How Does Confinement Affect Athletes?

29 May, 2020
Quarantine is both a new and exceptional situation. Facing this period with a positive attitude is key in order to keep it from affecting us negatively. Today, we'll answer the question: how does confinement affect athletes?
 

A very common question this day has to do with how confinement can affect athletes. Many areas of life have come to a full stop due to the current coronavirus pandemic, and the world of sports is no exception. What’s more, no one knows when activities will pick back up again.

Athletes are forced to train at home. However, in most cases, it’s impossible to have all of the equipment and necessary space to practice as you normally would. The situation is full of uncertainties that are uncomfortable for any person that belongs to the world of sports.

However, that doesn’t mean that the circumstances have to affect athletes in a negative way. The attitude with which we face confinement is key when it comes to the way we think and the emotions we experience.

Quarantine doesn’t affect all athletes in the same way. Those who have the hardest time following their training routine are those that this situation affects the most. For example, when it comes to sports that take place outdoors or with a team, it’s much harder to carry our proper training from home.

In this article, we’ll try to respond to your doubts about how confinement can affect athletes. We’ll base our answers on the main areas of sports psychology. Don’t miss out!

Emotional control: how confinement affects athletes

In order to understand how confinement can affect athletes, you need to take into account the range of emotions they’ll experience. These include hope, anger, anxiety, irritability, and more. All of these emotions are perfectly valid and important. In other words, there’s no such thing as good or bad emotions. Rather, they all have their purpose and all are necessary, even those that are negative.

It’s important to allow yourself to experience all of these emotions and not try to block out the unpleasant ones. At the same time, you should set aside moments of the day to focus your attention on yourself. Try to figure out what it is you’re feeling and where that emotion comes from.

An athlete meditating at home during quarantine.

What’s more, it’s important to regulate negative emotions. This doesn’t mean you should impede or repress them. Rather, it means accepting that they’re there, but at the same time doing something so that they don’t take control of you. Breathe, say positive things, express yourself artistically… these are all useful ways to manage negative emotions.

Social relationships

Without a doubt, the social aspect of sports has taken a major hit when it comes to confinement. Despite not being able to have face to face contact with others, it’s still important to maintain regular contact with your teammates or training buddies.

Thanks to technology, it’s very easy to talk to others, even if they’re physically far away. What’s more, physical contact has many social benefits.

Athletes spend hours with their trainers and teammates. Losing that practically overnight can have a negative effect on your psychological wellbeing. Therefore, staying in touch with your trainers and teammates, even if only by means of a screen, will keep you from feeling alone and help you cope with your current reality.

Establish objectives: how confinement affects athletes

Confinement can be a good opportunity to disconnect from the tiring routine of athletesIt can also be a time dedicated to reflection and personal growth. Thinking about your strong and weak points and establishing a plan for personal change will improve your emotional state and give meaning to confinement.

At the same time, in the case of athletes that have physical problems, confinement offers you a positive opportunity. You can take this time to allow your body to rest and focus on improving mental aspects, which we often forget about. Applying psychological techniques such as relaxation and visualization have a very positive effect when it comes to mental health.

Controlling negative thoughts

Over the course of the day, you can have all kinds of thoughts. Trying to clear your mind completely and think about nothing is a very complicated task. And it’s impossible to avoid thinking negative thoughts at times, given the strange and unfamiliar situation we’re encountering. But just as we’ve said about negative emotions, you can’t allow negative thoughts to dominate your mind.

A simple and effective way to keep negative thoughts at bay is to stay busy. Our capacity for attention is limited and you can’t focus on several things at once. Distracting your mind from what’s going on and focusing on a positive future will help you to feel much better.

An athlete listening to ASMR to relax.

Confinement can affect athletes in a positive way

While confinement is a new situation, it’s also a temporary one. At some point, this will be over, and gradually things will start to return to normal. For the time being, we need to be patient and take advantage of this time of inactivity.

In order for this to affect athletes in a positive way, it’s important to establish a routine that includes both training and rest. What’s more, it’s important to spend time on yourself, listening to your own thoughts, and allowing yourself to feel your emotions.

Don’t forget the key role that having a positive attitude has when it comes to facing each day. Waking up with the sense that each day is full of opportunity and valuing even the most minor progress with have positive effects on the wellbeing of athletes.