“I played football three times a week and basketball twice a week. Then there were matches at the weekend,” says Sebastian. From six to seven sports a week to zero in one go. In the early days of the first shutdown, Sebastian still went to football or basketball courts with his brothers until they were also closed. “Then I didn’t feel like it anymore, and it got to the point that I didn’t do anything anymore.”
Computers instead of sports
Not only does Sebastian no longer play sports, he also no longer sees his friends. The computer becomes the main occupation and almost the only connection to the outside. His mother Sandra begins to worry:
“Then, of course, I kept going down there and said, ‘Come on, let’s take the dog out. Or I asked him if he would run with me. Because I also run outside regularly. But it stops at some point. It is always very exhausting Try to motivate a 14-year-old to do something sitting in his room really dull because he says: At some point I want to go out with my friends and not with my mother, ”says Sandra.
She, her husband and the three brothers live in a small town in western Germany, in a house with a garden, a small privilege in the pandemic. But Sebastian comes up with a little:
“He’s not only motivated not to go out – yes, of course I shoot him with the dog at noon, he has to do that,” Sandra says. “This lethargy also extends to other areas. It means he has become completely unmotivated and unreliable when it comes to school. It goes into a childhood depression, so we are actually so far that we get psychological support.”
If there is no sport, there is also no stress buffer
There are physical and mental consequences that come with withdrawing from sports. Franziska Lautenbach, junior professor of sports psychology at Humboldt University in Berlin, says: “Sport also has the effect of buffering stress that I can handle it better because I build a lot of physical and personal resources through sport. I have my friends there, my connections. ”
In addition, sports improve brain structures, cognition and school performance in young people: “It is important that at this early stage it is found out who should also play sports later. Especially in childhood and adolescence, it is decided whether I have been playing sports throughout. “My life. There are researchers who assume that in the next 20 years we will see this Corona generation play less sport,” says Lautenbach.
Sandra no longer manages to motivate her son to exercise. In addition, like her husband, she has to work from home and manage the family at the same time: “Of course I am there for my children and take care of home schooling, but I can not go into his room two or three. times an hour and say: Sebastian, get up now! Or: Sebastian, do it now, Sebastian, get out of the quark, Sebastian, go with the dog! I can not, I do not know if it would be useful either, so at one point I said: He must be out here. He needs to get out of bed, he needs to get out of his room. “
Finally vacation – final exercise
Although Sandra and her family follow all the rules that the pandemic requires, they spontaneously decide to fly on vacation during the Easter holidays. Acquaintances frown, but Sandra is sure there is no other way.
It was the right decision: “We ran, we swam, we went to the gym, we went on bike rides, where he could really train. Since then, he’s talked to me again. It may sound a little banal, but when you go for a walk with a 14-year-old who does not speak whole sentences anymore, who just goes with a bitter expression on his face and does not answer anymore, you will be happy when he tells whole stories afterwards. “
Slowly, there is also hope for more normality. Maybe Sebastian can play football with his teammates again soon. But what happens to sports is uncertain. Sports psychologist Lautenbach fears that entire teams may no longer exist after the pandemic:
“Many coaches I’ve talked to are worried that children and young people will not return to the clubs. It would be good to take the parents by the hand and say: Look forward to it and support and motives. Drive your children lovingly, then return to the sport, “says Lautenbach.