Covid-19 and community sport; do you think this is a crisis or an opportunity?
Covid-19 affected us in so many different ways; there are negative and positive outcomes.
From the crisis point of view, we can see that the lack of communication and physical activity may lead to poor mental health. This trend has been recognized throughout the country, and not only in sports sector. Secondly, when it is not possible to participate in competitions, it is complicated to maintain interest and motivate people to continue with sport. Virtual training can’t really replace in-person sessions with (live) social interaction. As for community sport, it really depends on the chosen sport; the crisis mainly affected sports such as swimming.
At the same time, we can also see a positive impact, especially in community sport. People began to move more and more, and the sport businesses have struggled to meet the demand for sports goods and equipment (bicycles, skis, sledges etc.).
The positive trend is that people move outdoors more, including the grassroots sport clubs. This is what made the training sessions more interesting. A lot of “alternative” ways of training were used to keep the sport clubs running and the members moving.
What do you think is the main challenge of the grassroots and community sport sector today, and why?
We think that the main challenge is the communication with the members; how to support and motivate them to overcome the crisis, so they do not leave (the sport clubs).
The lessons we have learnt: People do want to do sport! Regional restrictions do not work!
During the second wave we had a lockdown in two bigger counties. This put us in a situation where people went to train and sport clubs organized training camps in other counties. As a result of that we faced a nationwide spread of the virus (also other entertainment fields were involved).
The Estonian Foundation of Sport Education and Information is a public institution, established by the Estonian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education and Research. The Foundation is responsible for development and putting in practise the qualification system of coaches; coordinating the training of coaches and sports administrators; development and administration of sports related databases (Estonian sports organisations, facilities, coaches, results); initiating and conducting sport related surveys; collecting and analysing information about international sport policies and participating in development sport policies in Estonia.