Teams and athletes to excel need the greatest opponents

Do you believe in this concept?

It is why  good team and players good enough to stand alone, stand straighter and more vividly with a good opponent: the Yankees with the Dodgers, Borg with McEnroe, Ali and Frazier, names permanently linked because in fact they needed each other. After days and weeks of Red Sox and White Sox, Wepners, Nastases, and Mildenbergers, each needed a good opponent to make him best, to make him memorable, to give him cherished lifelong feelings. So, when a career ends, when the passion of the game subsides, towards a good opponent you feel only gratitude. 

(Ken Dryden, The Game, 1983, p. 127)

The hare and the tortoise story

Don’t win the best. Win who is tough and respect the opponent.

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Some books suggested to start to know the sport and performance psychology

During the webinar I did for the register of the psychology of Lombardia Region, Italy, the colleagues asked what to read in relation to the sport and performance psychology. At that moment I suggested this reading.

R.S. Weinberg e D. Gould, Foundations of sport and exercise psychology, 2015, 6° edizione

For me it’s the best first book to read in this discipline.

A. Higham, C. Harwood e A. Cale, Momentum in soccer, 2005, Coachwise Ltd

Its’ an introduction to the soccer psychology focused on the momentum concept and the psychological skills to play.

C. Harwwod e E. Anderson, Coaching psychological skills in youth football

Its’ an applied book to introduce the psychology to the development of the skills requested in youth soccer and used by the coaches during the coaching sessions.

P.C. Terry et al., (a cura di), Secrets of Asian sport psychology, University of Souther Queensland

Each chapter of this book is dedicated to one sport practiced at top level in in one Asia country and how the experts in mental coaching have developed their programs with this athletes. It’s a free e-book:

E’ un libro in cui ogni capitolo (sono più di 20) è dedicato a uno specifico sport di una nazione dell’Asia e come gli esperti di mental coaching lo affrontano con gli atleti top level di quella nazione. E’ un ebook che si può scaricare gratuitamente da:

A. Duckworth, Grit, 2017, Penguin Random House

Book dedicated to the grit concept, so relevant to have success. Excellent book, very clear and well documented.

Physically active older adults live longer

Physically active older adults live longer with lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, and osteoporosis. If that’s not enough incentive, they also enjoy more independence, balance, flexibility, cognitive function and improved self-esteem.

In order to reap these benefits, people over the age of 65 need at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous- physical activity per week according to Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

Looking for ways to incorporate more heart-pumping activity into your week?  Here are some tips to keep you moving:

1) INCORPORATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO YOUR REGULAR ROUTINE

Bending, squatting, stretching and lifting are all part of everyday activities such as gardening, grocery shopping, and even putting on your socks. Up the ante by sneaking in some resistance-type moves like doing some heavier digging or lifting of grocery bags. Even something as simple as berry picking or walking can strengthen your bones and muscles.

2) KEEP A MOVEMENT LOG

Those who track, stay on track! Noting your activity daily can really help you reach your fitness  goals. Use a wearable tracker, an app on your smartphone, or simply mark your progress in a calendar.

3) GET IN THE WATER

Water supports your body weight and adds resistance. Swim laps or look out for a local aquafit class which can help you build endurance and muscle strength. Many pools have accessible ramps making it easier to get in and out. The warmth of the water can also soothe aching joints.

4) EMBARK ON AN 8-WEEK WALKING PROGRAM

Walking is one of the safest and most enjoyable forms of fitness, not to mention it’s free! Aim for 15 min to start then gradually work your way up to 30 minutes per day. This is a great option for people with arthritis because it doesn’t put a lot of strain on the joints.

5) EXPLORE NEW ACTIVITIES

You’ve probably heard of tai chi (great for building strength and balance!), but have you ever tried geocaching? Participants use a GPS to find containers called geocaches. They’re hidden all over the world so you can participate anywhere. If that doesn’t appeal, go dancing, do yoga, or play pickleball. Trying something new will help keep you motivated and inspired!

6) PLAY IT SAFE

Whatever activity you choose, make sure to start slow, wear appropriate footwear, stay hydrated, and always check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity program.

Nordic walking improves elderly’ s quality of life

The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize and analyze the effects of Nordic Walking on physical fitness, body composition, and quality of life in the elderly.

Fifteen studies were identified; age of participants ranged from 60 to 92 years old. Comparing with a sedentary group, effect sizes showed that Nordic Walking was able to improve dynamic balance, functional balance, muscle strength of upper and lower limbs, aerobic capacity, cardiovascular outcomes, body composition, and lipid profile.

Comparing with a walking (alone) training, effect sizes showed that Nordic Walking improved the dynamic balance, flexibility of the lower body, and quality of life. Walking training was more effective in improving aerobic capacity. Comparing Nordic Walking with resistance training, effect sizes showed that Nordic Walking improved dynamic balance, muscle strength of the lower body, aerobic capacity, flexibility of the upper body, and the quality of life.

Nordic Walking can be considered as a safe and accessible form of aerobic exercise for the elderly population, able to improve cardiovascular outcomes, muscle strength, balance ability, and quality of life.

Nordic Walking Can Be Incorporated in the Exercise Prescription to Increase Aerobic Capacity, Strength, and Quality of Life for Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Valentina Bullo, Stefano Gobbo, Barbara Vendramin, Federica Duregon, Lucia Cugusi, Andrea Di Blasio, Danilo Sales Bocalini, M Letizia Zaccaria, Marco Bergamin, Andrea Ermolao

Rejuvenation Res. 2018, 21(2), 141-161.

The role of the inspirational talks

The role of the inspirational talks and the relevance to use the metaphors is well explained in this article, starting form the Churchill’s talk to the nation during the 2° world war.

British Wallpapers. Flickr

Sport changes the individual and community perception about disability

“Sport has the ability to change the perception

of the community about people with a disability

and, more importantly,

how people with a disability think and feel about themselves.”

Richard Nicholson, nine-time Paralimpic gold medallist

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Carlo Ancelotti’s work philosophy

Carlo Ancelotti is the new coach of Napoli, his goals and how he will work are  already fairly well described in his philosophy of work and which differentiates it significantly from Sarri:

  • Educate the team to pursue victory through a creative and offensive game
  • Encourage the development of a positive work environment
  • Build a strong team spirit by stimulating a large capacity for sacrifice and mutual commitment
  • Support the individual sense of responsibility (assessed on the basis of the actions and behaviors)
  • Protect the tradition and the principles of the club
  • Work to give continuity to the successes of the club
  • Compete for all important trophies
  • Build a clear identity and a style of play which take account of  the club’s tradition
  • Build good relationships between the various work teams
(by Carlo Ancelotti, Il mio albero di Natale)

Philip Roth

Everybody has a hard job. All real work is hard. My work happened also to be undoable. Morning after morning for 50 years, I faced the next page defenceless and unprepared. Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation. If I did not do it, I would die. So I did it. Obstinacy, not talent, saved my life.

It’s never enough the time used to learn from the mistakes

In sports as in every other area of our lives we make mistakes. The perfect performance does not exist. Each performance is a mixture of skills and mistakes; usually win who commits fewer mistakes.

The mistakes are everywhere and they are an important part of human performance. We can’t hide from our mistakes. In addition, the result of the mistakes are always technical aspects, we see the athletes who are accelerating or slowing too much their actions, which miss a shot, too stiff to move, pulling the serve ball in the net and so on. Otherwise the cause of these mistakes can be attributed to different aspects. In fact, the mistake can be caused by different factors, going from technical incompetence to difficulties to manage the competitive stress, lack of concentration or because the athletes are too tired.

“When people feel stressed, of course, they no longer feel safe and are further inhibited in practicing new ways of acting. Instead they become defensive, relying on their most familiar habits … For all these reasons, learning … works best under conditions where people feel safe – but not so relaxed that they lose motivation. There’s an optimal level of brain arousal that helps people to learn, the state which both motivation and interest are high. A sense of psychological safety creates an atmosphere in which people can then experiment with little risk of embarrassing or fear of the consequences of failure” (From: D. Goleman, R. Boyatzis e A.MkKeee, Primal Leadership).

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