BY DR. MICHELLE CLEERE
No school or virtual school? A break from sports? The potential of less homework. The relief of handling less social pressure. No competition? YES! Initially when COVID started kids were excited about the change in routine
Even though many of us are excited for the break with everything, there was this looming uncertainty about what it all meant. There was a virus running rampant, people were getting sick and dying.
And about 6 months in, the fear of the unknown set in. The uncertainty grew. When all of this first started it felt like a novelty but now no one knows what was gonna happen at any level or any area of life.
One year later (2021)
Fast forward to what is currently happening. Kids have been out of school in sports for approximately one year. What started off as a novelty has now created many more problems.
Kids are sitting in front of a computer all day long. They are feeling alone and isolated and have no sense of normalcy anymore. One of my juniors in high school said to me, Dr. Michelle I’ve never loved school but I was able to get through it because of my friends. One year without this client and many clients, friends / social environment has brought about stress and depression.
It has also made it virtually impossible for kids to be motivated. And some big reasons that kids play sports are to have fun, be with their friends, and learn new skills. Much of that has not been happening.
Coaches are doing the best they can at providing workouts. Kids are doing the best they can at doing those workouts. Much of this has sustained a maintenance program. It has not provided the opportunity for kids to continue to learn, grow and get better in their scores. There is no real challenge in maintaining fitness and skill.
And now competition has started to resume for some sports. Many Sports have not resumed yet. That also leaves kids wondering, what is the point of participating in sports. It also leaves them questioning what they should be doing, because they do not exactly know what they are going back to or gain through all this.
Deeper awareness around lack of mental/coping skills
It definitely seems that well, in the past kids could get along for a while without the proper mental skills but now COVID situation has really enhanced the need for kids to develop their mental skills. As there is much more than sports highlighting the need to be able to cope and deal with so many scenarios that are arising; things that are out of their control. As I have said, knowing how to deal with uncertainty, unknown, and keep motivated are just a few of those things.
It seems as though the uncertainty, unknown and lack of motivation has also led to an increase in anxiety, lack of confidence, in the overall fear of coming back to terms with sports.
To a certain degree COVID has also been proved to have a positive side. Rather than waiting for things to get really bad and kids having to deal with that in a competitive environment, they now have the opportunity to develop their mental / coping skills before they are placed back into a stressful competitive environment. It’s been a good time for kids to develop the life skills they need to develop and then learn to include those skills back to school and sport life.