Queen’s coaches give pep talks

Men’s hockey’s Brett Gibson and football’s Steve Snyder give guidance on how to get that ‘A’ 

Steve Snyder, left, and Brett Gibson, right.
Steve Snyder, left, and Brett Gibson, right.
The midterm season can be a stressful time for most students. Chasing down an ‘A’ for a 40 per cent midterm can feel like a do-or-die playoff match. The reality is, this time of year is crunch time.
But when athletes are prepping for a big game, they often have the support of teammates and coaches to rely on. For students, however, the midterm season is often characterized by hours spent alone studying in Stauffer with Spotify’s ‘Deep Focus’ playlist on loop. 
In a year when many students haven’t met—let alone formed bonds with classmates—this midterm season might feel especially isolated. Some of us may be wishing we had a personal coach to hype us up through the coming weeks. 
With this in mind, The Journal reached out to some of Queen’s top coaches to get some words of wisdom and motivation to push on—and get some solid scores. 
When it comes to performing when the pressure’s on, Queen’s football head coach Steve Snyder could be considered an expert. Throughout his seasoned career, he has led the top offences in Canada and won two Yates Cups and a Vanier cup. 
His key to success is allotting the time for necessary preparations, so when it’s time to perform you feel confident and are in the best position to succeed. Snyder believes what leads to success on the field also translates to the classroom. 
“Performance is about preparation. Preparation is about striving to get an edge, so that when it’s time to perform on game day you know that you are ready to be at your best, you know that you have found an edge, an edge equals a competitive advantage,” he said.
“The key to game day is trusting that edge that you have created through your commitment to preparation. Turn on your game face, believe in your edge and play to win. Attack it and finish it.”
Brett Gibson, head coach of the men’s hockey team, is also a proven leader. Throughout his 14-year tenure at Queen’s, he’s led the Gaels to 10 playoff appearances, a 2019 Queen’s Cup win, and has amassed honours including Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and U Sports Coach of the Year. 
Much like Snyder, Gibson believes preparation is crucial, which ultimately boils down to time management. This might not initially sound comforting to procrastinators, but it should be. At the end of the day, success boils down to preparedness, which is something you can control, Gibson said.
“Midterm weeks and exam weeks are stressful times for all university students; do not feel that [you] are alone in those sentiments. Time [m]anagement and [p]reparation are two key skills that need to be at the forefront leading up to these weeks,” Gibson said.
“The best part of these two skills is that they are choices that each one of you have at your disposal. You choose how much time you are going to study. You choose whether to sacrifice some personal time. If [you] really want to do well on your exams, [you] are going to have to make sacrifices, but by making these sacrifices, [you] are setting yourself up for success.”
While these sacrifices are necessary, Gibson noted that students also need to prioritize their health and wellness in order for their preparation to pay off.
“You also cannot study 24 hours a day. Sleep, nutrition and some sort of exercise will allow your body and brain to feel energized for the grind of the week. Time management and preparation will allow you to use rest [and] exercise as a weapon.”

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