Monthly Archive for January, 2021

Pre-race athletes’ biases

In the mind of every athlete before a major competition many thoughts arise. They are like salesmen who want you to buy their products, but not always this merchandise is the best to face the competition. Sometimes the athletes manage to buy only the ideas they need while in other occasions they buy the first one that comes to them and let them occupy their mind.

It is certainly not a problem that negative and anxious ideas pop up in the mind, it only becomes one if the athletes choose and magnify them.
Because it is really a matter of choice, there is no imposition. The athletes accept one thought (with its associated feeling ) and allow it to spread through the mind.

Some pre-race biases of athletes:

  1. “Let’s hope everything goes well.”
  2. “Just now I had to find myself in trouble”
  3. “It will be the race of a lifetime”
  4. “I did everything I was supposed to, now let’s see how it goes”
  5. “Hopefully it won’t be like last time”
  6. “The important thing is to start well”
  7. “I don’t have to relax/angry/beating myself up”
  8. “I’m in such good shape that I have to win”
  9. “With this opponent I have to win, otherwise…”
  10. “Important is that at some point I don’t start thinking about the result”

#InauguratioDay

Jennifer Lopez & her ring dazzle during Biden inauguration

Shooting: pandemic psychological aspects

The psychological aspects of a nightmare year. Online in the Italian magazine of the shooting federation. 

Yvonne Dowlen: Figure skaters at 90

90-Year-Old Figure Skater Will Warm Your Heart with Her Amazing Talent

90-Year-Old Figure Skater Will Warm Your Heart with Her Amazing Talent |  Short Film Showcase - YouTube

SEE YOU IN A FEW DAYS

The football leadership style

Transformational leadership is the new leadership model that, starting in the managerial world, has been extended in recent years to the world of sports. Here are the 4 main characteristics and examples of soccer coaches who use it

  1. Idealized influence - Conveys pride to the players, sets a good example to follow, and allows the leader to earn the respect of them in a way that increases the relevance of values. Ferguson: “I always have a lot of pride in seeing younger players develop.” In this way, the job of a coach is like to that of a teacher. Technical skills are formed, a winning mentality and better people are built. This leads to loyalty in young people to the club, as they are aware of the opportunity they have received.
  2. Inspirational Motivation - Conveys a vision of where the team is going motivates the players while inspiring them to take on challenging tasks. Communicates optimism and enthusiasm and stimulates self-efficacy. Guardiola: “I don’t want everyone trying to dribble like Leo Messi, you have to pass the ball, pass it and pass it again… Pass, move well, pass again, pass, and pass… I want every move to be smart, every pass accurate, that’s how we make the difference from the rest of the teams, that’s all I want to see.”
  3. Intellectual Stimulation - Encourages problem solving through new and creative strategies. Klopp: “”Playing unforgettable games, being curious and looking forward to the next game to see what will happen, and that’s what soccer should be about. If you make that attitude your own, you will be 100 percent successful.”
  4. Individualized Consideration - Recognizes the commitment and needs of everyone within the group through empathy, listening, compassion and the coaching process. Mourinho: “There are many ways to become a great manager … but above all I think the most difficult thing is to lead men with different cultures, brains and qualities.” At Inter he granted a vacation to Wesley Sneijder who was exhausted. “All the other coaches only talked about training,” Sneijder said. “He sent me to the beach. So I went to Ibiza for three days. When I came back, I was willing to kill and die for him.”

 

Doping, more tolerance is fair?

Since January 1st of this year, an athlete caught using drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, cannabis) after a control risks a disqualification of only three months, which can be reduced to 30 days if he/she shows regret and participates in a rehabilitation program. For WADA it is important that the drug has not altered the result of the performance.

But shouldn’t sport have an educational role? Wasn’t it supposed to keep young people away from drugs? Wasn’t it supposed to be an example of healthy living and wellness? Wasn’t it supposed to teach how to live frustrations and difficulties in a constructive way? Wasn’t it supposed to teach responsibility and work ethic? Okay, it failed!!!

Master athlete secrets

More and more people over35 continue to play sports at a competitive level and this article published by the Canadian organization that deals with sports and physical activity proposes how coaches should behave with this type of athletes.

The training of masters is a relatively new topic, which has caught medical experts and physiologists off guard because, thinking in the traditional way, they have reached an age in which it is no longer possible to provide absolute level performance. These limits are scientifically demonstrated but the relevant question seems to me to be another.
What are the limits that masters who play sports in a competitive way can reach is not so clear, we know much better the damage caused by sedentariness. It would be interesting to know more about the relationship between genetics, psychology, medicine and physiology. Also to know better the numbers would be useful. If I think of people my age, that is, over 65, we know that in Italy only 10% of men and 8% of women practice sports continuously and that 5% of marathon runners fall into this age group. However, we do not know how many are those who train regularly weekly in a specific sport rather than those who walk. We know that an activity carried out in a balanced way, not wearing out the body is desirable, but what is the difference between these people and those who instead perform competitive activities. Does the secret lie in lifestyle or in genetics, in the wear and tear to which they subjected themselves in previous decades? These are the questions to which we can give answers, in my opinion for now generic or based on social stereotypes.

In the meantime, let’s read this Canadian research that opens a glimpse into the training of masters and the skills of coaches.

Psychology dominates in soccer, but not psychologists

There is a lot of talk about psychology in soccer and yesterday we heard Antonio Conte’s phrases on the anxiety of his players, Fonseca’s phrases on his team’s 20 minute blackout and Andrea Pirlo’s phrases on the winning mentality that Juventus must have. Some time ago Alessandro Costacurta had spoken about the emotional intelligence that should guide the players.

These phrases show how high is the sensitivity of this sport world on psychology, but the question is that they are less than the fingers of one hand those who work in a soccer club. Who deals with it in the team?The coach is the psychologist of the team, on the one hand it is a function that is quite usual for those who play a leadership role in any group, on the other hand it represents an additional degree of responsibility that he does not share with anyone because within the staff there is no sports psychologist.

This absence, obviously, is not of today but it is a constant with some exceptions. Currently, to my knowledge, only Juventus and Verona have one working with players.
It doesn’t get any better in the youth sport and in soccer schools where they are quite common but often with marginal roles.

We are very far from the role that the psychologist plays in the US club. Robert Nideffer and Kenneth Ravizza have worked for years with many American football and baseball teams. The coach behavior evaluation system in youth baseball was introduced over 40 years ago now. In soccer in the UK, Chris Harwood proposed a soccer academy coach development program based on psychological characteristics, which is now used by soccer clubs and is widespread in the English-speaking world.

In our country we are stuck with the experiences of individual professionals, few in number, and in any case the interest of clubs is scarce.