Local coaches use Olympics to educate, motivate students

dstrange@newsobserver.comJuly 30, 2012 

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Wesley Butler, 12, practices shooting during his private archery lesson with John Kristoff on Friday, July 27, 2012 at NC Hunter Supply on Millbrook Road in Raleigh, N.C.

ASHLEY BLUE — ablue@newsobserver.com

  • More information Do the Summer Games inspire your inner athlete? Here are a few places you can go to get started on mastering an Olympic sport: Swim Lessons Raleigh 919-676-0271 www.swimlessonsraleigh.com Lifetime Archery 2411 East Millbrook Road, Suite 101, Raleigh 919-272-2635 www.lifetimearchery.com Cycling Spoken Here 1377 NW Maynard Road, Cary 919-461-0066 www.cyclingspokenhere.com N.C. Fencing Development Program Fetzer Gym, South Road, Chapel Hill 919-962-5221 www.ncfdp.org Capital Runwalk Racing Team 430 Woodburn Road, Raleigh 919-828-3487 www.capitalrunwalk.com Paddle Creek NC 10012-Capital Blvd., Wake Forest 919-866-1954 www.paddlecreeknc.com

For many, the Olympics season is a time of entertainment and national pride.

Yet for local athletes and coaches, it’s also a time of motivation and education.

Coaches, like swimming instructor Laura Gould, bring Olympians into lesson plans, observing techniques of the best athletes in the world and determining how students can embrace them.

“I’m looking for their form,” Gould says, “what makes them good, and how I can apply that to my own school.”

Gould, 44, owns Swim Lessons Raleigh and has been teaching children and adults how to swim for 12 years. She started swimming when she was 2, and watching Olympic swimmers makes her nostalgic for her prime swimming years, even though she said the Olympics were out of her reach.

“There’s a part of me that would love to go back in time and swim that fast,” she says.

John Kristoff, owner and coach of Lifetime Archery in Raleigh, said the Olympics give him and his students an idea of what techniques go into the highest-level competitors.

“It’s definitely a chance to see the best archers in the world,” he says. “You have a great appreciation for their skill.”

Kristoff said the Olympics – combined this year with movies featuring archery like “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers” and “Brave” – raises the interest level of the general public and keeps students inspired. And Ron Miller, coach at N.C. Fencing Development Program, said the U.S. women’s fencing team has won medals in recent years, encouraging first-time fencers.

“That does foster an excitement level of athletes of all ages,” Miller says. Plus, winning fencers inspire parents to enroll their children in the sport.

“Parents are looking for things that their child can be successful in.”

Miller stressed that any sport needs practice before competition, but, like Gould, will try to break down techniques he sees in Olympic fencers.

“There’s always new things to learn,” he says. “Being able to see that at the highest level…is good motivation.”

For Tom Broyles-Lewis, a cyclist who works at Cycling Spoken Here in Cary, new customers often come in excited from both the Olympics and the Tour de France. He said the best motivation is seeing a new cycler take the wheels.

“Watching a 6-year-old ride a bike is just as inspiring as seeing a 26-year-old win the gold,” he says.

Gould said she believes each of her swimmers, new or experienced, have great potential – even the potential to be a future Olympian.

“I look at each child, and I see the greatness in them,” she says. “My goal is to have them see the greatness in themselves.”

Strange: 919-829-4568

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