The Olympics may be over for now but the buzz wears on at ski slopes and ice skating rinks across the country. After watching over two weeks of young athletes performing at their best, kids around the country are more fired up than ever to pursue their Olympic dreams.
Is your child one of them?
It may be overwhelming to think about reaching an Olympic dream without access to Olympic coaches - or sponsorships. But ask any athlete who competed in Sochi and they will tell you that their path to the Olympics started small ---maybe at a local skating rink or in the backyard luge track your father built on a whim.
Here's how to get started on your Olympic dream:
1. Pick your sport. It goes without saying that if you are going to qualify for the Olympics in a particular sport, you are going to have to practice it regularly. So pick a sport that you are good at - or that you think you could get good it - and one that you don't mind practicing every single day.
2. Find a coach and a place to train. If you are serious about pursuing an Olympic dream, you are going to need some help to get you there. Whether your sport is table tennis or biathlon, you need a coach with experience in the sport who can help you develop your skills. That doesn't mean that every wanna-be snowboarder needs to move to Colorado, but it does mean that if your goal is to make an Olympic team in the next ten years, you should start by at the very least joining a local team in your area.
3. Join the national organization for your chosen sport. Every sport has a national governing body that sets regulations and maintains the National Team. Most also offer development programs for athletes. Check out TeamUSA for more info about the organizations for each sport.
4. Start competing. If you are not already competing, now is the time to do so. Competitions will give you an idea of where you stand in your sport at the local, regional, and state levels. They will also help you develop your skills by giving you an opportunity to watch other athletes perform.
Good luck...I'll be routing for you at the next Olympic games!