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How to Train an Olympic Champ

Contributed by CoachUp, a service that connects athletes of all levels to nearby private coaches

Every parent wants to help their child achieve their dreams. When it comes to athletic endeavors, many young athletes will aspire to compete at the Olympics. Nationally televised for weeks, it’s a thrill to watch our fellow Americans pushing their minds and bodies to the limit at one of the grandest levels of international competition.

Realistically, the chances of an athlete accomplishing this goal are slim. Estimates are around a half million to one. But, while the odds might be daunting, you can help support your child’s dream of elite competition. Here are some tips for helping your young athlete get to the Olympic stadium:

First, talk to your child about commitment. Making an Olympic team takes more than just talent — it takes hard work. Your athlete should be completing an 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, so he can devote more time to training.

Make sure you and your child are aware of potential sacrifices. Be honest with your child about the sacrifices that she will often face in pursuing her dream, such as missing out on vacations and social events. Depending on the sport, 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 will also select athletes for Olympic teams. Following the governing body will ensure that you are up-to-date on rules and regulations and informed about important upcoming competitions. You may also 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 your child. Early on you might have your child join his 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 elite development groups for more support.

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 her feel supported as she faces unique challenges.

There is no doubt that elite competition is a challenge for an athlete as well as his or her family.  However, helping your child reach another level in his sport promises to be an eventful and fulfilling experience for your entire family. Whether your child makes the Olympic team or not, your athlete will learn not only great skills but also valuable life lessons through sport.  

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