Monthly Archive for February, 2022

7 basic principles on participation in sport for youth

It is now scientifically documented that early initiation into a particular discipline has limiting effects on the development of boys and girls. A document from the world organization of sport psychologists, the International Society of Sport Psychology, outlines the 7 basic principles on participation in sport leading to continued practice and elite sport.

  1. Initial sport diversification does not prevent participation in elite sport in sports where excellence is achieved after maturation.
  2. Initial diversification of sports is related to a longer sports career and has a positive influence on long-term sports involvement.
  3. Initial diversification of sports allows participation in different contexts that more favorably influence positive youth development.
  4. In these years a high amount of play time builds a strong foundation for intrinsic motivation, this is through involvement in activities that are enjoyable and promote self-regulation.
  5. In these years, a high amount of play time results in the acquisition of a wealth of motor and cognitive experiences that children will take with them into the sport of their primary interest.
  6. At age 13, children should have the choice to specialize in their favorite sport or to continue in sport at the recreational level.
  7. By late adolescence (about age 16), they should have developed the physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and motor skills necessary to invest their efforts in the highly specialized training of a sport.

Starting from these data, the Federations and the Sport Societies should take note that their way of understanding the juvenile sport activity must be totally revised. In fact, young people up to the age of 13 should practice several different sports and only after this period should they choose one. As the International Society of Sport Psychology points out, the benefits of this approach would be for everyone, both those who want to move towards a competitive career and those who choose to continue with a recreational sport.

John Landy is died: after 2 months improved Bannister records

John Landy, an Australian runner who dueled with Roger Bannister to be the first person to run a four-minute mile, has died. He was 91. Landy’s family on Saturday said the former athlete, who also became governor of Australia’s Victoria state, had died at his home in Castlemaine after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

“Dad passed away peacefully on Thursday surrounded by what he loved most: his family and the Australian bush,” Landy’s son Matthew Landy said. “We are going to really miss him. He was not only a wonderful husband, but a wonderful father and he lived a wonderful life.”
Landy took up competitive running to help him get fit to play Australian rules football, only becoming serious about it after making a state track and field squad in 1951.

Later he was to make world headlines as he vied with Englishman Bannister to become the first man to run under four minutes for the mile. Bannister was the first to achieve the feat, in a time of 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds at Oxford, England on May 6, 1954. Less than two months later, in Finland, Landy improved on Bannister’s world record when he ran the mile in 3:57.90.

Those two times preceded the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver where Landy and Bannister, the world’s two fastest milers, met face-to-face in a showdown billed as the Race of the Century. The Englishman won and soon after retired to become a neurologist.

Why the football manager don’t talk scudetto? Is it a superstition mindset?

Coaches do not like to talk about the Scudetto, they may let it be understood that this is the objective, but immediately afterwards they deny this interpretation with jokes or by shifting the attention to the present and, therefore, to the next match. Sport, in this case soccer, is an activity in which one experiences strong emotions, which must be controlled by smoothing out overly enthusiastic expectations, to avoid them becoming an unsustainable burden for the team. It is no coincidence that the recent matches of the teams that lead the league, Napoli, Inter and Milan, are there to prove it. As soon as they realized that they could take advantage of their opponents, a series of draws arrived that have kept the situation tied. With the exception of Lazio-Napoli, in the other matches, including the previous rounds, the team played with great commitment, but not to lose, certainly not to win.

For teams that have not won the championship for a long time, expectations are the killer of winning performances. Because they easily become a multiplier of anxiety generated by the idea of having to win at all costs. This approach, if not managed effectively leads more easily to lose this opportunity. In other words, if the coach started talking openly about the Scudetto, he would create a state of tension in the team, so that it is better to have only the objective of playing the next game. Moreover, there is another benefit related to this way of thinking: you do not risk being disappointed in a deep way. Losing a game is unpleasant, but the next one allows you to erase this mood right away. If you lose the championship, after dreaming about it, you risk falling into depression and developing a negative idea of the team.

As a result, coaches must work to control their own irrationality and that of the team, understanding that in order to win, it is necessary to stay within every single game and nothing more, so that everything remains limited to 90 minutes. In other teams, instead, since the beginning of the championship you can push the accelerator on the final goal: “Let’s win every game so we’ll win the Scudetto”. This latter philosophy is the usual condition of teams that are used to winning and for whom the objective of their participation in a tournament or championship is to win it. Giampiero Boniperti, president of Juventus, used to say this back in the 1970s: “Winning is the only thing that counts”. We should teach teams and individual players to be happy to live such exciting situations as those faced by those who fight for a great result, the Scudetto. We would have less irrational and superstitious behaviors and we would play with the awareness that by taking risks and showing an exceptional motivation we can reach ambitious goals.

Continuous improvement as the winning strategy

Coaching to cope with new challenges consists of personalized training, aimed at perfecting personal skills to the highest level and enabling everyone to be the best they can be. Moving along a path of continuous improvement thus makes it possible to meet the needs of organizations to have individuals who are increasingly effective and ready to respond to change.

Coaching is an approach to personal change that starts with a positive appreciation of professional performance. Phrases such as “Don’t rest on your laurels” or “If you stop, you’re lost” express the concept that every leader has always repeated, namely that only continuous renewal will make it possible to continue to repeat the successes achieved.

In this regard, the parallel between the managerial role and that of the high level athlete is very fitting:

  • They have, for the most part, achieved the goals they set themselves and are therefore considered successful people.
  • They are characterized by the energy and commitment that they put into their work.
  • their skills emerge in a decisive way precisely in situations of greater competitive pressure or greater stress.
  • They believe they can deal with most situations or problems effectively.
  • They take responsibility for the results of their performance.
  • they are perceived as reliable and competent.
  • They are seen by younger people as role models.
  • They derive maximum satisfaction from the continuous renewal of the challenges they face.
  • They are solver-problems
  • They look for contributions from people who can help them achieve their goals.

Do not fall into the trap of believing that these skills are easy to achieve or that these individuals do not experience difficult times. On the contrary, these skills are achieved through continuous work, pursued even on those days that are frustrating and seem to never end. The defeats and setbacks are the hardest and most painful moments to digest, but they must be accepted as part of the game in which one has chosen to participate.

Identifying and developing young potential talents

The Global Challenge
The ability to perform at a high level, make appropriate decisions in the required timeframe, without losing sight of the big picture and long-term goals are necessary and critical skills for today’s managers. According to The Economist, the most significant challenge companies face is identifying, selecting and developing individuals who can work successfully at the middle and senior management levels.

A daunting task
In relation to career and management development planning, firms often find it difficult to find individuals who have the skills required to deliver absolute value under the pressures of today’s marketplace. This is attributable to two main reasons: 1. today’s levels of competitiveness require considerable commitment and dedication from managers, and 2. the skills required to excel in technical and professional roles are very different from those needed to succeed in senior management roles. Therefore, it is not easy to identify and coach individuals who are willing to become intensely involved in the work and who have the willingness and application skills to take on increasingly complex and decision-making roles.

Identifying Young Potential Talents
For the Italian business system, the identification of young potential talents represents a strategic objective to be pursued in order to compete successfully on the global market. The activity carried out in recent years with world-class athletes and leading companies has allowed me to build, in collaboration with Enhanced Performance Systems with Robert Nideffer, a system of identification of young talents based on the use of interviews, questionnaires and observations on the job. The concentration patterns and interpersonal skills required to fill specific roles at different levels of responsibility were thus detected.

Training Young Potential Talents
Having identified the individuals, it is a matter of formulating a course that promotes their skills and significantly reduces the most critical areas. It is the beginning of a real training that involves the achievement of certain professional and behavioral results to be cadenced in agreement with their direct managers. It is a work program organized on an annual basis, during which the young people involved will have to pursue the improvement goals they have set themselves, will be supported and confronted with the consultant who will follow them in this process and evaluated by their direct superiors.

Why a deep breath calms us

It’s common to hear, “Take a deep breath to calm yourself.” But few people really know why this simple behavior can truly result in a mental and physical state of greater relaxation and self-control.

More than 25 years ago, a network of 3,000 interconnected neurons was identified within the brain system that appear to control most aspects of breathing, which has been called the pacemaker of breathing.

Other breakthroughs have been produced by studying the different proteins produced by genes in each cell highlighting at least 65 different types of neurons in the pacemaker, each presumably with a unique responsibility for regulating some aspect of respiration.

Research was published in Nature that showed that if certain cell types were inhibited in mice they lost the ability to sigh, In fact, mice, like people, normally sigh every few minutes, albeit unconsciously.

A subsequent investigation showed that by disabling another type of neuron related to breathing these animals initially continued to maintain the ability to sigh, yawn and breathe normally. However, when they were put under stress (e.g., changing cages) they did not exhibit the usual behaviors of exploration and rapid cancellation but remained calm and clean.

By examining the brain tissue of the mice, it was found that the particular blocked neurons showed direct connections to a portion of the brain that is known to be involved in arousal processes, which in turn sends signals to several other parts of the brain that determine wakefulness, alertness, and sometimes anxious or frantic behaviors. In these mice, this area of the brain remained quiet.

In essence, neurons whose functioning had been inhibited would usually produce a high level of activation to alert them that something potentially worrisome was happening. Deprived of this mechanism, the mice exhibited behaviors oriented toward tranquility.

In the case of people, performing deep breaths would play this calming role by inhibiting the activity of neurons that communicate with the arousal center of the brain.

The need of movement

Movement is a vital necessity, it has been for thousands of years when man had to move to get food to live or to make war, it continues to be a biological and psychological urge for the newborn who grows and develops through the acquisition of freedom of movement. Sedentary, however, we become so much that after the age of 60 years the level of sports practice of Italians falls below 10%. The rise of sport in our culture is not only linked to the passions aroused by the great competitive challenges, from soccer championships to Olympic gold medals, but is also based on certain ideas that are now an integral part of people’s beliefs.

The first refers to the idea that sport is wellness and the second that sport is education for life. Therefore, if we move to feel good, each individual expresses with this activity the right to have opportunities to exercise and do sports. Precisely to meet this need, sport for all has become a way of being that involves millions of people.

So what are the needs to which sport for all provides an answer?

The need for movement - We live in a society that forces us to lead sedentary lives, walking to work or playing in the street are almost unthinkable activities and we must make up for this reduction in spontaneous movement by institutionalizing moments of the day to be devoted exclusively to physical activity / sports. For many individuals it is the discovery that they can actively and positively act on the reactions of their own body and how inextricably linked these are to their psychological condition, in a relationship of mutual influence.

The need for self-realization - In sports for all there are very different needs for self-realization and certainly not all positive. One of the forms of intelligence is kinesthetic and athletes derive a sense of personal development from the acquisition of a high level of mastery in the performance of their activity. Another mode of self-realization related, however, to sport for all is to maintain a satisfactory state of physical and mental well-being. On the other hand, those who use substances harmful to health or abuse drugs to improve their physical appearance or their sporting performance are not acceptable as forms of positive self-actualization.

The need to belong - For many sportsmen and women, the search for social contact through physical activity is one of their main motivations. Sport becomes synonymous with group activity. One activity above all: running; running is an individual sport that takes place in a group, because the need to be with friends or to make new ones and to share with them one’s personal sporting experience is a fundamental psychological dimension that accompanies all phases of human life.

The need for play and adventure - Sport for all means sport for everyone, in which the subjectivity and the needs of the individual prevail over the rules of the traditional competitive model. This is because sport for all is practiced for personal pleasure and the rules of the game are established by the participants. The adventure can become that of the sedentary person who decides for the first time in his life to overcome his resistance and get moving.

The need to live in a natural environment - It ‘s increasingly felt the need to do physical activity immersed in nature, whether it be that of a city park or that of the sea, the mountains or the countryside. The search for a suitable environmental context is part of a physically active lifestyle, in which nature becomes the place par excellence where to move, even if only to walk and chat with friends.

Are you fighting with your body

Wanting to change in order to feel more beautiful and more attractive is a legitimate need of every individual. In everyday life, putting on makeup or shaving are activities carried out by hundreds of millions of people who testify to the desire to take care of themselves. Not doing so would, on the contrary, lead to an unpleasant perception of oneself. Therefore, the search for beauty consists in taking actions to like oneself more, avoiding or at least significantly reducing conflicts with one’s body. What is the limit beyond which the attention to one’s own person becomes excessive if not even pathological? Here is a short list of what not to do:

  1. Do not eat because you want to look like a model
  2. Do not take medications or carry out treatments of any kind to reduce weight outside of medical supervision
  3. Do not abuse drugs or doping substances to improve your physical performance
  4. Do not rely on charlatans, individuals without an appropriate qualification to perform the activity in which they claim to be experts
  5. Do not trust the opinions of those who say they have obtained exceptional results, always verify this information with competent people
  6. Do not kill yourself with physical training just to “make a physical beach”. You can get very hurt and injured.
  7. Dislike yourself because you have a physique that is not perfect and not be aware of your qualities.
  8. Do not go from one diet to another, from one instructor to another, from one doctor to another, or from one idea to another just because you are not happy with the results you have achieved
  9. Don’t do what your best friend/friend did is not necessarily going to work for you or match your needs.
  10. In summary, do not decide with the head of others, listen to them and then reflect, talk to experienced professionals, reflect again and only at the end of this path decide and if you are not convinced: wait, taking more time before deciding.

How too assess our fitness without fear

How to mentally approach the fitness assessment exercises

This part represents the beginning of the physical work and is strongly influenced by your mental attitude. The assessment tests represent the first step of the training program, and the psychological condition with which you approach them determines together with the physical condition the results you will obtain. Therefore, it is necessary to approach this activity with a mental attitude that favors not only the best motor expression of which you are currently capable, but also in an emotionally pleasant way. A negative psychological approach to testing can manifest itself with the following thoughts:

  1. Terror with regard to the tables - the individual with this approach provides a negative, self-evaluating assessment of himself or herself if he or she fails to achieve the intermediate or fair level from the first assessment test.
  2. I will never be able to improve - the individual with this approach does not believe themselves to be able to improve. He or she feels crushed under the weight of an inability that will crush him or her anyway and, therefore, is not even capable of thinking he or she can improve.
  3. I am too old or too fat - this approach differs from the previous attitude because the individual attributes the inability to improve to an objective factor, his age or weight.
  4. I am ashamed of my physique - this idea often limits the action of those who approach an activity before even starting it.

What to do when these concerns are present. One possibility is to focus on the positive aspects that increase the motivation to get involved in the activity. A positive approach is characterized as follows:

  1. Tables represent only indicative values - Tables represent a standardized system that take into account only one individual variable – age – and ignore the others. Is it possible that a bricklayer and a clerk have the same results after the first evaluation test? Of course not!
  2. I build my table - It is good to use the first test to establish what your current base level is and build on this to build better levels of fitness.
  3. I improve with training - It is necessary to be aware that whatever the starting fitness level, physical activity carried out following a program will determine an improvement that will produce well-being.
  4. Exercise is enjoyable and important to me - before training begins it is important that the person considers what they are about to do as important and positive to learn.

The negative sports number among Italian young

To understand why after the pandemic, sports should be funded, let’s remind those who can decide our negative situation.


  1. Nearly 2 million children and teens do not participate in sports or physical activity.
  2. 2017-2018 there are about 5 million 30 thousand children aged 3-17 years who practice one or more sports in their free time (59.4%). 52.5% do it continuously and 6.9% occasionally…
  3. Young people who do not practice any sport or physical activity in their free time number one million 925 thousand, equal to 22.7% of the population aged 3-17.
  4. This quota is particularly high among children aged 3-5 years (46.1%).
  5. North-South: With the exception of Sardinia, in most southern regions and islands, more than one boy in four does not participate in sports or physical activity. Conversely, the highest percentages were found in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (74.5%), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (73.2%), Valle d’Aosta (72.6%) and Liguria (71.6%) (Table 6).
  6. Parental educational qualifications and family economic resources. Children who live in families with the lowest sociocultural status present the highest levels of sedentariness: 32.1% of those who live in families whose parents have at most compulsory schooling compared with 12.9% of those who live in families in which at least one parent has a university degree.
  7. Relationship between children’s and parents’ physical inactivity. Young people whose parents say they do not participate in sports or physical activity have a sedentary lifestyle: 47.9% if both parents are sedentary versus 9.8% if neither parent is sedentary.