51 students to Oxbridge from one state school

What if they are enthusiastic teachers who are passionate about motivating their students to do their best?

The answer could be positive if you consider admitting 51 students to a totally free English school in one of London’s poorest neighbourhoods. In fact, in 2014 only 1 had managed to enter Oxbridge, an acronym of the two best universities in England, while this year they have become 51. Many of them are children of immigrants and belong to ethnic minorities.

Mr Sam Dobin, director of the school’s sixth form, puts the still-unusual success down to teachers working to “actively dispel the myth that you have to look or speak a certain way to get a place at Oxford or Cambridge” among their diverse student body.

He said: “Oxbridge simply want the students with the most academic ability and potential, and we instil within our students the confidence to make applications knowing that their talent and hard work will be rewarded.”

This data confirms, moreover, a trend that has brought 69% of students enrolled in Oxford from public and free schools that can be accessed on the basis of results, while only 31% come from pupils in expensive private schools, which have an annual cost of about 35 thousand euros.
Brampton Manor Academy in East Ham opened its sixth form in 2012 with the specific aim of transforming progression rates to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities

When Muhammad Ali knocked out racism

On what would have been the day of his 78th birthday we relive a memory of the legendary American boxer through one of the most significant episodes of his life.

Immagine correlata

English football promotes the mental health

English football moves to promote a national campaign to promote mental health.

(L to R) Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford

In the stadiums, before the game there will be showed a video in which Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s manager, will admit that his family “stored a lot of emotions, feelings and sometimes anxiety”, and his former teammate Joe Cole will describe how he practiced yoga when he felt anxious, “centering himself and getting back to the zone.”

Many footballers have developed a desire to help others like Tottenham’s Dele Alli: “There are so many people struggling with their mental health, so I want to help people understand that they don’t have to face it alone.”

Team supporters in particular are mostly men, around 15 million, who with great difficulty admit they have mental problems and usually are not committed to dealing with them. The message of the players easily will reach a very large audience and will be of great help because it comes from other men, who are part of the teams whose fans they are.

Similar statements come from managers like Slaven Bilić, West Bromwich Albion, who said that without a good mental condition he would not be able to transmit energy and ideas to his players. And Rosella Ayane, a Tottenham player, explains: “Turning off your mobile phone, Twitter and Instagram allows you to live fully your time  and only in this way you make a big difference.”

The Mauthausen midfielder

There are extraordinarily authentic stories, which time consigns to oblivion, until, in the meanders of memory, someone finds the courage to sink to bring them back to light. This is the case of the journalist Francesco Veltri from Cosenza, Italy, who, with a book, intense and exciting, entitled Il mediano di Mauthausen published by Darkos (a publishing house that is part of the prestigious Gruppo Rusconi), tells about the footballer Vittorio Staccione.

But Staccione is no ordinary footballer, not because he has played in Cosenza, as well as Torino and Fiorentina. This little great champion, in fact, just thirty-one years old leaves football so as not to bow his head in front of the horror that was devastating the world. A courageous choice that, unfortunately, will prove fatal for his life because in a short time it will lead him to the terrible extermination camp of Mauthausen where he will be killed by the Nazis.


The course of days, as a boy, changed positively on a cold winter afternoon in 1915. He had just turned eleven and was playing football with his friends in a bumpy field in the working-class district in Turin, when he was noticed by Enrico Bachmann, the legendary captain of Torino. In just a few years, that humble little man, who was a midfielder and sacrificed his role, became an important part of his city’s team, until he won the Scudetto together with champions like Libonatti, Baloncieri and Rossetti.

But Vittorio also alternated his passion for football with his passion for politics. The social struggles within the factories and the growing poverty led the young and pure Turin footballer not to bow his head in the face of all kinds of abuse, especially in the years when fascism began to become increasingly present in our country. In 1927 he was hired by the ambitious Fiorentina of Marquis Luigi Ridolfi, a close friend of the Duce’s, who was loved by the fans, but this did not prevent him from suffering countless intimidations. In 1931, and for three seasons, he played in the red and blue Cosenza football jersey.

The book written by Francesco Veltri is a passionate journalistic investigation that is mixed with history, a publication enriched by unpublished photos provided by the Staccione family to honor the great Vittorio with the collaboration, in particular, of Federico Molinaro, great-grandson of the footballer. Eraldo Pecci, who wrote the preface of the book, also pays tribute to him








How to manage the momentum according Maria Sharapova e Serena Williams

Some rules to achieve the excellence from two top tennis players.

Maria Sharapova

When you are in a competitive situation and you’re down, what do you do or say to yourself?
“I take my time in between in my service games. I walk to the baseline. I move my strings around. I do a little pep talk, and it’s very automatic. I think it’s more of putting my eyes onto my strings and having this repetition that it doesn’t matter if I won the point or lost the point. I’m on this this river that is going to get to where it’s going no matter what rock is in the way, no matter what storm is on the way. The water is, ultimately, going to go down the river. It’s a safe place for me because in tennis momentum changes so much, just like in life. One second, everything is positive, and you get bad news. You go from a great day to wow. I see those strings, and I see my fingers playing with those strings, and I think of being level headed and being not overly excited, not down. But being in this medium frame of mind.”

Serena Williams

My game is my mental toughness - “Just not only to be able to play, to win, but to be able to come back when I’m down. Both on the court and after tough losses, just to continue to come back and continue to fight, it’s something that takes a lot of tenacity.”

Practice under pressure -  Williams believes tennis is “70 percent mental,”, for this reason she tries to replicate match situations during the sessions. For instance: down 15 to 30 on her second serve. Competitive simulation is a  very efficient coaching method. P

Stay in the moment - many tennis players choke under pressure and tend to unravel when they are behind. It’s important stay there, using our mental strength to win. You reach this goal living the moment: “Even if you’re going through something in life, you can’t rush through it instantly. Take it one moment at a time. It’s the same on a tennis court. You have to take it one point at a time.” Live the here and now.

Forget the mistakes - “Another thing that makes me play poorly is if I’m thinking too much about my last match. I might have won it, but not happy with how I won it,” says Williams. “If you get really upset at mistakes, the best advice I’ve ever been given is to forget about it. You can’t rewind time, you can’t take back that mistake, but you can make it better and not do it in the future.”



The table tennis winning mindset

Born in Huangshi City in China; 54 year old Chen Bin is the personal coach of Ding Ning,  Olympic and World champion. Here are his main rules to be a winning tabe tennis player.

Learn from the mistakes - Ding Ning was beaten by Feng Tianwei in the contest that witnessed a three-one win for Singapore. Consistently, Ding Ning has stated the defeat in Moscow was a major reason why she became World champion in Rotterdam the following year.

Toughness - “It’s definitely her perseverance, her stable performance and she’s also very bold in trying out new skills & techniques”, stressed Chen Bin.

“The level of the players differs a lot, the Asian and the European teams are stronger, while African and Oceania team are weaker. The main difference lies on the players’ understanding of the sport and the ball itself, the weaker players know how to play, but they don’t know how to play it well, table tennis is not just about hitting the ball back on the table, you have to return the ball back, you have to have a feel of how the ball is coming towards you, and visualize how your ball is going to end up on your opponent’s table when you hit it back.”

Pre-match preparation - “I gave them a talk on pre-match preparations, which I think is an important part of competition”, said Chen Bin. “Before a match, the coach and the player have to be well prepared, anything can happen; the players must know how to deal with different situations that could happen. You must think of “Plan B” or “Plan C” to help your athlete to be mentally prepared for all kinds of scenarios and difficulties on court.”

Mindset - There is more than technical preparation prior to a match.

“Mind set is vital, the pre-match preparations and the players’ mentality in different situations on court. the European players, they have good physique and good strength, but they don’t know how to release that power in their play.”

Interview With Chen Bin – Coaches Grow Together With Their Players

Ibrahimovic: the True Grit

What do you to say at this man. Ibrahimovic is the grit in person. He’s the True Grit, he’s the John Wayne of Milan. The young players have a chance to become adult players under his guidance.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the second goal in their away victory over Cagliari.

Learn not only from sports and from the current experts

Leopold Auer was an Hungarian  conductor and violinist, he lived between 1845 and 1930, and he was the mentor of the best musician of that period. He teached that the learning is not a question of hours, it needs always the integration between time devoted to the practice and concentration.

“The right kind of practice is not a matter of hours. Practice should represent the utmost concentration of brain. It is better to play with concentration for two hours than to practice eight without. I should say that four hours would be a good maximum practice time. I never ask more of my pupils and that during each minute of the time the brain be as active as the fingers.”

Leopold Auer.jpg

To change?

If the only permanent thing in life is change, we must become not too attached to our habits, which we should first abandon.

The football team mindset

Per mentalità s’intende il modo di concepire, intendere, giudicare avvenimenti individuali e sociali. La partita di calcio è una tipica situazione di confronto sociale fra due squadre, ognuna delle quali vuole imporre il proprio modo di giocare attraverso le azioni svolte dai calciatori durante l’arco dei 90 minuti.

Conoscere la mentalità di una squadra permette di prevedere come reagirà di fronte a situazioni emotivamente intense, come ad esempio subire un goal decisivo negli ultimi minuti di una partita. Permette inoltre di sapere quali sono i giocatori che reagiranno meglio o peggio in situazioni imprevedibili.

La mentalità di una squadra è determinata da un insieme di fattori tra loro interagenti che comprendono:

  • La qualità organizzativa della Società di calcio – Il sistema organizzativo consiste fra l’altro nell’insieme delle strategie  e strutture organizzative, nel sistema decisionale, nel sistema di programmazione e controllo, nello stile di leadership, cultura, clima e valori. Migliore è l’efficienza e l’efficacia della qualità organizzativa, migliore sarà la capacità della squadra e dell’allenatore a giocare con una mentalità vincente.
  • La qualità dell’immagine della Società di calcio – Si riferisce alla soddisfazione dei bisogni di appartenenza e di identificazione della squadra e dei suoi stakeholder. Questa dimensione riguarda in prevalenza, l’autorevolezza della leadership societaria, la sua credibilità, la personalità e la competenza professionale delle sue figure chiave, i risultati e il prestigio conquistati nel tempo.
  • Gli obiettivi della squadra -  Si riferisce agli obiettivi della stagione in corso (ad esempio, vincere il campionato, arrivare tra le prime quattro, restare in Serie A) sono obiettivi di risultato. Vi sono poi  anche  obiettivi di  prestazione (raggiungere un determinato standard prestativo individuale e collettivo) e obiettivi di processo (centrati sul miglioramento di singole abilità tecnico-tattiche, psicologiche e fisiche). Riguarda, inoltre, lo sviluppo di una mentalità di squadra che sia in grado di darsi in campo nuovi obiettivi in relazione alle diverse fasi di gioco di una partita. Comporta il sapere sfruttare a proprio favore i momenti positivi di un match, così come richiede la presenza di un piano pre-ordinato per affrontare le fasi di gioco negative o di maggior tensione agonistica.
  • La qualità tecnico-tattica della squadra – Si riferisce al bagaglio di competenze calcistiche e alla loro integrazione nel gioco di squadra, che determina molto di più della semplice somma delle qualità dei singoli calciatori. Maggiore è la competenza tecnico-tattica della squadra associata a un ottimale grado di preparazione fisica, maggiore è la probabilità che la squadra sappia affrontare ogni fase della partita con la mentalità vincente.
  • L’intelligenza collettiva – Si esprime attraverso prestazioni che sono superiori a quelle che ognuno potrebbe fornire singolarmente.  La qualità tecnico-tattica è parte dell’intelligenza collettiva; la coesione e la convinzione si riferiscono ai suoi aspetti relazionali e cognitivo-sociali. Quindi la domanda che bisogna porsi è la seguente: “in che modo i calciatori devono interagire in campo allo scopo di mostrarsi uniti e fiduciosi delle proprie competenze di squadra?” Napoleone era solito dire di vincere le sue battaglie anche con i sogni dei suoi soldati, questa frase è una metafora efficace di cosa si debba intendere per intelligenza collettiva.
  • L’orientamento motivazionale dei calciatori – I calciatori e la squadra nel suo complesso devono manifestare una mentalità orientata alla crescita e non pensare, invece, che la mentalità vincente sia qualcosa di data una volta per tutte e che non debba essere allenata in modo continuativo. La tabella 3 mostra le differenze fra chi ritiene che la mentalità sia un’entità statica e scarsamente modificabile e quelli che invece ritengono che la mentalità può essere ulteriormente sviluppata quale che sia il livello a cui si gioca. Un esempio di applicazione al calcio di questo concetto può riguardare l’acquisto di un calciatore. Generalmente questo avviene sulla base del bagaglio tecnico e tattico, si ritiene così che un giocatore che fornisce ottime prestazioni in una squadra debba per forza farlo anche in un’altra poiché la sua abilità lo garantisce. In molti casi questo però non è avvenuto e ciò è probabilmente da attribuire a questa idea statica della mentalità che non tiene conto delle diverse condizioni che vi sono tra un club e l’altro e come queste influenzano l’adattamento del calciatore e di conseguenza la qualità delle sue prestazioni.


Diagramma della mentalità (modificato da Dweck, 2009)

Mentalità  statica

Mentalità orientata alla crescita

Intelligenza statica Intelligenza può essere sviluppata
Evita le sfide Affronta le sfide
Reagisce agli ostacoli in modo difensivo o rinuncia Persiste di fronte alle difficoltà e agli insuccessi
L’impegno è poco considerato L’impegno è percepito come il mezzo per padroneggiare
Ignora le valutazioni negative costruttive Impara dalle valutazioni negative costruttive
E’ spaventato dai successi degli altri Impara dai successi degli altri
Raggiunge rapidamente uno standard prestativo ma è inferiore al suo potenziale Raggiunge elevati livelli di successo
  • Lo stile di leadership dell’allenatore – Ogni squadra ha un leader che la guida ed è responsabile delle prestazioni che vengono fornite, questo leader è l’allenatore. Non deve sottrarsi a questo ruolo che è di guida nei confronti del gruppo, di distributore di ruoli e di compiti da svolgere con precisione  e fermezza. E’ il principale motivatore della squadra, deve conoscerne la psicologia così da trarne fuori il meglio che sia possibile.