Youth Sports Under COVID-19: A Case study of Young Danish Competitive Swimmers
Society has faced an unprecedented challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to health policies, wishes to slow down the transmission of the disease, and mitigate secondary impacts, sports programs all over the world have come to a sudden halt. Which may lead to problematic consequences for youth sports development. The aim of this study is to examine the sporting conditions of Danish youth swimmers during the lockdowns in Spring-Summer 2020 and Winter-Spring 2021, and what impact these conditions may have had on the development of the 14-16-year-old athletes based on the Personal Assets Framework. This study was conducted as a qualitative case study involving semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that despite physical distancing and the lack of organized training sessions in the lockdown periods, the swimmers managed to compensate by participating in peer-led activities that facilitated strong developmental conditions, such as character and connections of the swimmers. Furthermore, training sessions with teammates seem to contribute to instant satisfaction, joy, and positive social development. Thus, the conditions at team level seem to be able to overcome unfavourable sporting conditions during COVID-19 lockdown periods and promote characteristics that over time create changes in a swimmers’ personal development and the desire to continued participation in sports activities.