Olympian Gracie Gold’s Sports Psychologist Talks about Parenting Elite Athletes

Chicago-based psychologist Jenny Conviser recommends parents focus on the big picture.

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The hope of landing a college scholarship or receiving the salary of a professional athlete in ten years should not motivate participation in sports. That’s pressure!

Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) February 03, 2014

The best medals aren’t always gold. One year prior to winning her spot on the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Team, Gracie Gold admittedly struggled with her short program at the 2013 U.S. Championships.

“There were too many voices in my head and too many expectations," said Gold, "for me to achieve the relaxed focus needed for a great performance.”

No one anticipated Gold would climb from ninth place to the medal platform. But after executing seven solid triple jumps in her free skate, Gold earned silver, which she said was “as good as gold.” Supporting Gold behind the scenes was sports psychologist Dr. Jenny Conviser, founder of Ascend Consultation in Health Care (Ascendchc), a behavioral health clinic (http://www.ascendchc.com/home), who helps athletes manage stressors inherent in competitive athletics and enjoy their sport.

Dr. Conviser, a Chicago-based sports psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, continues to help Gold and other athletes successfully manage distractions, internal or external, whether they are preparing for the next local community competition, national championship, or the Olympics.

Dr. Conviser’s advice for Olympians is the same for parents and their child athletes. Parents and their children may better thrive by focusing on the big picture. “Invest in the process,” says Conviser, “because your child is benefiting from participating in an activity that challenges the mind and body; because she or he can experience being part of a team; and because she or he is enjoying it. Sports participation provides wonderful opportunities for children and parents to observe how we learn, to discover our strengths, and to get better and better at facing challenges.

“The hope of landing a college scholarship or receiving the salary of a professional athlete in ten years should not motivate participation in sports. That’s pressure!” Ultimately, athletes who are most successful are surrounded by supporters who love them unconditionally, whether a gold medal winner or not.

Conviser says, “Look at the friend you are, look at the person you are, and look at the effort you devote to your training. You are a champion in how you approach your life each day. These are the building blocks of great personal and sport success.”


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