Monthly Archive for November, 2020

The mood influences the performance of soccer teams

Mood is certainly one of the psychological aspects that can block or make a performance flourish. In soccer the issue is more complex, it is not an individual sport where you only have to control only yourself. The negative mood can become a kind of virus that spreads creating insecurity in the game even in professional footballers. Ronaldo’s orphaned Juve seems to lose the way to victory and conviction, Napoli maybe pushed by Maradona’s memory manages to play and win an excellent match against Roma, Inter immediately recovers from the defeat in Champions and beats a team that is playing an excellent championship (Sassuolo), Lazio after a convincing match in Europe also loses in the league.

These ups and downs are attributable to various causes, one of which I am convinced is psychological and concerns the mood management of the team and individual players. Being in a good mood is a contagious emotion that can ward off fatigue and insecurity and improve collaboration and competitiveness.

How good are these teams in the mood with their sudden ups and downs? How much does the coach care about this psychological dimension? Obviously we do not know because in Italy the coaches do not consider the psychologist as part of their staff.

Where for example in the United Kingdom this dimension is considered these are the considerations on this issue.

  • Understand what is the positive mood of the team
  • Develop a set of strategies to encourage this type of mood
  • Appreciate that the coach and the staff are role models showing this kind of emotions
  • Balancing demands for optimal performance with the need for effective relationships
  • Recruit players with a positive character and stable mood as they are selected for their talent
  • Be aware of mood reducing factors
  • Act quickly to defeat the negative potential.

Maradona: soccer goes to heaven

Biografia di Diego Armando Maradona

Diego Maradona 1960-2020

Pelè: “One day I hope we will play ball together in the sky”.

Book review: Lo sport domani

Flavio Tranquillo

Lo sport domani

Costruire una nuova cultura

Add Editore  p.137,  2020

Questo libro parla di quale sia la cultura dello sport dominante nel nostro paese e soprattutto ne mette in luce le criticità che derivano non tanto da limiti organizzativi ma piuttosto dal modo di pensare lo sport. Forse la sintesi più recente di questo tipo di mindset si è evidenziata nel Rapporto per il rilancio “Italia 2020-2022- del gruppo coordinato da Vittorio Colao, nel quale Tranquillo evidenzia che non è mai nominata la parola sport. Ci vorrebbe una discontinuità politico-istituzionale, una rigenerazione complessiva continua l’Autore, che metta in luce come il binomio Sport-Cultura non sia nel nostro paese così accettato e tantomeno promosso.

Il filo conduttore del libro è centrato intorno a questa idea e viene svolta una critica costruttiva e precisa sullo sport concepito solo secondo parametri economici e del conseguimento della vittoria. Se questa è l’impostazione, Tranquillo ci ricorda che nel calcio l’1% dei tesserati (1.000.000) è un giocatore professionista (12.000). Quindi, se ciò che conta è solo il parametro economico, un atleta può rappresentare un esempio positivo per i giovani? In altre parole si ritorna sempre alla stessa domanda in che modo il calcio, come ogni altro sport, può produrre valore sociale e qual è il ruolo delle star dello sport?

Il libro pone altre questioni irrisolte come quello del finto dilettanstimo, degli atleti che a fine a carriera si trovano senza educazione e risparmi e nessuno aiuto predisposto dalle loro organizzazioni sportive. Per non parlare delle nostre scuole superiori che non sono come quelle americane in cui si può praticare sport all’interno delle stesse strutture  scolastiche. E’ un libro di denuncia dell’appiattimento dello sport italiano su strategie solo pensate per la realizzazione di obiettivi a breve termine ma priva di una visione strategica orientata nel tempo.

In conclusione, Tranquillo citando Piero Calamandrei e David Hollander propone che una via di uscita consista nel considerare lo sport come una metafora della vita e che solo con questo approccio sarà possibile sviluppare una cultura dello sport propositiva nei confronti dei valori base espressi dalla nostra società.

Mindset and focus

We need to integrate these two aspects.




The attentional assessment

Analyzing the reasons why even very expert individuals, such as athletes of top level do not achieve the goals they set or under stress do not provide the performances they are capable of, the relevance of the human factor takes over from the technical and professional factor.

What do the best managers and leaders have in common with elite athletes and special army corps?

The ability to pay attention, not to get distracted and stay focused on one task at a time.

So knowing how to organize your attention is one of the critical components of success.

From the analysis of the attentive dimensions and the characteristics of the decision making processes you get information about:

  1. Immediate perception of the environment - It shows how well an individual is able to understand what is happening or is going to happen in the working environment and to what extent he/she is aware of the moods of the people he/she comes into contact with.
  2. Ability to analyze and to have strategic thinking - It is highlighted how much an individual is considered able to organize his/her own activity and that of the collaborators, if the person assigns responsibilities to the collaborators and if he/she regularly and promptly verifies the results in progress and in the end.
  3. Ability to effectively pursue one’s own tasks - It is highlighted how much an individual is considered able to accurately pursue the objectives that have been set or that have been provided to him/her by the company, acting in the manner foreseen.
For further information write to the blog email.

Improve your self-control through breathing

Results at any price?

Try not to be among those who neglect the lives of athletes and do not care about their well-being.

Aware of our preconceived thoughts, delete them

Every day we try to explain our performances and what is happening around us. This trend is particularly perceived when we have to explain unexpected events to ourselves.

The pandemic we are experiencing this year is an event that falls in this last situation. One wonders how it was possible for this virus to spread. Who could have ever imagined that we were living in this situation as it was like the cholera and plague epidemics of the past centuries, and that science and our health care systems were completely unprepared.

In these times, we too often fall into providing explanations based on our own prejudices. We told ourselves that it was the fault of the Chinese and that the virus had been built in the laboratory or that it was the fault of the migrants who spread it because they are dirty. Others have chosen different explanations, the deniers have chosen the defense mechanism that is called denial. Still others thought that the virus was a justification for governments to control people’s lives, so they also rebelled against the rules of their governments, so they did not put on the mask and did not wash their hands.

How to change? How to accept reality? It would take a period of re-attributive training to learn how to shift the origin of our explanations from a superficial, selfish and prejudiced interpretation to one based on reality analysis, on data and not on subjective impression.

We would need this approach to regain control of our emotions, bringing our attention to those favoring the acquisition of self-control and not based on fear but on the responsibility that everyone has towards everyone.

Breathing coaching

These are the topics of my workshop titled:
Development of psychological skills in high potential athletes: 
breathing as a key tool to build mental skills programs
Online European Conference Psychology of Elite Sports Performance - November 21-22, 2020, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Self-control
  • The breathing: a long story
  • Breathing and human basic motivation
  • Breathing during the competitions
  • Breathing and cognitive processes
  • How to improve self-control through breathing
  • The breathing into the training programs
  • The practice