Monthly Archive for December, 2019

Teach psychology to the geeks of Coverciano

When I was teaching Italian footballers world champions, at Coverciano (Firenze) National Technical Football Center.

To cope with our opponent fear

Tackling one’s fears is a fundamental aspect of young athletes training. Talking about the fears that you feel during the competitions permits to understand that they are part of the competitive commitment and not a symptom of  psychological problems. So, we talk to our athletes about their fears, what blocks them during a game, what are the situations determining this emotion.
Often athletes complain of having competed against opponents stronger than themselves, it happens in team sports but also in sport of opposition (from tennis to boxing, from fencing to wrestling). So what do we do? Do we adapt to this fear and give up because in our minds the result seems obvious? I would say that this is what often happens. Maybe even with the participation of coaches who conceive fear as an emotion of  weak person or themselves do not know how to train the competitive confidence in their athletes.

As performance and sport psychologists we have a duty to pass on the idea, to coaches and athletes, that with the daily work we will overcome the fears. So we deal with this issue openly with the athletes asking: “What are your worst fears?” Let them express in relation to the behaviors they show in these moments and then we start with them a work based on awareness, on the redefinition of fear as a step in the psychological development of the athlete and teach them the psychological strategies and techniques, which are however closely related to the type of sport and the characteristics of each athlete.

John Wooden legacy

The legacy of the great coaches is always current and it is important not to lose this memory: Here below the thought of John Wooden

“That’s what really matters: if you make an effort to do the best you can regularly, the results will be about what they should be. Not necessarily what you’d want them to be but they’ll be about what they should; only you will know whether you can do that. And that’s what I wanted from them more than anything else. And as time went by, and I learned more about other things, I think it worked a little better, as far as the results. But I wanted the score of a game to be the byproduct of these other things, and not the end itself. I believe it was one great philosopher who said – no, no — Cervantes. Cervantes said, “The journey is better than the end.” And I like that. I think that it is — it’s getting there. Sometimes when you get there, there’s almost a let down. But it’s the getting there that’s the fun. As a basketball coach at UCLA, I liked our practices to be the journey, and the game would be the end, the end result. I liked to go up and sit in the stands and watch the players play, and see whether I’d done a decent job during the week. There again, it’s getting the players to get that self-satisfaction, in knowing that they’d made the effort to do the best of which they are capable.”

 

Never, ever cede control

You can’t ever lose control—not when you are dealing with 30 top professionals who are all millionaires,” Ferguson told us. “And if any players want to take me on, to challenge my authority and control, I deal with them.” An important part of maintaining high standards across the board was Ferguson’s willingness to respond forcefully when players violated those standards. If they got into trouble, they were fined. And if they stepped out of line in a way that could undermine the team’s performance, Ferguson let them go. In 2005, when longtime captain Roy Keane publicly criticized his teammates, his contract was terminated. The following year, when United’s leading scorer at the time, Ruud van Nistelrooy, became openly disgruntled over several benchings, he was promptly sold to Real Madrid.

Responding forcefully is only part of the story here. Responding quickly, before situations get out of hand, may be equally important to maintaining control.

Ferguson: If the day came that the manager of Manchester United was controlled by the players—in other words, if the players decided how the training should be, what days they should have off, what the discipline should be, and what the tactics should be—then Manchester United would not be the Manchester United we know. Before I came to United, I told myself I wasn’t going to allow anyone to be stronger than I was. Your personality has to be bigger than theirs. That is vital.

There are occasions when you have to ask yourself whether certain players are affecting the dressing-room atmosphere, the performance of the team, and your control of the players and staff. If they are, you have to cut the cord. There is absolutely no other way. It doesn’t matter if the person is the best player in the world. The long-term view of the club is more important than any individual, and the manager has to be the most important one in the club.

Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous. If the coach has no control, he will not last. You have to achieve a position of comprehensive control. Players must recognize that as the manager, you have the status to control events. You can complicate your life in many ways by asking, “Oh, I wonder if the players like me?” If I did my job well, the players would respect me, and that’s all you need.

I tended to act quickly when I saw a player become a negative influence. Some might say I acted impulsively, but I think it was critical that I made up my mind quickly. Why should I have gone to bed with doubts? I would wake up the next day and take the necessary steps to maintain discipline. It’s important to have confidence in yourself to make a decision and to move on once you have. It’s not about looking for adversity or for opportunities to prove power; it’s about having control and being authoritative when issues do arise.”

Mental coaching in sport dance

Psychological skills are one of the key factors of excellent performances and, even in sports dancing, effective performance is provided only if the mind of the dancers is totally focused on their task. It is no coincidence, the tasks performed by people with excessive anxiety are not very effective, precisely because their mind during the competition is full of thoughts not relevant to the performance. In relation to sports dancing, the dancer perceive themselves as too anxious when in the mind they carries out two conflicting jobs at the same time: the first is to worry too much about what will happen if they make some mistake and the second is to stay focused on the program to be done. The greater is the dominance of the first thought, the worse the performance will be. Viceversa, the wider is the dominance of the second thought, the better the performance will be. In fact, it is the mind that guides these actions and training is the phase in which dancers learn and refine the ability to “do the right thing” in the right moments.

Mental coaching allows dancers to find their own personal answers to questions such as these below:

  • Do I compete at the skill level I am capable of?
  • Do I usually dance better in training than in competition?
  • Doubts or insecurities limit my performance?
  • How do I know I’m ready to dance?
  • How do I deal with difficulties with my partner?
  • How do I react to negative performance?
  • How do I concentrate before the race?
  • What is my/our pre-competition mental warm-up?
  • How do I support my partner?
  • Do I manage the final stress in an optimal way?

To organize a training program focused on improving sports performance, it is necessary that the athlete (or a couple) and coach have set shared goals to be achieved with the training they intend to implement. Of course, motor performance is the visible component of sports performance, but behind excellent performances there is much more, because an almost perfect performances require an optimal level of technical mastery, physical fitness and mental control all expressed in actions of varying duration, such as those related to the different specialties of the dance.

It is thus evident that sports performance is a competitive experience in which the individual athlete or the couple are totally involved. It is based on long-term preparation, methodologically founded, specific to the discipline, adapted to the athlete and the couple and centered on the optimal use of their physical, mental and technical skills from the integration of which will emerge the successful performance. Training is the situation allowing the dancers to refine these skills through a process that is characterized by volume, intensity, frequency and duration and can be compared to cooking, where you have to mix different foods, with different functions and proportions to obtain an exceptional dish.

How much it’s easy to be choked by the situations

It often happens that athletes are distracted by some event outside them and without to show the readiness to react immediately. In tennis it can be the wind, in sailing the weather, in opposition sports the determination of the opponents, in football a goal taken more for bad luck than for anything else.

The question I ask myself is: how is it possible that athletes who spend so much time to training, do not think they should spend a significant part also to understanding these eventualities? I know I don’t like the wind, the weather of today, the play of that opponent but why don’t I put myself in a position to find the solutions to be adopted to deal with those situations before the competition starts? Why do athletes so often allow it to happen, without taking immediate responsibility for dealing with them?

It’s nice to take responsibility for our mistakes, but it would be even better to understand and react immediately!

Understand Juventus in 10 points

I want to try to put together the problems that Juventus, as a team, is facing.

  1. It won the last 8 Serie A championships
  2. The Champions League is its black beast.
  3. It’s a team made up largely of champions
  4. Cristiano Ronaldo, the planetary star of football and bearer of formidable economic interests for Juventus SpA, plays it.
  5. It has always had coaches (like Trapattoni, Capello, Lippi, Conte and Allegri) with a concrete attitude, very assertive and aimed at winning starting from strong defenses, a midfield centered to play for the champion of turn (Sivori, Platini, Zidane, Pirlo and so on) until an attack that always lined up the strongest champions
  6. Juventus does not appear determined on the pitch, it does not play with the intensity that instead shows the team which wants to win
  7. Is this a difficulty due to a superficial approach by the players? Do they expect to win with little effort?
  8. Is the coach too focused on wanting to prove that his playing module is the “right” one? While he’s less concerned with how to change what’s happening on the pitch?
  9. The coach seems less determined in (public) communication than his predecessors at Juventus. Does he show this personal trait differently from others, or is this his weakness?
  10. How does he match the main problem that all coaches have: wanting to prove that he is right and at the same time wanting to win. In the first case, his method dominates, while in the second case on the top there is the adaptation to the Club philosophy the team culture and the players characteristics.

Calcio Insieme for young with motor and intellectual disabilities

Calcio insieme 

Un programma di calcio integrato per giovani 

con disabilità motorie e intellettive

ALBERTO CEI,    MICHELE ROSCI,    DANIELA SEPIO

              Università San Raffaele      AS Roma     Accademia di Calcio Integrato

                          Convegno Nazionale Scientifico AIDEE 2019

                                                   La Disprassia

                                     Roma, 17-18 Novembre 2019

Calcio Insieme, è un progetto promosso dalla Fondazione Roma Cares, Onlus legata al più ampio contesto di responsabilità e sostenibilità  sociale della AS Roma e dalla Asd Accademia Calcio Integrato, il cui obiettivo è lo sviluppo di una cultura dell’integrazione e dell’educazione ai valori dello sport attraverso il calcio.

Obiettivi - Studiare gli effetti di un programma di allenamento basato sull’insegnamento del calcio, su giovani con disprassia e con disturbo dello spettro autistico (ASD) promuovendone le competenze psicosociali, motorie e calcistiche. Nessun altro studio è stato condotto su sport di squadra e a nostra conoscenza i dati a disposizione provengono da sport individuali (Bremer et al., 2016; Luiselli e Cei 2017; Rivilis et al., 2011)) se non sono addirittura sconsigliati (https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-children/pe-lessons/).

Metodo - 30 partecipanti sono stati sottoposti a valutazione motoria pre/post. Valutazione psicosociale effettuata con interviste pre/post a genitori e insegnanti e con una valutazione svolta sul campo e continuativa nel tempo da istruttori di calcio e psicologi dello sport.

Risultati – Abilità motorie: differenze significative rispetto alle valutazioni iniziali in 6 prove su 10. Abilità calcio “correre con la palla”: il 39,3% non mostra alcun miglioramento, il 28,6% raggiunge un livello intermedio e il 10,7% un livello medio alto di abilità. Interviste ai genitori e insegnanti: percepiscono un incremento delle abilità psicosociali e motorie. Tale incremento differisce in base alla gravità del disturbo del giovane.

Conclusioni - Si conferma quanto emerso dalle rassegne su persone con ASD per cui la dimensione motoria migliora con percorsi specifici di apprendimento sportivo, ma a ciò si aggiunge che l’organizzazione dell’allenamento in attività di gruppo e individuali favorisce lo sviluppo delle competenze psicosociali. Il ridotto numero di giovani con disprassia richiede che i risultati dovranno essere documentati su una popolazione più ampia. Gli sviluppi futuri del progetto andranno verso una distinzione dei programmi di ricerca e di allenamento, con modelli specifici di intervento per le diverse diagnosi coinvolte.

Per sapere di più su Calcio Insieme:

Cei, A., Franceschi, P., Rosci, M., Sepio, D., e Ruscello, B. (2017). Motor and psychosocial development in children with autism spectrum disorder through soccer. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 48, 485-507.

Cei, A. e Luiselli, J. (a cura di) (2017). Sports, exercise and physical health among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 48, 473-568, Special Issue.

Cei, A., Ruscello, B., e Sepio, D. (2019). Summer camp for children with ASD and parents perception of changes in psycho-social skills. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 50, 162.175.

Cei, A., Sepio, D., e Rosci, M. (in press). Sport, calcio e integrazione: L’esperienza dell’AS Roma con i bambini con disabilità intellettiva. Torgiano: Calzetti e Mariucci.

If you want to know more: send me mail for articles pdf.

Ulteriori informazioni: www.accademiacalciointegrato.com

Personal trainer’s mistakes

As a personal trainer, which of these mistakes do you make most often?

Narcissist - He pleased to talk to the client, he uses the charm he feels gifted to bewitch. He puts a lot of emphasis on speaking and choosing words, often difficult or for experts.

Aggressive -  She expresses herself by assuming that she is right and it is obvious the customer must become a member, because the proposed method is infallible. Speak in sentences and exclamation points

Funny - He is more at ease if he establishes from the beginning a friendly relationship with the customer, uses jokes to arouse hilarity, wants to be sure about the success of the customer by making the proposal elementary

Scientist - She wants to convince with objective data of the results. Not interested in understanding the client’s motives and goals. She is self-confident and proves it with documented arguments

Guru – He believes this system as the Fitness Revolution of which he is the master who introduces the student to a new dimension of life