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The unreasonable to live up to elitidrottens tuffhetsideal

Albin Tingsvall was one of Sweden's best handbollsspelare. He had won the SM-gold, scored proffsanbud from the best leagues in Europe and was selected to play in the national team – when he told me about the decision to add of.

He had reached the age of 25 years and had probably the best years on the handball fields in front of him. The decision surprised many. Was he mentally ill? How can anyone say no to playing in the European championships with the national team?

" I was feeling excellent, so it was not what lay behind the decision. Sure, I had my dreams of success on the handball fields, but I realized more and more that the price to meet them were other and perhaps more important dreams just turned into shards.

written a book titled ”All I lost by winning”. For when all the love a performance but forget the person behind it – what happens then?

As a school psychologist in skåne, We meet Albin often young people who feel bad. They do not feel they look good enough, feel outside and drown in the requirements to perform in school. Parallel to the sports world is clear.

Albin Tingsvall signing his book ”All I lost by winning”. Photo: Magnus Hallgren

" people feel a tremendous pressure today. They must relate to and fit into both the ”real” and the virtual world, and create their identity. I belong to one of the last generations that grew up without the internet and smart phones, " says Albin.

He was born in Vittsjö, a small hidden society in the north east of Skåne. When he grew up in the 1990s, there was not much to do for a young guy – except to start with any sport. Football, athletics, floorball, golf and in the neighboring village wrestling, swimming and handball. Albin chose to finish it later. In his book he writes:

”When big brother and I woke the family with handbollsstraffläggning early helgmorgnar, we can already see the perfectly pointed moment on the packed arenas far beyond the 50 signs that frame our lives. It is a wonderful time for dreams.”

reality. When he just left his teens behind, he was ahead of the 2007 season referred to Hammarby, which invested heavily to become the best in Europe. Already in the first year he was to win the club's third CHAMPIONSHIP gold in a row and play against the very best teams in the world.

– at the same time was the sport never my whole life. My deeper interests were in music, the arts and psychology world. I was early inclined to reflect and ponder over my own thoughts and feelings. And was at the same time, curious about other people and their worlds.

the Goal of the national team. Albin Tingsvall in the match Sweden–Germany in January 2013. Photo: Lennart Månsson/Bildbyrån

Albin Tingsvall got to do the debut in the national team when he was 22 years old, but already then it was something that chafed within him. The dream had been fulfilled, but it did not really make any difference: he was the same person as when he was still living in Vittsjö and played with friends.

" I think that society in general idealizes elitidrottsvärlden based on a military and masculine culture and structure. Where are the captains and divisions, flags, and national anthems. The ideal is tough and tagged men and women who wage war and fighting. For me, man is bigger than that.

Athletes should be strong, durable and never fold down. But none works so.

the state, municipalities and other non-profit organizations inspiration from the sport movement. It can apply to leadership, the development of methods and effectiveness.

" Sport is seen as a role model, but few know what elite means. It is rather a closed world with poorly trained leaders and unscientific methods. Athletes must be strong, durable and never fold down. But none works so. It becomes unreasonable to live up to this and it becomes a breeding ground for mental illness.

When this ideal early on children and young people's lives, it leads to more and more feel bad, continues Albin Tingsvall. Both in school and in sport.

" When I played handball, we spoke often about standards, about our safety, about the trainer who had unreasonable performance requirements ... But the calls stopped in the changing rooms. No one dared to take it up with the coach and the leader, because there were ”a thousand others waiting to take one's place in the team”. Not with the journalists were taken this up.

– And as long as we are silent, we uphold the destructive image of ourselves as invulnerable models. By our great media exposure so clearly effects both for sportsmen, children and society at large.

successful sporting career read Albin psychology at the university and is today a licensed psychologist.

– A professional athlete has to much free time, but little freedom. During trips to matches and training sessions, there was time for that important självreflektionen.

Albin says that he wanted to broaden his identity, don't let the sport become increasingly. He saw handbollsspelandet increasingly as a profession, never looked at other matches and was no tabellnörd.

– To broaden their horizons, is good in all contexts. It enriches the identity and equips us for both adversity and success. Otherwise the risk is that we are always chasing performance forward in time, without being able to be happy where we are. And such a race we can never win.

Albin Tingsvall in Hammarby 2009 and in the Lugis dress 2014. Photo: Lennart Månsson and Lars Dareberg

former team-mate Jens Eriksson lectures frequently to coaches, players and parents about their experiences. Albin also drop in at a specialist clinic for athletes who feel physically bad.

– Many parents believe in the myth that talent must be developed early. They often create a pressure for the law to be topped and for to only the best should get to play. I myself have no talent and had probably been released already as a child in such an environment.

– the search for talent often leads the wrong. Children who are born late in the year or late developed, chosen away or end up with the sport. And there is no research pointing towards it at all possible to identify the talents early, rather on the contrary.

Although it has become better in recent years, points out the Albin. The awareness that humans are complex increases. Among other things, many have stopped to count the results and benefits when children play such as football, handball or ice hockey. But there is still much to do, " he says.

it is easy to find articles and reports about well-heeled sports stars who earn millions. But the vast majority of people who practice a sport at the elite level are not even close to live on it.

To study at the side of the idrottandet is more important than what many people believe, as an insurance against any damage and for ease when his career is over.

Almost everyone needs something to fall back on after his career. But studies show that every fifth elite athlete is experiencing the end of its active time as a crisis, with increased risk for substance abuse and mental ill-health as a result, writes Albin in his book.

– To study at the side of the idrottandet is more important than what many people believe, as an insurance against any damage and for ease when his career is over. Some believe that the studies should steal the focus from the performance, but there is no scientific evidence for it.

participants in the OLYMPIC games two years ago showed that 38 per cent of the 120 people big squad studied or had studied at the hand of their idrottskarriärer, " says Albin Tingsvall.

– These 38 per cent accounted for 58 per cent of the total medaljskörden. When the results from the different world CUP tournaments were included in the study, the researchers could see that about three out of four Danish medals during the year were taken by athletes who were studying or had graduated from college.

Similar results have been found previously both in Australia and in the Uk. The student develops skills that can also be used in sport, and at the same time creates something important outside of the arena that may mitigate the prestationspressen on the plan.

We hit the Albin Tingsvall a couple of hours before he is going to watch Hammarby face Sävehof in a match in handbollsligan. At the same time, he shall sign his new book.

" No, not directly. But now, when there has been a few years since I stopped I can sometimes miss some moments, as the decision in important matches. The thrill is difficult to get in other ways.

Johan Croneman: Where is the boundary between elite and child abuse?

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