When a parent decides to sign their child up to join a club or activity. No matter what age they are, I always say they should try a number of different activities to see what they really like in the world of sports. For example if your child is 4 years old and wants to play football, sign them up for a fun session, see what they think. Then when they show a flare for running or for kicking, let them try athletics or rugby etc. It is only by trying a number of things that sometimes children can truly find what they love most and where their talents are put to the most good use, but more importantly find somewhere they belong and feel happy. Once they find their calling, they should embrace it and give it predominately more time than other activities.
In my life as a martial artist. I have achieved things people dream of for their children, or indeed I am sure some of my very own students dream of. I have been world champion 8 times, I have so many trophies and medals my Mam dreaded the thought of having to do the dusting. But I am not saying this to be big headed or to show off. It is what I achieved. When ever people walked into my parents house in Ireland, they would always comment on the number of trophies/medals on display in our living room. People were always amazed and said things like “you clearly have a knack for that!”, “you must be naturally gifted to do so well” etc. The reality is, I am not naturally gifted in anyway. I worked very hard for what I earned.
I started martial arts as a pre teen, but prior to this I was never selected for school sports and was always guaranteed to be chosen last by my peers for any team. I kept benches warm across the country as I watched as my team mates played on the court/fields. Incredibly shy, few friends and always terrified of making mistakes in each sport, I never won anything. School sports day was my favourite day of the year, but I never once won a single thing.