Monthly Archive for September, 2020

Different culture, same goal

These are some of the Chinese, Iranian, Maltese, Indian and Italian athletes I have worked with in recent years.

Different mentality and culture but one common goal: to provide excellent performance.

The coaching process

Think about this idea.

The training is:

Feeling comfortable in an uncomfortable situation

Coaching for sport manager

Il coaching per manager dello sport: un’altra moda o una  naturale esigenza, segno dei tempi? 

La maggior parte delle organizzazioni sportive per sopravvivere e competere efficacemente deve riuscire a fare dei veri e propri salti di cambiamento, delle virate che impattano in modo ben più sostanziale sul modo di funzionare dell’organizzazione rispetto ai cambiamenti incrementali dell’ultima parte del XX secolo.

Sono queste le sfide che determinano una domanda crescente di leadership in grado determinare empowerment, di impegnare e di allineare le persone alle strategie, di ispirare e motivare le persone, in grado di realizzare una rete di rapporti fondati sulla fiducia ancor prima di definire la catena formale del comando.

Sono sfide che hanno modificato la natura stessa del lavoro manageriale, rispetto alle quali i manager sono mediamente impreparati e che possono essere vinte investendo sulla personale efficacia di ruolo, cercando di armonizzare e bilanciare la fase della consapevolezza con quella del cambiamento, del che fare, del come fare, e soprattutto del come monitorare i progressi fatti.

Il Leadership Coaching Program è una  sponda concreta a chi vuole influire nel suo specifico contesto sportivo per guidare, condurre oltre che per gestire, in una parola a chi è chiamato ad essere nella sua organizzazione un manager leader e a sua volta coach per il suo team.

Per informazioni scrivi a:

Sport and disability: a weak link

A new sports season begins, still in the midst of the restrictions due to the COVID-19. People with disabilities compared to those with typical development will have more problems following sports and motor activity programs.
However, the number of people with disabilities remains very low as it is good to remember by reporting again a year later the report by Istat del 2019 – Conoscere il mondo della disabilità, persone, relazioni e istituzioni

In summary some data, impressive for their negativity:

  • 9.1% of people with severe limitations practice sports activities (continuously or occasionally)
  • In Italy, out of 10 people with severe limitations, 8 declare to be completely inactive, against 34.1% registered with the population without limitations.
  • Gender differences: 13.7% of men, but only 6.0% of women, while 20.7% of disabled people play sports under 65 years of age, compared to 2.7% of the elderly.


Mistakes are necessary, useful as bread and often also beautiful: for example the tower of Pisa.

Gianni Rodari

100 Gianni Rodari | Nel 2020 si festeggia il centenario di Gianni Rodari

Concentration and self-talk in football

‘According to the attentional style approach originally proposed by Nideffer (1985) and adapted to football by Pain (2016), footballers must be able to broaden or narrow the focus of their attention quickly and appropriately in response to specific match situations. Under conditions of intense psychological pressure footballers have little time to devote to the rational analysis of a situation (e.g., pass the ball rather than shoot). This is because the speed of the game requires them to act fast, formulating thoughts within a few milliseconds. Consequently, high pressure match conditions must be extensively practiced during training until the player’s responses to such situations become fully automated. This is instrumental to allow the players to focus on playing the game without the need of constantly assessing what is best in a specific situation. In practical terms, this means that a decision and therefore a behaviour must be taken and implemented while the ball is in motion and it is in these types of situations that the differences between amateurs and experts is evident. While the amateur typically focuses on the technical execution of the task, the expert is typically more oriented towards the tactical components of his/her actions. The reason is that years of training have prepared the footballer for this situation and the player has mastered the technique which has become fully automatized (Christensen, Sutton, & McIlwain, 2016).  

            A number of studies have compared novices and expert performances (Lum, Enns, & Pratt 2002). In football (Memmert, 2009; Williams, Davids, Burwitz, & Williams, 1993), research has shown that expert players are typically more oriented to observe other players without the ball (environmental focus), whereas less experienced footballers focus their attention on the ball and at teammates to whom they could pass it (skill focus). Furthermore, highly skilled athletes analyse only a few relevant elements of the game for a longer duration compared to amateurs, who instead attempt to process a large amount of information over a restricted period of time. Thus, it seems it is not just the amount of attention or concentration that it is important to achieve top performance (accurate and quick); but rather the fact that concentration must be complemented by the skill to locate and select the appropriate environmental focus (Williams, Davids, & Williams, 1999). In football, this involves the ability to selectively concentrate (as quickly as possible) on the most significant environmental signals; those that allow the player to ‘read the game’, that is, to anticipate the opponents’ actions.’

(Source: Farina e Cei, Concentration and self talk in football, 2019)

Workshop: Football and inclusion.AS Roma experience with the young with intellectual disabilities

Calcio Insieme is a project of psychological, relational and motor empowerment through soccer for young people with intellectual disabilities, with particular reference to autism spectrum disorder.

Since 2015, the Fondazione Roma Cares, an expression of the social responsibility of AS Roma Calcio, and Asd Accademia Calcio Integrato have been organizing annual motor development programs through soccer for children with intellectual disabilities. The surveys conducted have highlighted the constant presence of children during the activities and the satisfaction of their families and the motor, sports and psychosocial benefits derived from these programs.

The aim of this Seminar is to present the results of the research conducted, illustrate the model of intervention, realized for the first time in youth soccer with the collaboration of AS Roma coaches, sports psychologists, speech therapists, doctors and manager for relations with schools and families.

Three golfers’ mental mistakes

Three typical golfers’ mistakes
  1. The ability of golfers to direct their attention to the shot to be executed is often taken for granted. The fitter you are, the easier it is to fall in this trap..
  2. The fact of being physically fit, of performing routine gestures mechanically does not mean being focused, the mind must always be activated, obviously in the right way.
  3. Focusing or recovering a correct attention focus after making a mistake is difficult even for experienced players, how long do they train to do it quickly?


How anxiety is influenced by the type of sport practiced

Whiteley, G. E. (2013). How trait and state anxiety influence athletic performance. (Doctoral dissertation). Department of Psychology, Ohio, Wittenberg University.

Some research has suggested that participants in team sports are more anxious, dependent, and extraverted than individual sport athletes (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990). Additionally, individual athletes have been identified as less alert and more sensitive and creative than team sport participants (Cox, 2007). Conversely, Nicholls, Polman, and Levy (2010) examined several athletes of varying experience levels that participated in an assortment of different sports and found that individual athletes displayed lower self-confidence and higher somatic anxiety levels than team athletes.
Often, sports such as track, golf, and swimming are perceived as individual sports, while sports such as soccer, football, and basketball are viewed as team sports. However, research has been largely unsuccessful in providing an accurate definition of how the distinction is made between individual and team sport participants. For example, a track athlete could be concerned about performing well because his/her score affects the team, rather than wanting to improve his/her own personal statistics. Similarly, a soccer player could desire to perform well to impress friends, parents, or coaches, rather than contribute to a team effort. Essentially, an athlete’s team orientation is dependent on how he/she defines his/her participation in sport.

How do you observe?

Everyone is watching,

some observe the action,

few observe its preparation