This cross-sectional study aimed to clarify the changes in lifestyle and baseball activity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic among youth baseball players. Participants were 99 youth baseball players (ages 9.6 ± 1.5 years, height 137.8 ± 9.4 cm, weight 35.3 ± 12.4 kg) in Japan. They completed an online survey between April 6 and 20, 2021, on their demographic characteristics, lifestyle (recreational screen, sleep, and study times), and baseball activity (frequency of team practice time and voluntary exercise-related baseball) at two-time points: before the pandemic (before March 2020) and during the state of emergency declared in Japan (from April to May 2020). The changes in outcomes between the two-time points were evaluated for significance. Recreational screen time and sleeping time during the state of emergency were significantly increased compared to those before the pandemic (p < 0.001). The frequency of team practice time on weekends during the state of emergency was significantly reduced, and voluntary exercise-related baseball was significantly increased compared to that before the pandemic (p < 0.01). We found that the COVID-19 pandemic changed behaviors concerning activities and exercise among youth baseball players and recommended that such behavioral changes be carefully monitored.
Keywords: COVID-19; adolescents; baseball; exercise; lifestyle changes; screen time.