The psychological impact of isolation due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic caused by Covid-19 has been violent, particularly for children and adolescents, who have seen the possibility of responding to a series of fundamental needs characterizing the their age. Physical contact and relationships, especially those with peers, fundamental for emotional and socio-relational experience and growth, have suffered important limitations; motor activities and interactions with the environment, integral parts of psycho-physical and cognitive development, have been reduced; places dedicated to teaching, such as schools and sports clubs, have had to find new ways of involving minors, with important repercussions on a relational and learning level.

One of the aspects on which people’s safety is based is the possibility of perceiving a certain amount of control over one’s life. The limitation of personal freedom has therefore led, on an emotional level, to the emergence, or sometimes to the intensification, of affects such as anger, frustration, anxiety strong>, stress, up to anguish, panic and depression. In particular, a study carried out by Irccs Gaslini during the spring lock down period highlighted how children and adolescents over 6 years of age experienced behavioral problems and regression symptoms. The most frequent disorders in this age group were anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and increased emotional instability, with irritability and changes in mood.

The greater fragility of children and adolescents during this period could also be found within the context of sports clubs and football schools, which saw a greater number of dropouts, increased social isolation of athletes, behavioral regressions and a decline in motivation, aspects also partly reinforced by the lack of the match, the moment most awaited by young athletes, which contains important emotional and social stimuli.



Precisely for these reasons, sport proves to be fundamental, promoting well-being and a protective factor for socio-emotional aspects, as the WHO also suggests. In fact, through sport, children and adolescents can experience positive emotions, stay in touch with their passions, and stay in relationships with peers and adults. Furthermore, during motor activity, the human neuroendocrine system stimulates the production of chemical substances that have beneficial effects on the body and psyche. Among these we can mention for example:

  • ENDORPHINS: endowed with a powerful analgesic and exciting activity, they give pleasure, gratification and help to better tolerate stress, anxiety and anger, positively influencing the state of mind;
  • NORADRENALINE: hormone that causes excitement, helping to stay alert and motivated and respond to stress;
  • DOPAMINE: neurotransmitter with control functions on movement, learning and cognitive faculties such as attention and memory, as well as mediator of reward and pleasure mechanisms.

The role of the coach and trainer within the youth sectors has acquired even greater importance in this period, with the function of an educational reference and emotional support, as well as a creator of stimulating and exciting environments. The watchword is creativity!



In order for the activity carried out in the field to continue to be a source of positive emotions and consequently motivation, it is necessary that, while respecting the rules of distancing and the absence of contact, it contains the following ingredients:

  • game, protagonist of psychological and personality development, through experiences and autonomous exploration. In this period, street games come to the rescue, so dear to children in the past, such as Tedesca and Football-Tennis, or creative games that simulate the situation of the match such as Table Football (photo).


table football


  • The challenge, mediator of cooperative and competitive behaviors, through competitions, team games, tournamentsin dotted interiors.
  • The relationship with teammates, to improve interactions within the team and work on socio-affective development, and with the context, to create learning situations that have a transference into the reality of the principles of the game of football. Many coaches think that in this period only analytical technique exercises can be carried out, but in reality there are many situational exercises that, with a little creativity, can be applied to protocols. These include rondos (photo) and exercises that work on interception (photo).

Rondo 1


Rondo 2


Attack vs defense with cutting movement of the wingers


Attack vs defense with search for depth through the midfielder



In addition to the creation of personalized training programs, the work that a coach does from home can be developed on a double front: on the one hand, on the consolidation of game principles that have been worked on on the field, through the use of videos and analysis of game situations together with the team with an inductive method, which includes questions and reflections from the players; on the other hand, on the construction of relationships within the team, through an important team building process, for example through the sharing of group objectives, the creation of a virtual poster containing the most important values for the team, mediated moments of discussion , by the coach on specific topics, explanation of the qualities of his teammates, the strengths and areas for improvement of the team.

Especially with the little ones, even structured team days, with quizzes and virtual games, can be a useful tool for keeping the group together and creating a shared moment of well-being, fun and relationship.