The reason we do what we do. Bigger than tennis



Which athlete I want to become

It is important and useful to ask the question: How good do I want to be?
It is not presumptuous to ask this question, it serves to set a goal and figure out how hard I need to work to achieve it.
For a young person it is not enough to have decided to pursue a career as an athlete.

The next question will be about which athlete I want to become.

  • The best in my city?
  • The best in my country?
  • An international level athlete?
  • The world champion?

If I don’t answer these questions how do I know if the sport path I am involved in is adequate to reach my goal?

To understand what kind of future I want, answer these questions below.

…I am motivated to excellence if I want to:

  • Do something difficult.
  • Feel energized.
  • Lead people or guide myself effectively, efficiently and ethically.
  • Go beyond obstacles and maintain high standards.
  • Excel for myself.
  • Increase awareness by observing my own successful experiences.

To learn more about how to achieve your goals and overcome difficulties write to me via this site.

Why do we need movement?

The diffusion of sport in our culture is not only linked to the passions aroused by the great competitive challenges of soccer championships, Olympic gold medals or America’s Cup regattas, but is also based on certain ideas that are now an integral part of people’s beliefs. The first refers to the idea that sport is wellness and the second that sport is education for life. Therefore, if we move to feel good, each individual has the fundamental right to be able to be put in a position to make movement and/or do sport and it is precisely to meet this need that sport for all was born and has spread, to the point of becoming an activity that involves millions of people.

So, what are the needs to which sport for all provides an answer?

  1. The need for movement - We live in a society that forces us to lead sedentary lives, walking to work or playing in the street are almost unthinkable activities and we must make up for this reduction in spontaneous movement by institutionalizing moments of the day to be devoted exclusively to physical activity / sports. It is now possible for millions of citizens to spend a day without even having walked 1 km.
  2. The need to educate one’s own body - The best example of educating one’s own body through movement is provided by children in the first years of life. One need only observe them to understand how much effort they put into learning to walk and run, or into acquiring those processes of self-regulation that allow them to learn while reducing the risk of harming themselves (the pleasure they take in climbing and jumping). Even for adults, the search for well-being can be satisfied through a better perception of their body or through the discovery that their mood can improve through moderate motor practice. For many individuals it is the discovery that they can actively and positively act on the reactions of their body and how these are inseparably linked to their psychological condition, in a relationship of mutual influence.
  3. The need for self-realization - In sports for all, there are very different needs for self-realization and certainly not all of them are positive. One of the forms of intelligence is kinesthetic intelligence and athletes derive a sense of personal development from the acquisition of a high level of mastery in the performance of their activities. Another mode of self-realization related, however, to sport for all is to maintain a satisfactory state of physical and mental well-being. On the other hand, those who use substances harmful to health or abuse drugs to improve their physical appearance or their sporting performance are not acceptable as forms of positive self-actualization.
  4. The need to belong - For many sportsmen and women, the search for social contact through motor/sports practice is one of the main motivations. Sport becomes synonymous with activities carried out in a group. One activity above all: running; running is an individual sport that takes place in a group, because the need to be with friends or to make new ones and to share with them one’s own personal sporting experience is a fundamental psychological dimension.
  5. The need for play and adventure - Sport for all means sport for everyone, in which the subjectivity and the needs of the individual prevail over the rules of the traditional competitive model. This is because sport for all is practiced for personal pleasure and the rules of the game are established by the participants. The prize is not the victory or the achievement of absolute performance, but the satisfaction of one’s own desire. The adventure is not only the absolute one of Messner or Soldini, but also the one of the sedentary person who decides for the first time in his life to overcome his resistance linked to his bad perception of his body or to the desire to lose weight and to follow a program of physical activity in the gym.
  6. The need to live in a natural environment - The need to do physical activity immersed in nature is increasingly felt, whether it be in a city park or at the seaside, in the mountains or in the countryside. The search for a suitable environmental context does not arise only from the pleasure of breathing cleaner air or smelling scents that we are no longer used to in the city. Even more profoundly, however, it is part of a physically active lifestyle, in which nature becomes the place par excellence in which to move, even if only to walk and chat with friends.

We have to accept our stress

If we start from the premise that “life is a wonderful thing but it could also turn into hell if we’re not careful”, then it quickly becomes clear why stress, in turn, can be just as wonderful or fatal. It’s the difficult situations that drive people to work hard to overcome them and get the results they set out to achieve. Let’s think about the first date with a girl or a guy, how did it feel, was it calm, no for sure. Did you think: will he come or won’t he come, will I be clumsy?

Challenge is also something else. Challenges even seemingly simple, such as finding time to do something you enjoy (a walk, meeting up with friends). In this case, the challenge is to do something you enjoy, for the sake of doing it, to achieve immediate goals, to get pleasure or to have fun. Leisure outside of work is one of the best predictors of well-being, and fun positively influences couple relationships and social life, which are also key indices of well-being.

It is an invitation to people to prefer experiences to passivity determined by comforts (“Why should I go out, struggle, when I can be so comfortable on the sofa watching TV”), to do rather than to have (“but if I buy that electronic device that makes me lose weight while sitting, why should I follow a diet and go to the gym?”).

These ideas are not new!!!

Benjamin Franklin, an 18th century scientist and politician, argued that teaching a young man to shave and keep his razor sharp would contribute far more to his happiness than giving him 1,000 guineas to squander. Money would have left only remorse. Whereas knowing how to shave frees a man from the harassment of the barber, his sometimes dirty fingers, offending breaths, and unsharp razors.

Taking on this new way of thinking is about taking care of oneself, it means paying attention not so much to the grandeur of the changes we might achieve after a year and at the cost of great sacrifice. Generally, setting long-term goals indicates more than anything else the person’s aspiration to achieve a certain ambitious result, but precisely because one is at the same time aware of the commitment to achieve it can be perceived as unattainable. On the contrary, one must think in terms of weekly and attainable goals.

The defenses that a person can raise to avoid taking care of themselves can be described as follows:

  1. Thinking it’s always been this way - Some people tell themselves “I’ve always been chubby, sure I’m a little chubbier now than I was before the pandemic, but how can you say no to a nice plate of pasta.” This approach indicates that the person believes he or she cannot improve his or her life because he or she has always had that problem, i.e. being overweight, and thus comes to the conclusion that there is nothing to be done. This explanation also comes to justify determine psychological characteristics: “He does not like to be alone, but even as a boy he was afraid of the dark, the light kept him company.” In these cases, the memory of the past is used to affirm the impossibility of change. It is confirmed in people’s heads that it is the past, against which nothing can be done, that guides the present and determines choices for the future.
  2. Thinking that change is not important - Others say: “I’ll lose weight, do sports or go out more with friends, but what do I gain? I’m fine as I am, I live my life, I don’t have a disease, I work, no one complains. Why should I change when I feel so good in front of the TV.” In this case, those who support this way of life are not at all aware of the damage that a sedentary life creates and only perceive the discomfort derived from engaging in activities other than the usual ones.
  3. Thinking that there is always something more important to do - Still others are convinced that “It would be nice to have time to devote to myself, but that’s how life goes, always running never a minute for you.” Compared to the unaware, these people would have the intention to change their lives in some way but feel that they do not have the right to do so as this desire of theirs comes last.
  4. Thinking that one will not be able to continue - Some others are convinced “I will never have the patience and perseverance to follow a training program, I have tried it before and always quit.” Thus, negative experiences of quitting result in a condition of insecurity, which in turn keeps the individual within their unsatisfactory way of life.
  5. Feeling ridiculous in front of others - Finally, it is possible to think that ” In the gym I feel ridiculous because everyone is dressed better and better than me” or “I should first find an instructor who explains well what I have to do, who does the simple things, then, maybe. I could do them among the others and then I am no longer young and the suit gets bigger.” This diminished acceptance of one’s physique and current fitness does not help one fit into a group, feel comfortable. One would want to achieve acceptable form first and then participate in group classes.

Master Roma: January 26 Open Day

How to increase sport among people with disabilities

10 target points to increase sport participations among people with disabilities. 

Catherine Carty, Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Fiona Bull, Juana Willumsen, Lindsay Lee, Kaloyan Kamenov, and Karen Milton (2021). The First Global Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines for People Living With Disability.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 18, 86-93

10 target areas Actions needed
1. Awareness Tailored awareness campaigns are needed to draw attention to the inequity experienced by people living with disability in relation to physical activity. Emphasis on disability as an interaction between a health condition, personal characteristics, and the environment will help reduce exclusion and point to the broad range of sectors and actions that are needed to cocreate inclusive physical activity solutions.
2. Communication Communication campaigns for promoting physical activity and limiting sedentary behavior need to be targeted at and accessible to people with a wide variety of impairments through a variety of formats and technologies. General communication messages need to avoid ableist language and sentiment and be universally accessible.
3. Environment Inclusive access to local amenities, facilities, and services, including green spaces, blue spaces, and networks, may require new products, technologies, environmental changes, supportive relationships, and inclusive social attitudes. Safe and connected active transport should be made accessible for people living with disability so that they can participate more independently where they live, work, play, or go to school. This will help limit sedentary behavior and increase physical activity among people living with disability.
4. Training Training and education providers need to supply inclusive practitioners across sectors that impact physical activity and sedentary behavior to meet the specific needs of people living with disability. Disability awareness training for a broad range of community stakeholders (professionals to volunteers) would build much-needed understanding and help reduce the disabling impact of the social and physical environment.
5. Partnership Facilitating inclusion in and through physical activity is a whole of society issue. Multidisciplinary partnerships from national policy to local delivery levels are needed to address barriers and facilitators to create opportunities for participation. They must involve disability service organizations and people living with disability. Dedicated disability sport inclusion staff, working with disability organizations, can support the inclusion of individuals with disability in physical activity at community levels.
6. Research Mechanisms to gather disaggregated data on participation in physical activity, sedentary behavior, and disability are essential to monitor progress in participation on all levels—local, national, and international. An increased volume and quality of research exploring barriers and enablers to physical activity and its effects, along the disability continuum and across the domains of functioning (including life activities and participation), are needed to inform effective inclusive policy solutions and public health interventions.
7. Human rights Protecting, respecting, and fulfilling human rights with and for people with disability in and though physical activity are critical, including targeted interventions for those enduring intersectional discrimination. Increased understanding of roles and responsibilities pertaining to human rights is needed and must transfer to inclusive actions, advocacy, and investments across multiple sectors.
8. Programs Community-based physical activity programs need to consider disability-specific accommodations (across fully inclusive to segregated activities) and universal design principles. Facilitating choice in programming is critical, as is the need to provide opportunities to build positive experiences, beginning early in childhood.
9. Investment Investment is needed across sectors to advance disability inclusion in and through physical activity, in line with human rights obligations. It can be tailored according to means through innovative approaches. Appropriate and effective practical measures, or “reasonable accommodations,” such as assistants, carers, and assistive technologies, should be provided to help people living with disability to be active and to limit sedentary behavior.
10. Governance Creating inclusive societies requires significant changes at governance and policy levels. Disability inclusion in public health and physical activity should be mainstreamed through policies and legal frameworks. Partnerships, finance, and all relevant organs of society should be mobilized to address disability inclusion. With broad interagency governance structures, physical activity can be a driver of inclusive action in broader society.

Sport psychologist ISSP-Registry

ISSP is pleased to announce that applications to the ISSP-Registry (ISSP-R) and ISSP-Registry of Approved Supervisors (ISSP-S) will be re-opening. Applications will open on Friday, January 21, 2022. Please refer to the ISSP-R section of the website for full details.

Soccer referee and psychology

We know that the stress of refereeing is negatively correlated with the referee’s concentration, self-confidence and overall well-being. This should not surprise us since this occurs in relation to any professionally performed activity.

We also know that just as athletes need psychological skills to perform successfully so do referees. Officials must be able to focus their attention, remain cool under pressure, deal with mistakes and adverse situations effectively and set realistic goals.

If these concepts are shared I wonder then, in the case of soccer referees, what is being done by the Italian refereeing organization to provide that stress preparation, especially after serious mistakes, to its members. Usually the referee is kept at rest for a few shifts. What purpose does this serve? And most importantly, how is it helped to overcome this kind of stress? Is time the only medicine? And with whom does the Italian designator consult, with other referees? And why not with a psychologist?

Questions that will not receive an answer. The Italian refereeing organization in the last 21 years has not produced a research on the psychological aspects of this activity. Otherwise, on google scholar under referee psychology there are at least one hundred researches on referees published in international journals.

Hasta siempre Gento

“The honorary president played 18 seasons at Real Madrid and became a legend of world soccer.”

Francisco Gento López has passed away at the age of 88. A key figure in the Real Madrid legend, he played for our club from 1953 to 1971. Eighteen years in which he achieved an unparalleled record. He won 6 European Cups, which makes him a unique player in the history of soccer. To these he added 12 Leagues, 1 Intercontinental, 2 Latin Cups, 2 Spanish Cups and 1 Little World Cup. His contribution to Real Madrid led to him being elected honorary president of the club in 2016.

With a portentous physique and incredible speed, Gento was the best left winger in the world. But apart from his spectacular conditions as a player, he was the link between two legendary generations at Real Madrid: that of the first five European Cups and that of the equipo yeyé.

Beginning with Di Stefano
Gento was born on October 21, 1933 in Guarnizo (Cantabria) and joined Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season from Racing Santander. That same year, Di Stéfano also joined our team and together they transformed Real Madrid into the best club in the world.

In their first year, they won the League and ushered in a golden era for madridismo. The best players in the world wore our shirt and the forward line formed by Kopa, Rial, Di Stéfano, Puskas and Gento is considered the most important in history.

Since the birth of the European Cup in 1955, Gento is the only player to have won the trophy six times. First he was part of the historic team that won five consecutive titles from 1956 to 1960 and then he was the captain of the Real Madrid yeyé that won it in 1966.

Gento was a starter in the finals of Real Madrid’s first six European Cups and scored in two of them. In the second, he scored the 2-0 goal against Fiorentina, in a final played at the Santiago Bernabéu. He was even more decisive in the Third, when his goal in extra time settled a tough match against Milan”.

The referee: a man alone with his worries

Once again a refereeing error negatively affected the result of the match. It happened in Milan-Spezia where Serra for a supposed foul by Bastoni stopped the attack of Rebic, who had served Messias, whose shot under the cross had been successful.

The referee immediately realized the glaring mistake he had made but obviously could not turn back. This fact shows us once again that sometimes it is the referees who have a major influence on the outcome of the match. Technology helps but does not exempt from mistakes. This new case highlights a substantial difference between the errors of the players and those of the referees. The former have the team to take refuge in while the referees remain alone with their sense of guilt for having made a mistake, which should not have happened. Everyone agrees that mistakes are part of the game but this assumption is not enough for the referee to get out of the angst that a serious mistake causes. Serra’s mistake is like that of Jorginho who misses the decisive penalty or of the gymnasts who pursue the perfection of their performance without succeeding. We never talk about volleyball or basketball refereeing, because the referee’s choices rarely determine the final result, they are sports where points are scored in every minute of the match and the value of referee’s sanctions have less impact on the match. In soccer it is different. The goal is a rare event and the game is influenced by cautions, important facts for that game and the next.

The player goes to the field the next day and has teammates and staff to share his problems with. The referee has no one, he has no teammates, he has a boss, the manager who, if on one hand can understand him, on the other hand is the one who decides the games he will referee and if it is the case to stop him for some championship turns. The referee is alone in having to fight with the insecurities generated by a wrong choice, and I hope that in his private life he has people with whom he can share his feelings and fears, without being judged but simply accepted, because mistakes are part of any profession.

L’arbitro: un uomo solo con le sue insicurezze