The benefits of competitive sports for children

Natalie Hawkins, mom and manager for her Olympic gold medalist daughter, shares her advice on the benefits of competitive sports for children and teenagers, as she reflects on her daughter's own experiences.
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The benefits of competitive sports for children

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I think there are multiple advantages to children participating in highly competitive sports. From soccer to tennis from gymnastics to swimming, the higher the level the more responsibility the athlete has. It really helped Gabrielle become a more mature individual. I watched her blossom before my eyes. I watched my other children, my other three children blossom. They were all involved in sports in varying degrees, but it taught them extreme self-discipline. It taught them how to work as a team. They learned about teamwork and how important it is to work with others to achieve a common goal. They learned about time management. They had to figure out how to do their schoolwork, how to also maintain their grades, how to still focus on their sports, and go to practices, and be on time. And so, it taught them so many skills that they're going to use in their adult lives. It was a beautiful thing to watch. They actually keep me accountable for time. They're my timekeepers. "Mom, we're running late." And if you're on time at your appointment at 11 o'clock you're already late because you should've been there 15 minutes before. So, they have learned some beautiful lessons and I think those lessons could've only been learned in the arena of sports because there's so much that goes into the mindset of an athlete and that helps them to compete and that helps them to recognize the importance of their contribution to the team. And so, I just really feel that elite sports has many positive aspects to it.

Natalie Hawkins, mom and manager for her Olympic gold medalist daughter, shares her advice on the benefits of competitive sports for children and teenagers, as she reflects on her daughter's own experiences.

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Natalie Hawkins

Mom & Manager

Natalie Hawkins is the mother of Gabrielle Douglas, 2012 Olympic All-Around Gold Medalist.  Virginia Beach native and single mother of 4, Hawkins faced many struggles putting Gabrielle through Olympic training, giving up everything she had to see her daughter succeed.  Hawkins allowed her daughter to leave their Virginia Beach home and close family bonds to pursue her dreams, train with Chow's Gymnastics in Iowa, and become the Olympian she is today.  Hawkins has since been honored in the P&G “Thank You Moms” campaign. 

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