Friday , February 26 2021

Concerns that the pandemic and canceled training scare young athletes



The Swedish Sports Confederation’s measurement of support for local state activity during the period from March 12 to June 30 last year shows that of the ten most important sports, handball, basketball, floorball and gymnastics have had the biggest losses in terms of recorded meetings.

In the 7 to 16 age category, handball is the one that loses the most, with just over 20%, but if you count the last part of last year, the number of training sessions and matches lost is even greater. . This is what Magnus Björklund, club manager and youth coach of Kärra HF, says.

– After the stricter restrictions that were introduced in December, I would estimate that we have lost about 35-40 percent, he says.

The Norden Cup tournament with 3,000 participants, one of Kärra HF’s main sources of income, was to be played between Christmas and New Year, but had to be canceled.

The Norden Cup tournament with 3,000 participants, one of Kärra HF’s main sources of income, was to be played between Christmas and New Year, but had to be canceled.

Photo: Veronika Ljung-Nielsen

It echoes empty a Lillekärrshallen. At this time of year, he usually advances at full speed to the Hisingen Hall, where one of the largest handball clubs in the country is based. The club, which includes, among others, World Cup player Jonathan Carlsbogård, has 500 youth players and 51 teams in league matches, but training and indoor matches have been stopped since December.

– Outdoor handball training with running and slippery snow. No, I understand if the kids care about it. A cohort of just over 35 players only had seven in a training session recently, Björklund says, explaining that the fact that some children have been quarantined since the infection entered school is another factor that contributes to absence.

Björklund finds it difficult to understand the logic of the restrictions applicable from December. During the day, the club’s players have had sports classes at the school in the lobby. In the evening they have been denied to play handball.

Presented Thursday The government eases sports restrictions, which means children born in 2005 and later can retrain indoors. Björklund says the news is gratifying and that large parts of the business will be able to start from Monday. At the same time, he notes that restrictions will continue to impact certain groups. Young people over the age of 15, who are not allowed to start exercising indoors, often find themselves in a situation where they consider whether to continue with the sport or not.

For the past month, the Lillekärrshallen in Hisingen has been closed for handball training.

For the past month, the Lillekärrshallen in Hisingen has been closed for handball training.

Photo: Veronika Ljung-Nielsen

– Then we have the younger ones, who live to play matches and are not always very interested in coaching. I’m afraid many of these kids won’t come back, says Björklund.

The same opinion is expressed by various sports associations, including the Swedish Basketball Association.

Fewer activities mean a deterioration in finances. Kärra was also forced to cancel the Norden Cup youth tournament on weekdays, an event with 3,000 participants and one of the association’s most important sources of income. Björklund estimates that last year’s total loss of revenue is SEK 3 million.

Covered sports have been affected more difficult because it was found in an intense period when the pandemic began. When the new season began last fall, the second wave of infections arrived. According to RF analysis, outdoor sports have performed significantly better and football even presents positive statistics in younger age groups.

The most affected are martial arts, whose activities often take place in small, cramped rooms. Judo reports the biggest loss with just over 40%. Wrestling and the Budo and Martial Arts Association are not far behind. Samuel Lund, secretary general of the Swedish Wrestling Federation, also confirms that the gloomy trend has continued during the second half of the year.

“The youngest, who live to play matches and are not always very interested in coaching. I’m afraid a lot of these kids won’t come back, ”says Magnus Björklund with regard to all matches canceled last year.

Photo: Veronika Ljung-Nielsen

– There is very little activity that has been able to be carried out, although many associations have done an incredibly good job in finding alternative training opportunities, says Lund, who is also afraid the pandemic will scare professionals into long term.

RF President Björn Eriksson welcomes the government’s decision to reopen training rooms, but stresses that the sporting situation remains worrisome. In a report to the government, the negative economic effect of the RF pandemic on sports is estimated at four to six billion kroner in 2021. Eriksson demanded in an article on DN Debatt this week that the government support the sports with at least two to four billion course.

In the report, RF paints up to four future scenarios depending on how the pandemic develops and how long different restrictions remain. In several of the scenarios, RF predicts that unemployment and reduced income will have a negative effect on sports. Children and young people who may need more sports will be those who do not do sports again and the associations that had previously attracted this target group will be greatly weakened.

Magnus Björklund, in Kärra, says that previously the support money that has been from the state has been significant. While there are now many industries that are struggling, he believes RF requirements are reasonable. He believes the sport is heavily underfunded from before and points to all the nonprofit leadership efforts that are being made. These, he said, cannot be taken for granted in the future when time is reduced and the workload is increased.

– More than 3.1 million Swedes are members of a sports association. If you think about it, the 2-4 billion RF doesn’t require that much money, says Björklund.

Read more:

“Older young people forget when they open up for training”

Crown restrictions divide teams

“What’s the point of training when you’re not allowed to compete?”


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