Mondiale e allenamento mentale

Ho ricevuto questo contributo sulle ragioni della sconfitta del Brasile che condivido con piacere.

I have been working in the field of sport psychology for 38 years in Canada, Australia, and now in Brazil, and I believe that I know why Brazil lost to Holandia in Copa 2010: Coaching experience and styles, empathy with the players, and the mood states of Dunga and the Brazilian players in the second half of today’s game.
Obvious comparisons can be made between the two new South American national coaches: Dunga and Maradona. Neither has any coaching experience, academic training in physical education, nor in the coaching sciences, which are most common in all of North America and Western Europe.

They obviously have no technical training in football and have to rely upon, their playing experiences, and assistant coaches who have such a background.

From my perspective from working with Canadian National teams, the best results occur with teams when the coach is academically trained and has learned positive perspectives, has concern and love and respect for his players, is permitted to introduce young players early on at the international levels of competition, and likes to be laughing, hugging, and congratulating them, all factors which have contributed to Maradona’s success. I have written this before the Argentina-Germany game, but after Brazil’s loss to Holandia.

What was most obvious to me occurred before the first half break, during which Brazil’s brilliant play lead to a a 1-0 lead. However, during the game and most of of the half-time video clips, there were scenes of Dunga ranting and raving, throwing his arms into the air and hitting the banco, even though they were still winning against a tough opponent!

In the sport psychology literature, there are individuals who demonstrate “Type A behaviors”, which are characterized by: “A strong sense of urgency, an excess of competitive drive, and an easily aroused sense of hostility”-and this was when they were winning!

My best guess is that coach Dunga brought this sense of urgency, competitive drive and hostility into the dressing room and communicated it to his players at half-time. This may have resulted in the upsetting of the positive team “mood”, possibly broke the teams’s positive spirit and skill levels, through his negative psychological state of mind during the positive first half. This was perhaps through criticism, sarcasm, and inappropriate feedback to these multi-millionaires representing their country.

There is an old expression in English: “If you can’t perform, then teach”. In Dunga’s case, it might be more appropriate to state: “If you can’t teach (or coach), step out of the way for someone who can”. As a Brazilian resident, my heart is with the antiquated organization in decision-making, governance and control for both coaches and players, but my money is on Maradona’s, equally antiquated, but positive style in humanized coaching and team development.

John H. Salmela, Ph.D.
University of Ottawa, Canada

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