Many little boys dream that they will grow up and have a successful sporting career like David Beckham or Wayne Rooney. But there is more to the sporting world than football and it is time to ensure these boys and girls are making their childhood dream become a reality.
Four years ago, the mantra of the London Olympics was to create a legacy that would “Inspire a Generation” – making sure that sport is accessible to everybody and encouraging them to get into it.
This year the Olympics are back, and while they may be in Rio rather than London, it is still the perfect opportunity to revaluate whether we are doing enough to inspire a generation of sports stars and empowering young sportsman.
The main hurdle that stands in the way of young people following their dreams is the perception that it will never happen to them – that it will only ever be a dream and actually making it a reality would be impossible. So, how do you show these kids that their hobby could be a career? That playing football on a Saturday morning with the local team or their love of running and ability to consistently come first on sports day could actually be a career that they work towards 24/7? A career that could see them competing in competitions worldwide and making their country proud as they win titles and medals.
You get someone, who has already done just that, to talk to them, of course.
The best person to inspire and empower the future sports men and women is someone who was once in their school shoes and is now in the sports shoes they hope to one day wear.
But who should talk to them and when is the right time for them to do it?
This primarily depends on the sport, but the best way to do it is to hire a relevant speaker to come to your sport team’s award ceremony or social event. You can check out inspirational speakers at Speakers Corner – to give you some ideas.
With the Olympics in mind – how about Katherine Grainger? One of London 2012’s shining stars, the inspirational rower was the first British female athlete – in any sport – to gain medals in four consecutive Olympic Games. Or what about inviting Martine Wright to your event? Despite losing both legs in the 7/7 London bombings, she has gone on to become a member of the GB Paralympic sitting volleyball team and has been honoured with the BBC Helen Rollason Award Sports Personality of the Year 2012 award. If anyone can inspire your sports men and women, this inspirational lady can.
These sport stars can explain to them that a dream such as theirs won’t just fall on their laps, that it is important to work hard and train to ensure that they fulfill them. With Premier League debuts happening in late teens and academies taking children much younger than that as well as teens battling it out at the Olympics to win medals for their countries, that dream is much closer than they might think.
They can also show those who are perhaps a little skeptical that they can handle whatever life throws at them – they can still fulfill their dreams if they are determined enough to do so.