Youth athletes and social media: perceptions and changes in the sports context
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Social media has brought changes in the sports environment, and its effects are still unclear. This research aims to verify how the athletes see the relationships between the sport world and the new media. This study had as participants 211 athletes from 10 teams, all participants of a national championship of the under-20 category. The players presented mean age of 18 years (+/- 0.97) and average practice time of 9 years (+/- 3.27). A questionnaire was used in this research, which was developed specifically for the purpose of understanding these relationships between social media and athletes, composed of 4 open questions. The content analysis proposed by Franco (1994) was used to data analysis. As results, most athletes see positive changes in the emergence of social networks. Players agree that concentration and attention can be hampered by the use of mobile devices, especially at important periods of competition. However, it is not well seen by athletes to withdraw electronic devices during competitive periods, as they indicate that this may have negative effects. The electronic devices seem to facilitate the adaptation in different cities, mainly in relation to the knowledge about the city. We note then that several changes occurred in the sports sphere promoted by social media, however there is still no consensus regarding the effects and possibilities of the use of these technologies. Thus, we must pay attention to such changes and seek to work them in a way that does not hinder or have negative effects on sports performance.