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Thursday 30 April 2020

Sport has the power to enhance young people’s lives and can still be done from home

My participation in sport
Since a young age, I have been involved in sport by starting gymnastics at age seven years old. My Mum would always retell the story of doing cartwheels around the garden and presenting the splits to everyone. Later, I joined a dance school and I absolutely loved it! Then my involvement in sport was increasing from gymnastics, street dance, rock ‘n’ roll and disco freestyle which resulted in yearly dance shows and gymnastics displays across the country to represent my clubs. When I made the progression to Solent University, I got involved in cheerleading and got to compete in national competitions. I enjoy being involved in so many sporting activities, but most of all, sport has helped me to become more resilient, determined and dedicated for the things that matter most to me.

Sport and study commitments
As an athlete and a student of MA Youth Sport and Physical Education, there is a requirement for me to have high levels of organisation and dedication so I can plan accordingly for sports events and study. This helps to manage my stress levels to balance life commitments. I have found, the key is to get the right balance between being an athlete and student, by putting the same drive and determination into both sports events and studying for exams and doing coursework.

Even though universities have pulled down their shutters for lockdown, a schedule is essential for study. It is important to be organised by carrying a diary everywhere you go to note down key deadlines, meetings and events. The thought of working towards your dreams or ambitions, no matter how long it may take, means you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it! By making yourself and the people around you proud of what you have achieved, you can look forward with your head held high.

Sport for good in lockdown
During these times of social distancing, sport is being used as a powerful tool to enhance mental and physical wellbeing. By placing an emphasis on the opportunities to be involved in sport while adhering to the Government guidelines, there are still many activities that people can make use of local outdoor spaces such as parks and gardens by taking part in activities such as, running, walking or cycling.

In the dominance of the Government’s recommendations for all young people to be involved in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day at a moderate to vigorous intensity, it is difficult during these unprecedented times to engage in regular physical activity we would normally take part in.

With the sense of community being lost during lockdown, we have seen that the use of technology has enabled young people to connect with many resources. Teachers play a vital role to inspire young people to be involved in sport and the internet has provided innovative ways to interact during this time of social distancing.

For example, national sport organisations such as Youth Sport Trust, have provided free resources. Sport England and UK active to name a few, play a key role providing recources and presenting elite sports athletes as role models, to inspire young people to get involved in sport and physical activity to change lives. 

Government recommendations
In these times of uncertainty for what the next day is going to bring, it is important to maintain a positive mindset by placing your wellbeing as a priority to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. Engaging in regular physical activity to enhance the positive benefits of sport by improving health, confidence and self-esteem, provides resilience to overcome challenges you face in everyday life, helping to maintain mental and physical wellbeing and reducing mental health disorders. By taking the step forward to engage in a sport you enjoy allows you to develop skills for life.

Emma