Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck.

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck

Vicki is joined this week by Christian Buck, a performance consultant for athletes and teams at colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Brown and Amherst. He helps athletes raise their game by using sport psychology techniques. Chris noticed that sports psychology can help student athletes become better students, also. SO he has written a book: The Sport of School that helps students improve on the field and/or in academics. (Teens from his academic coaching program, Sport of School Academy, have been accepted at competitive colleges such as Cornell, Notre Dame, Tufts, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.)

Homeschool high schoolers, athlete or not, can use some sports psychology mindsets to improve their academic performance. He does not talk about tutoring (although tutoring can be a pretty awesome thing), but rather, helping students raise their motivation.

Catch that? Christian Buck has some ideas that will help our students find their motivation and use it for academic success.

Christian Buck, The Sport of School

Christian Buck, The Sport of School. Photo used with permission.

He begins with the example: An athlete does not have to be prodded to workout in the weight room. It is something they are motivated to do because they know workouts help improve their performance.

So how do you help homeschool high schooler find the motivation, the “want to”, for academic success?

The first step is to understand their natural motivation style. Then you take what you know about your teen’s natural motivation style and apply it to academics!

Chris has found that there are five motivation styles

In his work with athletes, he has identified these styles:

The Workhorse

The Workhorse is the hard worker. They come early to practice and stay late, they do lots of time in the gym, improving their skills. For academics, Workhorses just need to know that the exam or project is the game (and maybe the co-op teacher is the opponent). They can attack the preparation for the exam or project with the same attitude as their athletic preparation. They are ready to “beat the quiz”.

The Rookie

The Rookie just has not learned the rules. He might be plugging along with so-so effort but has not learned the “rule”, that if he wants to play college sports (or get into college), he has to have a competitive GPA. He just did not know. They just need to know the ropes, so help them identify their goal and know the “rules” for getting there.

The Spectator

The Spectator is on the sidelines. They are just watching life go by, not caring if they fail or succeed. They are going through the motions. Teens like this need a personal vision. Help these teens explore and identify what they want to do, who they want to be, where they want to go.  Help teens develop some images and dreams about their future. Then they can start fighting for it.

The Natural Talent

The Natural Talent was born good at just about anything. When they work on things, it is easy for them…until they finally get to something they do not naturally know or beyond their natural talents. These teens tend to skip out on the hard things. They have not learned how to work. These teens need to develop a growth mindset (I can’t do this yet but I will) by finding one thing to work hard on then let that spread to the academics.

The Intellectual

The Intellectual is headed for Ivy League (or the Pachysandra League- the competitive, but not Ivy League, colleges). These teens want to work hard in the academics but get trapped by perfectionism, not thinking realistically about their goals. These teens need to work on flexible thinking and healthily defining success.

Each type of student can find their motivation by knowing their motivation style and working with it!

Christian Buck wrote his book, The Sport of School, to help teens dramatically increase their academic performance. It helps teens find their “hook”, their motivation and belief in themselves.

Listen in to this inspiring chat with Christian Buck and get lots of examples and tips (such as rewards, time management).

You can check Christian Buck out on:


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Thinking of School as Sport, Interview with Christian Buck


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