Sport: here and now!

Our MV7 team spoke with Elena Beglova, a Russian professional basketball player and the World Class Master of Sports, who played for the Russian national basketball team and the UMMC Ekaterinburg. Elena Beglova tells about the end of her sports career, about victories and failures, about being a mother and about sports in the child's life.

• This year you finished your basketball career, was it difficult to make this decision?
-       Yes, this year I decided to end my professional career. It was not difficult, because inside I already understood that I needed to move on and to another level. I gave everything to basketball, and it gave me a lot. At the moment, I want to be in another industry – in motherhood and family, but sport is forever in my heart.

• In your interviews, you mentioned that when you're done with basketball, you're not done with being an athlete, what kind of sport you choose to keep in shape your body and spirit?
-       After 25 years in basketball, it’s impossible to just give up sports. Sport will always be in my life, I will pick and try something new, based on my inner interests and needs. Now I choose sports for pleasure, for my inner comfort and body. If I need to recover my balance, I go to yoga classes or run in the park to my favorite music, for me this is a great relaxation and meditation. In the future, if I want to try a new sport, I will definitely do it.

• You have a little daughter growing up, who, like her mother, went into sports :) What sports habits do you try to cultivate in her from an early age? From the parent's perspective, what does the athlete's mother need to go through?
-       My daughter does dancesport, where girls experience tremendous tension. My athletic past helps me understand what she is going through. Thanks to my experience, I can understand her fatigue, at times, stiffness, I can speak to her in the language she understands. If I see that she has lost motivation or is tired after 3 hours of training, I know how to cheer her up and guide her. The main thing that is important for me to see in a child when doing sports is the thrill, fire in her eyes and her great desire to go forward and develop. If after intense workouts, she gets home and shows new elements she learned, I understand that she loves what she does, and she gets recharged from it. If this is not the case, then you should not force the child to one or another sport, the result will not be very satisfying. I have a rule: when my daughter comes up to me and says that she wants to leave the sports section, we agree that she has two months to make sure that the decision is correct. I believe that you cannot immediately follow the lead of a child. She trains for two months, and only after this time we make a decision whether to change the section or stay. In sports, there are different situations when, for example, a child is tired, and wants to relax and just hang out with friends. It is important to understand that this is a burnout, and it happens to adult athletes too – you just need to take a break and see if the desire comes back again. And if the child lost the spark in the eyes, and there is no more desire to engage in a particular sport, then, most likely, the child is uncomfortable in it, and, as a mother, you need to offer something else. And it happens that in two months the child forgets about your agreement and happily runs back to training. Everything is clear here – the child is engaged and inspired, and the question of leaving disappears by itself. Moving on to the second part of the question, the most difficult thing is to be both a mother and an athlete at the same time. On one hand, as a mother, I want to say: “Come on, take a break,” but on the other hand, I am an athlete and I understand that fatigue is a part of the process that needs to be overcome, even if sometimes it's overwhelming.

• You have an incredible professional career, tell us what was your catalyst from an early age?
- Coming into sports at the age of 9, I saw a different world, different opportunities, a healthier society than I was in. In my book, I talked in detail about the complexities and problems that I had to face at an early age. But I am a fighter by nature, I may even say, a tomboy: growing up, I always played soccer with the guys. Therefore, from early childhood I loved sports for the struggle, the intensity and passion of the game, and the excitement of victory. I grew up, was hardworking, my career went uphill and as an athlete I wanted to go only forward. Sport opened up a lot of opportunities for me: new cities, countries, new incredibly interesting acquaintances. There were moments I wanted to retire, when I gave up and did not want to go further. But on the way, there were always the right people who guided, motivated, shook me and allowed to get up from my knees. I would like to advise parents of kids-athletes to understand that sport is not only medals and victories, it is also defeat! It's a hell of a job to be constantly in the process of tension. I would like to mentor the parents of kids-athletes to see the whole picture in order to be able to support their children not only when they stand on the pedestal with medals and prizes, but also to be ready for their defeats. Always be ready to give tenderness and care and just help to live through the failures, and only then the child-athlete will be able to go up in the career.