What we can learn from Olympians
The week has gone by and the Olympic games are still underway. The athletes from around the world are in the thick of bringing pride to their respective countries. So far we have seen athletes making history such as Michael Phelps winning his 22nd medal, Usain Bolt breaking his world record, Gabby Douglas becoming America's Sweetheart, and Missy Franklin earning gold medals. But there is more to the Olympics than fierce competition. It teaches us valuable lessons in life. Not to get ahead of everybody, but to bring out the best in ourselves.
1. Teamwork- This is an obvious trait, but in any sport that requires the presence of a team, camaraderie is essential. All members of the team should work together to come up with an exemplary performance. It's just like building a house. If one of the parts is missing, the whole structure will fall down. There is no I in TEAM. Everybody should cooperate and contribute to make your game plan successful.
2. Discipline- Athletes train from sun up until sun down. I saw a commercial that featured Olympians narrating their experiences. One athlete mentioned, "I have not ordered dessert in two years". Sports teaches discipline. If an athlete wants to win, she should sacrifice. You can't do things normal people do. They perform rigorous workouts, eat the proper diet, and perfect their routines.
3. The Power of Touch- If you would notice, players give each other a hug or a pat on the back. In soccer, if a player scores a goal, members of the team will have a group hug. Touch releases endorphins in the body. The endorphins improve an athlete's performance since the neurotransmitters in the brain send signals to keep the brain alert.
4. You can't win them all- Failure is a prelude to success. Michael Phelps lost to Ryan Lochte in the 400 IM on his first day of competition. The next day, he got a silver. You can't win all the time. Failure teaches you about humility. Roger Federer won in all competitions except for his final tournament. Great Britain's Andy Murray ended up winning the gold. Perseverance and patience are the key to winning the prize.
5. Motivation- Keep your eyes on the prize. If an athlete wants to earn gold, then he should not let the gold medal off his sight. You have to push yourself to excel. Put your heart, mind, body, and soul into it. Athletes thrive on competition. One important element in winning is to improve, top every performance and compete like it's the last game of your life. Remember, what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.
6. Parental Support- Gabby Douglas's mom allowed her daughter to move to Ohio to train in gymnastics. She knew her daughter had the potential. Debbie Phelps watched every single game of her son because at the back of her mind, her son would make history. Family support is important when a child has a gift. An athlete can't push himself to the limit if the parents are not supportive. It's more than just cheering from the bleachers. It's about nurturing and honing the child's skill to allow her to achieve her goals.
7. You must want it- You can't push your child to get into sports if the child is not interested. If she is not ready for strenuous routines, rigid schedule, and grueling practices, then forget it. If you want to make it to the national team, you should work hard and love the sport more than you love yourself. You have to persevere in order to win. More importantly, you must want to win badly.