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How Can My Child Get to the Olympics in Athletics?

22 November 2023

If you’ve discovered your child has what it takes to become an Olympian, one of the questions that will top your mind is how they can qualify for the Olympics in the long run. 

Although no defined rules guarantee their qualification, combining specific practices can improve their chances of success. This article will show you a step-by-step guide to help your child progress to the Olympics as an athlete. 

Let’s dive in.

How to help your child qualify for the Olympics 

Follow these steps to prepare your child for the Olympics.

Pick a sport 

A Jack or Jill of all trades is a master of none at the Olympics. Even if your child appears to be good at many athletic sports, encourage them to specialise in one. However, don’t pressure them into choosing a sport they don’t like based on your preference. They need a substantial amount of interest to go through the rigorous training involved and are likely to give up quickly if they aren’t passionate about the sport they choose. So, ensure they pick a sport they love and enjoy. 

Organise training 

The Olympics competition is a combination of passion, talent, and training. How effectively your child trains directly impacts their preparedness for the Olympics. Reports have shown that Olympians must train for eight to nine years to become experts in a sport. So, it’s best to start training your kids young. 

Find a club that is affiliated with England Athletics (or the equivalent in your part of the UK) where your child can train, compete and be among peers who are just as passionate about their sports. They may need to dedicate many hours to practising and improving their skills in their selected sport. On average, young athletes use about 250 hours to train a year. So, be prepared to commit your time to organise training for your child over the years.

Encourage your child to compete 

Besides training, competition with other enthusiasts is an excellent way to prepare your child for what’s coming ahead. Encourage them to go for trial competitions to showcase their skills and gain recognition. There are local, regional and national competitions.

Competition helps them assess their strengths and know where to improve to qualify and win at the Olympics. 

Apply for the Youth Talent Programme

With the support of your child’s coach, they should apply for the Youth Talent Programme with British Athletics, which helps to develop promising young athletes aged 16-18. 

Becoming a part of the Olympics games 

Athletes must adhere to the Olympic Charter and follow the International Federation (IF) rules. The IFs create the guidelines and plan events while the National Olympic Committee (NOC) in the athlete’s country registers them for the Olympics. The national body in the UK is British Athletics but there are separate organisations for the four constituent countries.

There’s no age limit for the Olympics. However, the International Sports Federation has specific guidelines athletes must follow to apply and qualify for the Olympics.

Final thoughts 

If the Olympics is your child’s dream, you can give them the best support to achieve their goal. To do this, help them pick a sport they love, encourage them to train adequately, and ensure they compete at different levels to boost their performance in their chosen sport. 

Photo by Snapwire

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