The ability to attain mastery and success in just one competitive arena can be daunting; now imagine the sheer willpower required to attempt this in four different sports. One of our Win Kids athletes is doing just that. 16-year-old Sawyer Lee has excelled in Diving, Trampoline & Tumbling, Gymnastics and Acrobatics & Tumbling. While each sport's basics are similar at its heart, the technical approach and fine-tuning required to win are very different. Sawyer has accrued numerous first-place awards in both single and all-around competitions locally, statewide, and regionally during her frenzied competitive career. She currently devotes the bulk of her time to diving, and her hard work is already showing rewards as she was recently invited to train with The Jr Olympic Team. I was curious how this high school athlete was able to manage her time and focus better than most adults I know, myself included.
How did you start gymnastics? How long have you been training? How far have you gone?
I started gymnastics because my family is gymnastics. My parents both run competitive gymnastics programs at Win Kids, so I was born into it. I have been competing for 12 years, since the age of four. In gymnastics, I successfully competed at level 8 and trained at level 9. This took place while I simultaneously trained and competed in Trampoline and Tumbling, and Acrobatics and Tumbling. There was a time when I was training, competing, and winning in every competitive sport Win Kids has.
How much time do you train? How do you handle missing out on friends and activities?
I train about 22 hours a week, but that really doesn’t include meet season with extra training and private lessons. In every sport I’ve played, my teammates have become my closest peers, which works out nicely since we all share the same crazy schedule. I don’t feel like I missed out because those are my memories with my friends.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am really set on competing in diving in college. I would like to go to A&M or the University of Oregon. I have grown up being involved in and competing in sports, and I don’t see that changing during college.
Have you ever had setbacks or challenges to work through?
I have had many challenges. Like Simone Biles and many high-level athletes, I had to battle my mind to overcome fears while doing skills I had been doing forever. Mental blocks are extremely challenging because it becomes very frustrating internally when you know your physical capabilities, but your brain won’t get on board. I also, like many high-level athletes, had to deal with physical pain. For me, it was my hips and back. The continuous, dynamic movements take their toll and wear your body down. I had to schedule extra time in my training to work with a chiropractor to keep my body functioning. It is something you learn in sports and life to cope with pain and work through it.
What do you think makes you a great athlete?
I think it’s tenacity. You must be able to keep going and really listen to criticism. Conditioning is a huge part of any sport, and it is awful and tough, but you just go with it and don’t think about it.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from being a competitor, and do you have any encouraging words for young athletes?
The most important lesson that helps me keep going is that you don’t have to be the best; you just need to be better than yesterday. To younger athletes reading this: be physically and mentally present; if you have a goal or dream, you are going to have to fight to achieve it. You are ultimately the one who must make that choice every day, not the coach.
As a coach for the younger athletes at Win Kids, Sawyer not only serves as an example for her teammates but also for the upcoming generation of athletes. We are so grateful to have her on board and can't wait to see all the incredible achievements she will make as her competitive career progresses.
For more information about Win Kids Sports & Learning Center visit https://www.winkids.net/
Win Kids Sports & Learning Center
3000 WAKETON RD.
FLOWER MOUND TX 75028
(972) 355 9988