Grassroots Sport is Back : A Footballer’s Perspective
By Ellie Denton
Stepping back onto 3G football pitch at The Borough Sports Ground with my Sutton United U21’s women’s team in these past few weeks has, for me, marked the first step to normality.
With lockdown restrictions lifting the past few weeks in the UK, the population are now being allowed their freedom to socialise with others again; something which many have desired. For me, this meant that I was allowed to return to football training as outdoor sports was now back on the agenda for the majority of grassroots athletes.
During the three months of lockdown, we were instructed to keep as fit as possible as we didn’t know whether the season would be continued or null and voided. With the prospect of promotion still up for grabs, we knew we had to be ready to play matches at a high intensity when the restrictions were lifted. One of our coaches put together a series of muscle strengthening workouts via zoom which benefited us as we got to interact with each other.
In terms of independent physical activity, I completed a few miles of running a week and did some agility work, but I’m sure any athlete will tell you how challenging it’s been during lockdown to replicate the intensity of their sport with limited equipment. The task of motivating myself was difficult on days when I’d rather just sit on my sofa and watch every Premier League game on telly as I’m equally obsessed with watching it, even if var is making it more like a circus act.
Anyways enough about that three letter word that every football fan despises. I’ve always known that playing football has been my main form of escapism from the stresses and pressures of life for the past 15 years, but I feel that this past year has emphasised its importance even more. Having gone through long periods of not playing this season as a result of the restrictions in place, my mental health felt the repercussions of not having an outlet at times, especially during these uncertain times.
Now that I’m back, I’ve noticed a real lift in my overall mood and confidence in day to day life and that can’t be a coincidence. Football isn’t just a sport, it’s much more than that believe me.