Many athletes spent the last couple of weeks watching the world’s best athletes competing against each other at the Olympic Games in London. You can’t help but be in awe of their talent, dedication, and passion for what they do on the world level. For everyone else, this is a very inspiring spectacle of athletic achievement.
There are many young people growing up who will see these athletes and dream about competing at the Olympics one day as they have. However many don’t realize the amount of pressure, sacrifice, and physical endurance it takes to compete as an elite athlete. Loving the sport you compete in isn’t enough; there’s an absolute dedication that is required which often dramatically affects your life and the lives of those around you.
In a recent article in Forbes, Dominique Moceanu, a member of the gold medal-winning gymnastics team in the 1996 Olympic Games, talks about her experience growing up and training as an elite athlete. She has recently written a book about it as well. Dominique describes her journey through elite gymnastics as grueling and often emotionally straining as her coaches and training took tolls on her body and spirit. She said that training camps made her body feel “broken” and required a lot of recovery. Despite her success in gymnastics, she does express some regret in everything she had to endure and sacrifice during the years of competition.
There are hundreds of athletes who tell us that they want to become an elite athlete, go pro, and be the best in their sport. While it’s very important to have goals and dreams, many of these athletes don’t have what it takes to get there. There is a ton of motivation, sacrifice, and focus that is required. And it’s the elite athletes who have college coaches coming after them. But even if you are not at the elite level, you can still earn a spot on a college team. It’s just going to take extra work on your end to make it happen.
Here’s how to tell if you are an elite athlete:
- You are the best player on your team, but also the region or state
- You are nationally ranked
- College coaches have noticed you as early as your freshman year of high school
- You have numerous player awards and are recognized as a crucial member of the team
If you don’t relate to any of these or you have nothing similar to these experiences, chances are you are not an elite athlete. Which means you can’t afford to wait around for college coaches to come find you. Start looking at schools you are interested and contact coaches.