Study Skills for College Athletes

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9780130287151: Study Skills for College Athletes

This unique, concise book uses a conversational tone to encourage readers and busy student athletes to immediately improve their learning experience. It provides inspiration and incentive for studying and achieving an education—along with easy-to-understand skills and strategies to become more effective in school. Strategies include setting goals, time management, concentration, and memory. Study skills coverage includes the Cornell Notetaking System and other formats, test taking, vocabulary building, classroom lectures, textbook assignments, and research papers. The book also provides learners with normed diagnostic information about their strengths and weaknesses in learning strategies, goal setting, time management, test preparation and motivation. Quotes from coaches and athletes are interspersed throughout the text. For student athletes who want to excel in learning.

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About the Author:

WALTER PAUK, renowned for his work in study skills, has written a book that is simultaneously motivational and informative. Recognizing the challenge most student-athletes face in balancing academic responsibilities and athletic schedules, Pauk provides a succinct resource to help them maximize efficiency while minimizing stress. Capitalizing on the power of language in context, Pauk provides students with tools that facilitate meaningful connections between the vocabulary of their daily athletic activities and that of their college environment. Underlying Pauk's use of work histories and stories about athletes is his unmitigated belief that one's personal connection to and ownership in learning breeds enthusiasm, which in turn breeds success, whether in sports or in life.

This edition also contains expanded coverage of goal setting which underscores the importance of thinking through and applying a plan—a skill that will ultimately help students manage both their academic and professional goals.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:



Coaches are 100% correct! They know by instinct and by experience that success in the classroom depends mainly on two interrelated characteristics: control of time and self-discipline.

Time. Everyone (rich or poor, king or peasant, miser or wastrel, deserving or undeserving, athlete or non-athlete)—everyone receives 24 golden hours every day. No one receives one minute more, nor one minute less. That's equality!

Equality in hours, yes! Yet, around us, we see students who achieve twice as much as others. How come? What's the secret?

This part of the secret is obvious. The achievers are self-disciplined. They're in complete control. I~ the library, for example, there's no wasting of time such as sitting and watching others. No! They head for the computer, find the books they need and go right to work extracting information for a term paper, for instance. Whatever the task, some productive work begins immediately.

"What a dull life!" you might say. No, not at all. In the late afternoon, you'll find them on the tennis court; or, in the evening, at a movie or the theater—and without any feeling of guilt, because they've done their work, and now they have time to play.

The other part of the secret is not so obvious but it's this: self-discipline and time management are essential for success but they are still not enough. The magic is when self-discipline and time management are coupled with strategies and skills, just as in sports. Then, you've got it made.

What strategies? Included in this book are two administraions of the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI), an assessment for accurately determining your study strengths and weaknesses. You will take the first LASSI to give you a picture of your needs when entering this course. The second LASSI will tell you how much improvement has been made.

What skills? Well, in these thirteen chapters, you'll find the skills you need for academic success. You'll learn how to take notes in class, how to read a textbook, how to study for and take exams, how to write a paper, plan your time, improve your concentration, strengthen your memory, build your vocabulary, and many more tips and techniques on how to be a successful student.

This book is intended to help you be a success in college, not only athletically, but academically as well. Student athletes deal with a myriad of problems that non-athletes do not encounter. You have an athletic schedule as well as an academic schedule. You have a focus that involves your sport, as well as your education. You need skills to help you be successful in both areas of your college life.


Three additions have been added to this new version of Study Skills for College Athletes: two LASSIs (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory) for pre-and post-assessment, Word Interest, and Setting Goals.


New to this edition is a section in Chapter 1 on the Word History System, intended to create for students a personal interest in words. Of special interest is a case study about Malcolm X, using excerpts from his autobiography. This material reveals his vivid interest in education, and in particular, words.

Vocabulary pages end each chapter, using excerpts from Sports Illustrated.

Students have to have an interest in words to improve vocabulary. Interest is the keystone to the entire process. Even though we, as instructors, firmly believe in the interest principle, our problem remains: how to transmit the interest principle into the minds and hearts of our students.

The Word History System has worked in the academic lives of many students. It worked to create a personal interest in words. But, often, this interest remained within the confines of the academic world.

Here's what worked. Students were shown how this nascent interest could build their vocabularies many fold once it burst out of the academic world and rubbed shoulders with the mundane world of newspapers and magazines.

To demonstrate, a newspaper was brought in. The sporting page was exposed to an article reporting on the 1997 World Series. The first paragraph read—

Rookie Jaret Wright threw a big-time heat on a wet, cold field
Wednesday night to give Cleveland a 10-3 win against Florida that evened
the World Series after four games.

But the pin-pointed lesson here was the large-lettered headline that read—


Yogi Berra was correct when he said, "You can observe a lot if you look."

When students see a headline like this, henceforth they will say to themselves, "How clever and how appropriate." Once students see and say this, they cannot help in the future from admiring and appreciating a writer's skillfulness and creativeness with words. This interest in words will not be confined only to the sports page. Interest will flow to any page that has mind-catching words. Here's an example dealing with finance. The paragraph reads—

Robert Morrison was named CEO of Quaker Oats Thursday, one
day after resigning as CEO of Kraft Foods.

The headline introducing this article—


Again, creative and appropriate.

Obvious Suggestion
Encourage students to bring in examples of headlines cleverly crafted.

After cutting their teeth on short clever headlines, students easily move on to longer writings, which also begin with innovative headings. Below is an article brought in by a student:

Alamogordo, N.M. - Amid spiky yuccas and cholla cactus, a dry
desert wind snaps the American flag above the tombstone of this U.S. Air
Force veteran. "Ham," the inscription says, "world's first astrochimp."
Perfect setting. "snaps" gives reader a sound.
"Astrochimp? What's that?"

It's an odd resting place for a chimpanzee born in the dense rain
forest of the Cameroons. But there's little about this chimp's life
that wasn't strange. Trained aboard a Mercury capsule, rocketed into space,
featured on the cover of LIFE magazine, Ham—short for Holloman
AeroMedical Laboratory—made history before the age of four.
Catches interest; read full story.

The headline—


Once students start to marvel at the skillfulness of a writer, they will no longer just read for information. Yes, they'll still read for information, but they'll also see how words can be used to convey that information interestingly and perhaps beautifully. By paying attention to how the information is being presented with words, students will be doing themselves a great favor: increasing their vocabularies almost effortlessly and enjoyably. This personal interest-technique of vocabulary development borders on the edge of wisdom; that is, "seeing things from the inside out."


Also in this edition is an expanded section on setting goals (Chapter 1).

Simply telling a student to have a goal is not enough. You cannot force a goal on a person. Yes, they hear you, understand you, and agree with you. That does not mean they will internalize it—drink it in. We all know the adage, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Unwritten goals are in the same never-never land as dreams. Unwritten goals are bound to be fuzzy and unlikely to materialize. The magic of writing out a goal is that one creates a definite, sharp image of the goal, which is then not only focused in the conscious mind, but also incubates in the subconscious mind, taking shape and becoming real. John Wooten, famous UCLA basketball coach, sums it up by saying, "Failing to plan is planning to fail."

One thing that almost all successful people have in common is that their goals are written out in detail. In the following example, this person had something even better than a written-out goal. He had a picture.

Conrad Hilton, who was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1931, cut out
a picture of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, and put it under the
cracked and chipped glasstop of his desk. He gazed at this picture every
day. Eighteen years later, Conrad Hilton acquired the Waldorf.

Goal setting is a hard thing to do. Why? I think because it has a deep emotional dimension. To help students set goals, we must somehow touch not only their minds, but also their hearts.

There's no easy way. There is no SQ3R for setting goals—no cut and dried formula. With goal setting, we, as teachers, are truly touching the vital lives of our students. I think one approach to helping our students is to inspire them to plumb their own depths and to do the goal setting in a personal, serious way. I believe that for a goal to be a driving force, it must have this honest, personal quality. As I see it, the words from Frank Sinatra's song, "My Way," are not a selfish, unthinking expression of a person egotistically forcing his or her will upon another. Rather, they are an expression—"I have one life to live, it's precious, and I want to live it the way that will best fulfill what I am meant to be."

Not too long ago, in one of the inner sections of the Wall Street Journal, there was a feature article titled something like this: "Changing Careers in Mid-Life." What impressed me about this article is the high percentage of people who changed careers—around 43%.

How does the article relate to goals? One thought is that they did not make the right choice in the first place. Of course, they are many reasons for changing careers. However, I think that the r...

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