We’re The Superhumans | Rio Paralympics 2016

Unbelievable video to celebrate the young Superhumans of Paralimpics

Photo by Mária Švarbová

In this photo by Slovakian photographer Mária Švarbová, the municipal swimming pool becomes a place of eerie, high-tensile beauty. 3,2,1 Mária Švarbová


Athletes and especially teenagers commit more to learn those skills they feel are important for the coach

Athletes and especially teenagers commit more to learn those skills that they feel are important for the coach.

True. This concept refers to those questions which relate, for example, the distraction of the athletes, the difficulty to remain concentrated or anxiety management. Often coaches can only respond to these needs by saying your guys to stay focused or calm down. So little useful answers and they leave the athletes only faced their difficulties. They usually do not teach  to take a deep breath or to use ideomotor training as mental techniques to reduce stress and be active and proactive. These types of intervention are also described on the methodology of books (Weineck, 2001) but are rarely considered. As a result the athletes are not using the mind for the reason that their coaches do not teach them, because they do not consider this effort useful.

Coaches do not teach the athletes to accept the mistakes

The coaches teach athletes to accept mistakes.

False. Coaches frequently speak of this need but rarely take the time in training to teach it. This is not a teaching strategy to say to a young “you did wrong, do not worry, go ahead and focused on what you need to do.” Because the athletes are instead worried, continue to think to the mistake committed and they lose the focus on what they should do. The coaches often think: “I do not know what to tell them, they know that for me is not a problem if they make mistakes, I just want they stay focused on the next action.” Athletes do not change and do not improve by applying pre-established sentences: if you are agitated, is calm; If you are distracted, concentrated; if you’re depressed, think positively. We must instead train to react positively to the errors. In tennis, for instance,  if in a game there are 200 points, the winning goes the player who makes less mistakes than the other. In this case, it could win the game by making 90 mistakes, therefore to accept this amount of mistakes is crucial if the player want to succeed. The tennis coaches who are always ready to provide technical instructions in training as a result of one mistake, blocking the game and providing explanations, rarely behave in the same manner as a result of mental mistakes. For example, if a player at the end of one point hastens the serve timing execution he/she is never stopped to bring it back to the timing of proper execution. In other words, almost exclusively coaches train the technique or the tactique and rarely the behavioral reactions, teaching to stop those harmful and stimulating those useful in the game.

Coaches don’t coach the attention

The coaches think that being focused is a matter that primarily concerns the athletes and devote little time to the development of this skill.

True. The ideomotor training or visualization is a concentration technique which consists in the repetition of the sport gesture as if you were running at that moment. Early research in this area date back to the 50s, and in 1984 Richard Frester published a survey on this subject in a German Journal (Medizin und Sport, 4) from which it emerged the utility in the following exercise phases:
1. Technical education of the individual elements of the movement and global exercises, in sports in which are required cyclic and acyclic movements.
2. Training of individual movement parameters such as the sense of rhythm, time, and frequency.
3. Correction of incorrect motor processes and to break motor stereotypes.
4. To promote or support a maintenance effect of the movements … Particularly suitable in the active recovery phases.
5. Preparation of the race. The visualization ​​facilitates concentration on the movements and the realization of what as been planned.

The emphasis on victory is the ruin of young athletes

In Italy we puts too much emphasis on the importance of victory on 12 years old kids and this is an opinion shared by many coaches, so our athletes arrive to 18 years who are physically and mentally exhausted.

True. Coaches want to jump the stages of athlete development as a long-term process to obtain sports results, they have no meaning other than to glorify coaches, federations and parents and leading the students to believe that they will have a successful future. These beliefs go against any scientific data, now available to everyone on the internet, but they are ignored by most of the sports organizations. It’s a  phenomenon widespread in the world, that one of the early exploitation of young athletes who for years has been widely denounced in all Anglo-Saxon countries but continues to persist.

Are you really the leader of your athletes

It’s widely believed that the athletes who show technical, tactical and physical fitness should be in optimum condition to compete at their best.

False. I know Olympian athletes  that they are no longer get up by a defeat at the following Olympics. Gold medalists that in the next four years there were no longer expressed at that level, or others who have repeatedly come to the Games with the title of world champion and have never reached the final. Maybe they were not fit or had lost their technique? I understand that it’s difficult for those who teach sport be convinced that even if technical and fitness are essential to feel like a F1 Ferrari , then serves the pilot (the mind) without whom all the other things are useless. Coaches must be convinced of their psychological role, and the need to acquire the professional skills necessary to also carry out this function. It’s clear that if you rely only on the few hours of theoretical sports psychology present in official training courses, it will be very difficult to perform this motivational function that athletes need.

Praise of walking

Walking is the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an old person wants to give up.  Walking is the exercise that does not need a gym.  It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, and the cosmetic that can’t be found in a chemist.  It is the tranquilliser without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, and the holiday that does not cost a penny.  What’s more, it does not pollute, consumes few natural resources and is highly efficient.  Walking is convenient, it needs no special equipment, is self-regulating and inherently safe.  Walking is as natural as breathing.

John Butcher, Founder Walk21

The weight condition of the child’s is correlated with that of the parents. In fact, when at least one parent is overweight 22.2% of the children is overweight and 5.6% obese. When at least one parent is obese, 30.7% of children are overweight and 13.3% obese. These data regards Modena, city in the Central Italy, other Regions showed worst results.

Martin Ashton, now paraplegic, is back as trial biker

Martyn Ashton was a tremendous trial biker following a fall, three years ago, has become paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair.

His friends, including Danny MacAskill,  helped Martyn to build a special seat, anchored to which the bike, allowing him to ride the bike downhill, and feel – once again – a biker.

This beautiful video, as well as being exciting, it is a great incentive to those who would like to, but does not feel, for one reason or another, serious or not serious. Watch and get excited for the return of Martyn on bike.

Soccer teams’ mentality by Desmond Morris

In this month the 1981 book by the anthropologist Desmond Morris “The football tribe” was re-released. One of the themes of the book concerns the meaning and function of the goal, at this topic I have dedicated a survey carried out in four European championships, which carry part of the introduction (Movimento, 2011).


In football score or suffer a goal is the apex of a team play and it has a deep impact on confidence and on the two teams emotions. It’s the most important event of the match. Already thirty years ago the anthropologist Desmond Morris, in his book dedicated to the analysis of football as a tribal phenomenon, he wrote:

“One of the qualities that make the goals as important is their rarity. In the modern professional football the most frequent score of a team at the end of the ninety minutes of play is one. Or zero … each team has a little over a thousand contacts with the ball for the match. Which means that a player hitting the ball has less than one chance in a thousand to score. No wonder then if, when this happens, the reaction is so powerful. No wonder if that rare specimen who is the top scorer or gunner is high in tribal folklore, the pedestal of a real hero “ (1981, p.104).

In addition, by analyzing the 9000 goal made between April 1978 and November 1980 in the English League and Cup, Morris found that their frequency increased as the time goes ahead. Were about 5,000 goals scored in the second half, of which 1800 were he scored in the last 15 minutes of the game, noting that globally the chance to score increased with the progress of the game.

In conclusion, this survey is a tribute to the innovative ideas that Morris proposed thirty years ago and which remain relevant even if the socio-economic conditions through the football today are different from those of the ’70s. The meaning and function of the goals have remained exactly the same, indeed the importance of winning and the expectations of society and of the fans are strongly exaggerated.

The goal meaning has several explanations:

- “… The hunters become footballers, the weapon is the ball and the prey is the goalpost” (Morris, 1981, p. 15)

- “Think of it as a kind of miniature war … What matters is precisely the difference between the number of goals scored by the two teams … the end result is linked instead to the symbolism of the battle” (p. 17-18).

- “If the home team wins a game, fans can claim an important victory in the psychological and social field … There is no worst misfortune for the relegation tribes: in the event of relegation the loss of social prestige is so great that the team punishes himself with a symbolic sacrifice, usually by firing the coach “(p. 22-23).

- “It ‘s important to repeat once and for all that there are no doubts about the religious significance of a football game … the citizen is increasingly hungry for mass meeting opportunities, where one can see or be seen as being part of a community “(p.23).

- “Every football game is a commercial enterprise preceded by a lot of publicity” (p.27).

In conclusion, this survey is a tribute to the innovative ideas that Morris proposed thirty years ago and which remain relevant even if the socio-economic conditions through the football today are different from those of the ’70s. The meaning and function of the goals have remained exactly the same, indeed the importance of winning and the expectations of society and of the fans are strongly exaggerated.

Therefore to study when the goals are marked, beyond its statistical value, it allows us to open a door on the teams’ mentality and their way of play the game.