Warning that some kids may not want to go back to team sports 

Warning that some kids may not want to go back to team sports 

Keeping some children and youths engaged in organised sport is going to present major challenges in the coming weeks and months, according to a leading figure in the area of youth sports development. 

Keeping some children and youths engaged in organised sport is going to present major challenges in the coming weeks and months, according to a leading figure in the area of youth sports development. 

Brian Cuthbert, who is a school principal and holds a doctorate in youth sports development, said a new mindset would be required by coaches and parents to take account of how the pandemic may have changed the outlook of some towards taking part in sports. 

He was speaking ahead of the opening up next week of outdoor activity, including non-contact training for under age sports.

“We have to talk about re-engaging the youth,” Mr Cuthbert told the Mick Clifford podcast. 

“The experience they have had, particularly for the last few months, has been unstructured, many of them cycling, playing on the green, playing with friends more than ever before, organising their own games. 

So some might go and try to find experiences that replicate what they had for the last few months, such as adventure sports or skateboarding, where they are in charge of their own destiny. They may not want to go back to team sports.”

Mr Cuthbert, who served as Cork senior football manager between 2013 and 2015, said coaches need to be aware that young people are coming back at a different stage as a result of the lockdown. 

“The youths are coming back into a club structure where coaches are telling them the way to do things and a lot of these coaches might try to make up for lost time and make it even more structured. We need to be aware of that,” he said. 

Clubs in particular have a huge job of work in finding where the take-off position is and recalibrating. It’s going to be more difficult than before.”

The latest easing of lockdown restrictions kicks in on Monday, April 26.

  • Brian Cuthbert was talking on the Irish Examiner’s Mick Clifford podcast

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