Nastia Liukin, a 5-time gold medalist. She is the 2008 Olympic individual all-around champion, the 2005 and 2007 world champion on the balance beam, and the 2005 world champion on the uneven bars. She is also a four-time all-around U.S. national champion, winning twice as a junior and twice as a senior.
Nastia has also been known for her commitment in helping young girls with big dreams. She believes that parents play an important role in the lives of their young Olympic hopefuls. Now, in this post, Nastia Liukin has some tips/advice for parents of a gymnast. Having experienced it herself, she clearly remembers how her parents helped to shape her path.
So, here are the list of 5 tips from our Olympic medalist:
5. Make sure it’s your child — and not you — who really wants to be a gymnast (or a pole vaulter, runner, swimmer or any kind of athlete)
“It’s so important to make sure that your daughter or son has a passion for the sport, whether it’s gymnastics or a different sport,” she says.
“Sometimes you see the parents wanting their children to become Olympic champions more than the actual child. That’s when it becomes an issue, and unfortunately you probably won’t be successful. It [won’t work] if the kid doesn’t want to be doing it. The number one thing a parent can do is to be supportive, encouraging and loving to their child.”
4. Help your child balance sports with an outside life
“My parents always cared more about the person I would grow to be, rather than what I would accomplish as a professional gymnast,” says Liukin, who says it was tricky to make sure she maintained a social life outside the gym.
“I remember that there were times when my friends would go places or do things and I didn’t because I had training the next day at 8 a.m. For so many people, competing at the Olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so you must take every chance you get to give it your best effort.
That being said, on the weekends, I did make sure to set aside the time to hang out with friends and do things outside of gymnastics.”
3. Set short and long-term goals
“Always set goals for [kids],” says Liukin. “Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. You should always be striving to achieve something to feel accomplished. And it’s so important to always finish what you started. Success doesn’t happen overnight and you have to work hard for it every single day.”
2. Help your little one stay focused – in a fun way
“I always give the advice of keeping a vision board with images of your current goals,” says Liukin, who created her own board with pictures of the medals being awarded at the Beijing Olympics when she was competing. She ultimately won five medals.
“This is something that I always did because having that visual helped me to stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish.”
1. Encourage your child to dream big
“I’ve always been a true believer in setting goals and dreaming big, and it’s never too early,” says Liukin. “So many little girls and boys are going to be watching the Olympics this summer and if parents see a spark of curiosity, they should definitely encourage it.”