Primetime television coverage of the Winter Olympics starts Thursday, and kids are bound to get caught up in the excitement — especially if they already excel at a sport.
So what do you do if those Olympic dreams last past February?
Realistically, the chances of a young athlete accomplishing this goal are slim; estimates are around a half million to one. But there are ways for you to help support your child’s efforts. The folks at CoachUp (www.coachup.com), a service that connects athletes with private coaches, offer these tips.
♦ First, talk to your child about commitment. Making an Olympic team takes more than just talent — it takes hard work. Your athlete eventually will be completing some element of training at least once a day, and for some sports, twice. In the future, your child might need to apply for scholarships or sponsorships to help financially support their dream.
♦ Make sure you and your child are aware of potential sacrifices. Be honest with your child about the sacrifices that they will often face in pursuing their dream, such as missing out on vacations and social events. Depending on the sport, he or she might need to miss school and will spend a lot of time traveling to competitions.
♦ Join the governing body of your child’s sport. Each sport has a governing body that is responsible for sanctioning the highest level of competition. This group also will select athletes for Olympic teams. Following the governing body will ensure that you are up-to-date on rules and regulations, and that you are informed of important upcoming competitions. You also may learn about elite development group opportunities or get connected to organizational members that can help your family navigate the sport.
♦ Find the best training situation for you child. Early on you might have your child join the school team; however, it is important to also explore other team training options as your child progresses to higher competition. Your young athlete might need to pursue an education at a private school or participate in a elite development groups.
♦ Hire a private coach. For young athletes aiming to compete at elite, high-pressure levels, it’s important to connect them with an expert in the area as they begin to outgrow local competition. This coach will not only prescribe the necessary training regime for your child but will help him or her feel supported when facing new challenges.
Source: CoachUp, www.coachup.com