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Academic Coach

Are You Doing All You Can
For Your Student-Athlete?

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

We buy every "new fangled" baseball training aid on the market. We build pitching mounds and batting cages in our backyards. Our guys have personal trainers and private hitting, fielding and pitching coaches.

But ... Are we doing all that we can? Or that we should?

What about their academics? Some students are gifted in the classroom, much like some are naturally gifted on the athletic field. However for the most part all student-athletes can use some academic help.

If your son were the next Alex Rodriguez or Greg Maddux would you decide that he did not need any individual instruction? That he was already too good?

Then why not a "private coach" for academics?

Did you know that most high schools have a peer teaching program? This is a program in which the best of the best students will help or tutor their peers. Students tutor in classes that they excel in. In many cases these "peer tutors" are students that plan on entering the teaching / education field, so this is a great way for them to gain experience.

In most cases there is no charge for peer tutoring.

If a student-athlete is struggling in a particular course it is important that he let the teacher know. Most teachers really do care if their students "get it." Of course there are those few that do not.

Many times the teacher will offer to help the student, after school, during a study hall or sometimes before school, in the morning. Other times the teacher will suggest a peer tutor or an independent (outside) tutor.

High school guidance counselors are another source of information and help. After all ... that is their job!

Another source of outside help is your local college. Whether it is a small community college or a large state or private 4 year institution there is help available.

Contact the academic advisors office (there are many different names for this) and ask them if they have a list of independent outside tutors. Some colleges also have a list of student tutors that may be available.

Keep in mind that we have left the potentially free tutoring/help sources. Independent tutors will charge a fee (usually hourly) for their services. The cost is normally less than a one (1) hour private baseball lesson. Many times, much less.

And finally ... What are you doing as parents? It's not enough to ask your child "is your homework done?" Or to tell them to turn off the television or stereo, or playstation and "do your homework."

You need to check their homework. It's not important whether you know the subject matter. Many times you can help by making sure that it is neat and doesn't look like it has been through the garbage disposal.

One thing we found as parents is that if we asked to see the homework, when our guys "claimed" it was done was that many times they decided that it still needed a little bit more work. And they went and finished it .... again.

Do you get as excited about a good grade (or grades) on his report card, as you do over a game winning hit or great pitching performance?

If not, what kind of message are you sending to your child?

Get involved in your child's education. As involved as you are in their athletic endeavors. Would you send your son to a private lesson baseball coach without checking in from time to time and asking "how is he doing?" You can do the same at his school. Ask for and set up parent-teacher conferences with your children's teachers. Attend "Open House" and meet your child's teachers. Get Involved

One last idea on this topic. Here's a neat gift that you can give your child. Computer Lessons

We gave each of our boys lessons at the local community college. Starting with the basic "This is a computer" and then up through Word, Excel and any other classes they wanted to take. Our deal was that if they started the class they had to finish it. If they did not finish a class the cost of the class was to be paid back by them, to Mom and Dad.

This became more fun when we discovered that the guys did not mind if Mom or Dad signed up for the same class. We all learned.

The odds are stacked against your child when it comes to making a living playing a sport. Why not give him everything you can to help him succeed in the "real world?"

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