By Pierre Tranchemontagne
Job. Sports. Extracurricular activities. School. Boyfriend/girlfriend. Social life. Welcome to the life of the teenager. With thoughts of Justin Bieber and Kesha running through their heads, how does this teenager prioritize and organize their busy life? Answer: time management. This little taught life skill is essential, especially if our young adult is considering pursuing higher education and volleyball at the same time. Later in their « academic career » the school workload will be ramped up as will the training time and commitment to an organized volleyball program. As teachers, coaches, parents, etc., we need to support our athletes at a young age so that they don’t crash and burn upon entry to « life without boundaries » (i.e. – mom and dad), or as it is more commonly referred to, university and college. A physically strong and technically proficient athlete won’t help any team if they can’t even meet the basic academic requirements of their school because they can’t properly manage their busy schedule. What to do? As already mentioned, the key is for our athletes to develop their time management skills at an early age so that it becomes second nature to properly plan school work, personal time, family activities, work, and a social life.
With this goal in mind, I have developed a tool to facilitate the planning process. The tool is a calendar that is horizontally organized within an Excel template. Each activity (project, test, practice, game, party, etc.) is “blocked” into a respective category (line) and into a specific date (column). Furthermore, the athlete can note the amount of hours that will be dedicated to that specific activity. The total amount of time put into that activity is automatically summed and displayed at the end of the line. This tool is advantageous because an athlete can visually see any conflicts in scheduling. They can also “budget” more time for an activity (like studying) if they notice that their upcoming schedule is a busy one or if the total time of that activity for the month is lower than it should be. This time “budget” allows a student to borrow time from one activity and move it to another if needed and promotes a better balance between their school, athletic and social lives.
In the 3 ring circus juggling act that is the life of a teenager, let us, as coaches, parents and teachers, not be disheartened. With a bit of planning, hard work and a time management tool (perhaps the one I presented?) our young athlete will be well on his or her way to efficiently organize their busy schedule and succeed in their future endeavours.