A lot of teenagers drink to fit in
It’s very common in your teens to be really curious about all the things you haven’t tried. Plus you want to have fun and to fit in. So if your teammates have a beer in the sauna, you might worry that you’ll be seen as boring if you don’t join in. For many teenagers, it’s that beer that is their first contact with alcohol. But alcohol and sports don’t belong together, neither for adults or for children. Talk to your teenager and help them come up with reasons that make it easier for them to say “no”. If the team or club has a permissive attitude towards alcohol, it’s a good idea for you, as a parent, to raise the subject with the leaders or with the parents of the other teenagers on the team.
The first time I got drunk was at a training camp in Germany.
Jacob, aged 15, Gothenburg
Alcohol has many negative effects
The vast majority of young people know that alcohol affects the body, but far fewer of them are aware of the effects of alcohol on sporting performances. Drinking substantially harms your performance – not just when you’re drunk, but the next day too – alcohol also prevents your body from building muscle and from recovering as easily. Playing badly because you’re hung over means letting your teammates down.
It’s easier to say “no” as a team
Two thirds of young people agree that teams and sports clubs should talk more about the risks associated with drinking alcohol in conjunction with sport. As a parent, you can ask your child’s team leaders to talk to the team about alcohol and drinking. Ideally, the club should have a unified stance on what is and isn’t allowed and should write these rules down in the form of a policy. Over half of all young people say that it would be considerably easier to say “no” to alcohol if there was a shared agreement not to drink.
You're not allowed to smoke or drink in my club. If you do, they contact your parents and you might get kicked off the team.
Nimo, aged 16, Gothenburg
Talk and discuss
Formulating a policy on paper is one thing, but theory needs to be put into practice. Keep the conversation between the team leaders and teenagers alive: what do you do if you see a teammate drinking and how might the group suffer as a result of drinking? Some team leaders find it easy to talk about this sort of thing with young people, but some have no idea how to approach the subject. Which is why it’s good if you, as a parent, can help out.