Balancing Act

The Right Game Plan Can You Make The Grade On And Off The Ice

As thousands of hockey players return to the classroom, it is important that each of them creates a game plan for success.

Moving from a summer of hockey camps, vacations and part-time jobs to a schedule that includes school, homework, practice, travel and games, requires student-athlete to create a plan that enables them to make the grade off the ice in order to be successful on the ice.

Establishing Goals

First and foremost, set academic goals. Determine what want to achieve this year: What is your target GPA? What do you need to do to be successful in each class? What are your long-term goals - for high school? For college? Setting goals keeps you on track and working with a purpose. Goals can change, but it is essential to establish them as they provide focus and motivation.

Time Management

Once you have established your goals, developing excellent time management skills is equally important. Whether you use the planner on your phone or the planner that is given to you at school, it is important to create a daily/weekly/monthly plan and stick to it.

Decide now, before you become overwhelmed, how can you best use your time. Is it possible to spend 30 minutes at lunch to complete your math problems? Are you able to spend an hour immediately following your last class to complete homework for two classes? Can you use the time in the car while your parents drive you to practice to read for literature class? Definitely do not leave your schoolwork until you get home at night as you will be tired after a long day.

Creating A Game Plan

As you work to create your study plan, recognize the importance of studying for every class. In your plan, make the conscious decision to tackle the hardest subjects and assignments first. It is important to have the focus and energy to complete the 30 math equations or history study guide or verb conjugations. Once those are done, you can move on to the rest of your assignments. Don't delay on what is difficult, never procrastinate, just get down to business and complete the work.

Avoid Distractions

In addition to your study plan, make sure you create an appropriate workspace. That space should be free from distraction and contain the tools that you need to complete the work. If you are assigned chapters to read for Literature class, make sure you work space is quiet. If you have equations to solve for Algebra, Calculus or Chemisty, be sure to have the correct calculator, graph paper and space to spread out. If you need supplies for a special class, make sure that they are readily available. When it is time to complete schoolwork, go to your well supplied work space, turn off your phone, and get down to business.

Take A Step Back

In addition to you daily assignments, don't forget to review. Start each lesson with a review of the notes taken in class and don't forget to review the appropriate pages from the textbook. On the weekends, spend time reviewing chapters and units that have been previously completed. As final exams are cumulative, a regular review of class content will lead to learning the material much more so than a quick cram session the weekend before exam week.

Success at school doesn't come without planning, hard work and personal responsibility. Like hockey, it comes as a result of clearly established goals, managing your time, and having the tools available to completed the work.

Is it easy to achieve success both on and off the ice, probably not. But the best things in life often come as a result of hard work and sacrifice.


 Lisa Vollmers spent 25 years as an educator in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. For the past 13 years, she has served USA Hockey as an academic mentor, and currently as the director of Student-Athlete Services for the National Team Development Program.




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