Management Program can and will enhance the success of the student / athlete in the classroom. The advisor in effect sells the program.

The advisor and the student, together schedule conferences to a mutually agreed upon time, preferably the same time and on the same day. This establishes a pattern and a standard time by which weekly goals must be met and weekly tasks completed.

During each conference the advisor will focus first on the goals and tasks established the previous week. If a goal or task has not been accomplished then, together, the student / athlete and the advisor work to reestablish any missed goal or task. The remainder of the session is spent reviewing progress in and study time devoted to each class.

At the end of each weekly conference, the advisor and the student / athlete agree on some tasks and goals to be accomplished during the upcoming week. They are then reviewed at the next conference.  This process has proven to be absolutely invaluable in keeping the student / athlete on track and focused.

Student – Professor Communication

In addition, at the first conference, the student / athlete is advised to arrange a consultation with each of his/her professors within the first month of school. This meeting accomplishes a number of positive objectives.

  1. The professor gets to know the student / athlete personally.
  2. The professor sees that the student / athlete is serious about his/her studies.
  3. The student / athlete learns to express, one-to-one, personal goals, concerns, doubts, etc.
  4. The student / athlete can acquire insights into the general thrust of the class, needed skills and criteria for final papers and projects.
  5. The student / athlete and the professor are able to establish a rapport based on a mutual understanding, respect, and common goals.

Once the semester is underway, the student athlete is expected to continue arranging consultations with his her professors on a timely basis. The student is entirely responsible for communicating with his or her professors. The advisor never initiates communication with a professor. Even if a student returns with a poor progress report of grade, it is the total responsibility of the student to meet with the professor in order to formulate plans to improve the grade. The advisor may suggest to the student proposals for extra work, questions to ask, answers to seek, the process for acquiring a tutor, and some success strategies. However, the student, athlete stands as the only person responsible for communicating with professors and striving for their success levels. The advisor is uniquely a guide.

Professors are most eager to cooperate or, as least, refer a student to available assistance. The student needs only ask. This demonstration of personal commitment on the part of the student/athlete facilitates a bonding between professor and student. It is tantamount that this process begins early so that the interest of the student athlete is perceived as sincere and not merely self-serving.

Time Management Notebook (TMN) and Planning

The key tool facilitating the successful working order of all our components stands as the Time Management Notebook. The success of the Time Management Program is centered on the effective use of the Time Management Notebook. The TMN provides the glue that allows the components of the program to function as a single powerful success toll for the student/athlete.

The majority of the TMN is used to record activities during all significant blocks of time (example #1) One hour is considered significant. The student will block out class times for each school day. He/she will note in the appropriate time slot if any assignments were given and their due dates. Next, he/she will plan and block out study time needed to complete each assignment.

After each scheduled study session the student records pages or chapter read, notes reviewed, research completed, or essays written. This helps keep a record regarding how much work the student is able to complete during an allotted period of time. These recordings can then be used to help plan study times for future assignments.

The pre-planning is very important in terms of the student’s concept of structure, routine and understanding the premium value on his/her time. If an unexpected responsibility interferes with pre-planned time, the student must reschedule that time within forty-eight hours.

The student athlete will schedule, also, other upcoming responsibilities in the TMN: i.e., meals meetings, practices, games, travel, recreation time, etc. Weekend scheduling is quite important. The student should schedule at least six hours of study time over Saturday and Sunday. By pre-planning exactly what will be studied those six hours, the importance of the use of that time becomes more concrete because the student knows there are specific, measurable goals to accomplish.

By remaining consistent, trusting and fair in his/her administration of the Time Management Program, the coach or advisor will witness the blossoming of a responsible student, one who is mastering the skills to manage his/her academic life productively.

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