Structure creates commitment. This also applies to sports. This is especially important for children and young adults – especially after the prolonged Corona outage and in times of increased digital connectivity.
The Corona epidemic has consequences for mass sports. The number of members is declining and coaches from the youth sector, whom SWR Sport spoke with, report that children and young adults are out of shape. Even if they continue to play sports at home, the difference in training times and stationary sports in the team is huge – physically, but also psychologically and in terms of symbiosis.
Structure creates stability
Even young children learn to structure the world. Essentially, fixed reference points help to find one’s way in the world, says Professor Ansgar Thiel, a sports sociologist at the University of Tübingen: “If we associate them with sports, for example, then of course such a fixed structure in daily life and weekly routines is useful for staying in absolutely important.”
Lack of structure leads to confusion
If – as during the Corona break – there are no consistent training sessions during the week, it leads to children’s confusion, says the expert: “Especially if you don’t want to do things. And then the structure is missing, you certainly don’t, and there Already preliminary studies show that this lack of structures is actually a huge problem.”
Thus, there is also the risk of getting used to the weekly schedule without exercising. After the Corona break, clubs sometimes found it difficult to motivate children to train again.
Gone are the certainties of life
If the fulcrums, direction, and structure that regular club sport brings are missing, this also has psychological consequences. According to Professor Ansgar Thiel, this means that the safety offered by these structures to children in particular has been lost. There is no longer any support to find a way in the world, to feel good and deal with stress. In addition, there is no opportunity to learn social behavior. The ability to work in a team, the willingness to compromise or deal with defeat – all that a sport can convey.
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Sports instead of cell phones: Recognizing body signals
In an interview with SWR Sport, Professor Ansgar Thiel describes that we live in an individual and digital world anyway. For almost every teen, a significant part of communication takes place via smartphones. “This means that the problem really does exist, out of a certain isolation.” Face-to-face meetings are down again due to the pandemic. Analog social reality has broken off. This made reading body language almost impossible. “For example, if I’m only communicating via a computer, via a screen and only sees the face, I might see facial expressions, but I don’t see all of the body language.”
When communicating through chats, for example, facial expressions are often omitted. “It means a lot of what we’ve learned mainly as teenagers, to recognize body cues on the side, to recognize cues from facial expressions, of course that gets lost.”
Important mission for sports
The expert says, you have to pay attention to it. You can learn it especially in sports, especially in team sports. Because recognizing body signals and nonverbal communication are essential. “I think that schools and clubs are the institutions that should focus on what has of course been completely forgotten up until now. This is not discussed at all. But I think that this social life in analog space, which others read, so to speak, will have a much more important meaning than before.”