What do you like best about sport?
That's my life in sports school
What sport do you do and why did you decide to go to a sports school?
Shirin: I've been doing judo since 2005. At first I went to a normal high school. At that time I already had training every day. I noticed that judo is what I want to do. But because of that I neglected school. That's why I decided with my parents that I would switch to sports school. So I can bring judo and school under one roof.
What requirements do you need to be able to go to a sports school?
Shirin: There are different tests for each sport. In judo there was a technique test and an athletics test. In addition, at least in judo you need certain competition results. In my case, it was the Berlin championship and some viewing tournaments.
Do you go to a pure judo class or are the sports mixed up? And what sports are there at your school?
Shirin: In my year the judoka were in the same class as the boxers and the weightlifters. In the upper school all sports are mixed because there are no more classes. There are around 20 sports at my school. Judo, boxing, basketball, soccer, handball, volleyball, archery, fencing, figure skating, speed skating, badminton and ice hockey are just a few of them.
What is your school day like?
Shirin: I'm currently in high school. Because the Abitur is stretched over three years, I have less school and therefore more training. I train 12 to 14 times a week. That depends on whether I also go to training on Saturday. We usually train in the mornings, then go to school for four hours and have another training session in the afternoon. For me it changes daily at the moment. On Monday I have seven lessons and then training. Tuesday I only have two hours, but before and after training.
In the lower grades you also train in the mornings, but only again after school. The students still have to come for the specified number of hours. This means that in lower school you have much longer days than normal students. On average you have nine hours and two of them are sports.
How does the sports school affect your weekends and holidays?
Shirin: In the competition season, we rarely have the weekend off. The season runs roughly from March to August and the competitions are Saturday or Sunday. Outside of the season, however, our weekends are mostly free.
We never really have a real vacation. Sure, we don't have classes, but we still have training. During the summer holidays we train up to a certain competition, which usually takes place at the end of July. Only then do we have a real vacation. This year, for example, two weeks of summer vacation.
What do you like best about the sports school?
Shirin: What I like most is that all teachers understand the sport. They understand that sometimes you can't learn because of the competitions. Or when you come out of training totally exhausted. The teachers always try to find a good solution. For example, you give tutoring or postpone an entire exam. The interaction between school and sport cannot be taken for granted. It is great that I am supported in such a way and that I can do my competitive sport to the full without being restricted.
What if you get injured? Do you have to leave the sports school then?
Shirin: Actually, you don't have to leave school because of an injury. I tore my cruciate ligament myself and couldn't exercise for a year. The school gave me a lot of support. I received rehab and physical treatments. It also depends on what class you are in and how severe the injury is. I know a gymnast who has been paralyzed since a training accident. Nevertheless, she finished her high school diploma at our school. But if you are injured so badly in the ninth grade that you can never really do sport again, then you have to do your Abitur at another school. In the upper school we have sports as an advanced course and of course you have to be able to take it.
How do you deal with the pressure to perform?
Shirin: We are all under a certain pressure to perform. You have to be able to rely on your family and your environment and also have open discussions with your coaches. Everyone deals with it differently. I'm not putting any pressure on myself at the moment because I want to get my old shape back first. My injury set me back and I want to be where I used to be. We also have sports psychologists at the school who are there for us when we want to.
What motivates you when you don't feel like exercising?
Shirin: I motivate myself by simply always having in mind what my goal is. My goal is the Olympic Games and the World Cup. That motivates me to go to training every day and do my best!
How do you envision your future? Do you want to continue to play professional sports or do a usual job?
Shirin: I will continue judo myself for now. My goal is really to go to the Olympic Games. In school, however, we are prepared for both variants. We are given many options for bringing sport and professional life together. As a competitive athlete, for example, you can extend your studies or shorten your working hours. About 20 to 30% continue to do the sport with passion and take advantage of these opportunities. But at every sports school there are many who lose interest after more than 10 years of competitive sports. You then begin normal training or a degree.
Thank you for the interview!
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