Will Covid-19 Have Lasting Impacts on Sport?

As people get accustomed to being locked inside their premises, debates have already begun about what the new “normal” will be when it’s all over. Who needs to go into an office? How much spreading of disease can be avoided by reducing unnecessary human contact? Will the world ever be the same again?

In sport it will be particularly interesting to see. Most team-based competition will probably return to the environment we know and love: the thrill of knocking lumps out of each other, the camaraderie and physical bonding. Our starvation is only likely to make us desperate for more. Certain things might change forever though; here’s a quick look at three trends that have caught our eye.

Fitness Regimes

Never have we seen so many adverts for equipment and programs to maintain and enhance physical conditioning, from home. Resistance bands, adjustable dumb bells, old-school exercises that anybody can do in their living room. Those who want to keep in shape without being able to go to a gym have found no end of weird and wonderful ways to do so. Will they ever go back to paying membership fees for fancy facilities to achieve the same thing? Do we really need that human interaction in our lives? Of course, home workouts are as old as time but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention and many have rediscovered their self-motivation without having to travel to a communal venue to sweat it out in a crowd. Will the gym ever regain its popularity?

Darts (and Accuracy Games)

If you ever fancied yourself as a dart player, being confined to the house might have given you the opportunity to see how good you can get. Not only is it perfect for the home due to its low-cost set-up and limited space requirements, the world has also woken up to the fact that you don’t need to be standing next to your opponent to give them a game. Both players throw at a board, from the same distance, counting down from the same number. Add to that, the technology to see each other as you do it, and you wonder why anyone would bother going to the pub just to chuck a few arrows with their mate. Sales of darts and boards have gone through the roof since the shutdown, with manufacturers barely able to keep up with the demand. Will we see a World Champion emerge in the future who, when asked how they got into darts, reveals that they bought a board when forced to stay at home during the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020? Time will tell.  

Beyond darts, we’ve seen other accuracy/precision games give birth to creative ways of people competing online by setting challenges needing only the basic equipment. Will new competitions arise permanently out of this? In darts, amateur leagues (and even the lower rungs of the professional game), may not need all the travel (and cost) involved in competing, particularly for those events with little to no spectators.  

Homemade Practice Routines

Many sporting legends developed their skills in under-privileged circumstances without access to the proper tools. Rory McIllroy famously used the inside of his mother’s washing machine as his chipping target, Paul Gascoigne (probably England’s most technically gifted footballer to this day) played with a tennis ball up until the time he was given his first leather football, and Sir Don Bradman, arguably the greatest sports person of them all, practiced by throwing a golf ball at a wall and trying to hit the rebound with a cricket stump. Imagine how easy it looked to him with a big, flat lump of wood and a large red ball?

Lockdown has seen the rise of many innovative ways for people to test their hand-eye coordination and reactions in new ways, using regular items from the home and challenging their mates in the process. Let’s hope that some of these little gems become the stuff of legend. 

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