Raising an Olympian? The Smart Guide to Parenting Any Kid to an Elite Level

ImageThe Games of the XXII Olympiad are approaching.  I overheard a daughter ask her father, while watching national level athletes, if she could ever go to the Olympics.  As families watch the Olympics, that question will be asked in countless living rooms.  My daughter watched the summer games and pointed at the screen when she was 4 years old and said, “I’m going to do that someday, Mommy”.  It happens.  As some of those kids show passion and natural talent, parents may find themselves actually having future Olympians or other elite level athletes.  In other cases, parents put their child on the fast track to success hoping to manufacture one.  So, what’s the smart way to raise a child to an elite level of anything?  No matter what, you want to handle your child well so they can become all they dream of becoming.

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1.  Perspective:  Begin with the end in mind.

  • Have clarity.  Be intentional.  Make decisions with the big picture in front of you.
  • Decide to raise a champion:  one who is capable and prepared to achieve much, not just a single goal, but continuously achieve whatever they decide to accomplish.
  • Dream big.  Start within your child; their center. Explore and fuel your child’s interests.  Identify and strengthen their natural talents, surround them with what they need, encourage them to see how far they can go.  Maximize their potential.
  • Life is bigger than any one goal.  While working towards making dreams reality, life happens.  It will go on whether the goal is achieved or not.  Be invested in the long-haul.  

2.  Plan:  Enjoy the ride.

  • Love your child.  The one you have.  Guard your relationship, their heart and soul over any aspiration anyone has for them.
  • Focus on developing the whole person.  It will serve them well to develop the mind, heart, and body of a champion.  Don’t overestimate talent and underestimate character in determining success.
  • Balance:  Allow your kids to explore, to risk, to try.  Let them be challenged, struggle, fail.  Don’t make it easy and don’t rescue them every time.  Have high standards and expectations.  Be neither too demanding, nor too permissive.  Reward the effort to learn, adjust, move forward.  Embrace the process not only the destination.
  • Expect surprises.  It’s best to do things well; to help your child lay a wide, firm foundation that will not only support specific goals, but will serve them in pursuing wide range of achievement.  Don’t rush the process, but pace through each course of development.    Wrenches, twists, and road blocks may cause the best laid plans to be redesigned and new goals set, but if the foundation is in place, the movement will continue forward. 

This begins a 6 part series of posts that will help you be a guardian over the right physical, mental and spiritual foundation being built into your child so that they can become the best they can be.  It’s what has to be in place for a child to move into elite levels of athletics or anything at a distinguished level.

I’ll be sharing my knowledge and experience as well as expertise from teachers, child development experts, sports psychologists, D1 university and club coaches and trainers to give you a simple, boiled down and practical grid of what’s important, both physically and mentally/spiritually to put into place during the elementary, middle school, and high school years to ensure success both in achieving great things, but also in life.

With rising champions in our house, we’re excited to watch the next winter Games in Sochi.  It’ll be on 24/7 in our house.  Looking forward to Rio 2016.  Go Team USA!

 

 

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