Monthly Archive for March, 2022

Psychosocial aspects of walking

Walking is one of the primary human activities. Today it is instead possible to live sitting down passing from one means to another. Therefore, a project that aims to promote walking becomes innovative and very necessary to promote the well-being of citizens.

There are several psychosocial aspects involved in the success of this idea; they concern the perception that citizens have of:

  • how appreciable and rewarding it is to walk in their city,
  • what motivations walking satisfies
  • how much their overall well-being is enhanced.
  • These three aspects should come to constitute a single integrated personal model, allowing one to move easily from the intention to walk (I want to do it) to the action (I am doing it).

Being aware of these three aspects and their interaction becomes, therefore, necessary for the success of this project on walking. Survey data showed that people appreciate walking in the city if:

  1. sees others walking to work or as an expression of physical activity,
  2. there are green, safe and aesthetically pleasing spaces,
  3. the streets are safe,
  4. pedestrian accidents are rare,
  5. there are schools where people walk,
  6. traffic is reduced.

In relation to individual motivations, it has been found that people are oriented to perform an activity that

  • reduces daily stress and improves mood,
  • improves the relationship with one’s own body,
  • takes place in the open air
  • can be done in company,
  • respects individual rhythms and is moderately intense,
  • is simple and accessible.

The third aspect of this approach concerns the promotion of one’s own well-being. This result derives from the interaction between the two aspects described, which refer to the criteria of walkability and motivation. When these meet, the individual shows a higher level of personal satisfaction, which provides him or her with a better perception of well-being.

The history value

There is no silent history. However much they set it on fire, however much they crush it, however much they falsify it, human history refuses to remain silent.

Eduardo Galeano

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Italian soccer lacks a sense of responsibility for a common good

As @RobertoRenga wrote: “I have dedicated my professional life and a book to the National Team. We used to despair over a third place in the World Cup, over a title lost on penalties, over Moreno. I have never lived through such a period.

While today we are rejoicing over the three goals we scored against Turkey without reflecting on the fact that we didn’t score them when we needed to, confirming how much anxiety and superficiality determined those results.

The issue is the lack of a sense of responsibility for a common good, soccer, on the part of those who lead Italian soccer.

An organization with a winning mentality after winning the European Championship would have considered the path taken and the final result in terms of reaching an intermediate stage towards the goal of securing participation in the World Cup. In turn, the latter outcome would have been a further step toward achieving ambitious outcome goals during the World Cup. After that, the eventual positive result in this World Cup would have represented a further step towards the goal of maintaining that standard of results and that of laying the foundation for the development of young players who would have to replace the previous ones.

Therefore, the growth of the national soccer system does not end with the achievement of a result, as it was conceived by the organization and the players themselves, but is a continuous process of improvement that will never end. Now the intellectual paucity of our managers, the limited interest of the Clubs to go beyond their immediate goals and the narrow-mindedness of the technical staff composed only of former players who compare themselves on the basis of a common cultural background (which confirms their conservative stereotypes) and little open to new approaches, are at the basis of this generational failure.

10 problems of the youth sports

  1. Young athletes compete too much and train too little.
  2. Adult programs are imposed on developmental age athletes.
  3. Preparation is centered on short-term goals – winning – rather than long-term goals.
  4. Chronological age rather than biological age is used to plan training and competition.
  5. To a large extent, coaches do not teach youth to correct and self-evaluate themselves.
  6. Coaches in youth sports are underpaid relative to the skills they should possess.
  7. Parents are not educated to think in terms of their child’s long-term development.
  8. Talent identification systems are largely based on physical and technical skills.
  9. There is no integration between technical-tactical learning and cognitive and emotional development of young people
  10. Problem-solving and decision-making skills are rarely coached.


The disaster of Italian soccer was already foreseen

The explanations for the failure of the national soccer team continue. There are at least two types of explanations.

The first one concerns a group of players that, independently from their technical value, have not been able to manage the stress caused by decisive matches. No one can say that this fact was not foreseeable because it has been the main theme of the last matches of the national team. We do not know what has been done to change this kind of attitude. In my opinion, it is nothing, except to provide public opinion with reassuring phrases (we will win the World Cup, the guys as soon as they pass the gates of Coverciano forget all other worries). This responsibility obviously falls on the technical staff as well as the players.

The second, as pointed out by many, regards the failure to develop young players. Among these, Billy Costacurta said that after watching a few matches of the Primavera championship, he realized that “young players do not run anymore, they do not cross and they do not dribble. No one teaches them. Instead of occupying the opponent’s area, they go around the field. So the problem is one of training the players and not only of the subsequent opportunity to play for the first team. But the issue is not new and I will quote some data. Already in 2000, 22 years ago, when I was in charge of the psychological area of the youth sector of the Italian Football Federation, a study by Stefano D’Ottavio showed that 15 year olds did not dribble and did not shoot on goal. Also, in 2013, 10 years ago, at an international soccer conference I had shown data that showed that the top 15-year-old adolescents in Italian soccer were not using any system to mentally prepare for games.

Now many years later, and no longer working in youth soccer, it seems to me that the problem has gotten much worse and has become chronic, as these are issues that were already documented many years before.

Beautiful and useless the Mancini’s words

Mancini’s words are beautiful.

Roberto Mancini breaks the silence.

“Football can sometimes be a ruthless metaphor for life. Last summer we were on the roof of Europe after completing one of the most beautiful feats in the history of the national team. A few hours ago we woke up at one of the most dramatic points. We went from total joy to frustrating disappointment.

It’s really hard to accept, but accepting even defeats in life is part of a healthy path of human and sports growth. Let’s take some time to reflect and understand clearly. The only right move now is to raise our heads and work for the future. Thanks to the public of Palermo for the warmth and thanks to all the fans who have always given us enthusiasm and affection”.

But I would like to know what has been done in these months, for the preparation of the matches with Switzerland and the others, to prevent what happened. I would like to know what objectives were pursued to train the players to play these matches with calm and determination. I would like to know what actions Roberto Mancini and his staff have put in place to stimulate each player to face these matches and the one with North Macedonia in a combative way but at the same time taking individual responsibility.

We will never know. Because in my opinion nothing has been done to fill the mental absences of the players. You can’t hide behind the lack of rallies. Now the world lives online, why wasn’t this system used to reason with the players? Why did we continue with ideological proclamations about the victory of the World Cup, maybe because we think that footballers are so childish that they cannot stand realistic thoughts, while they should be blandished with imaginative thoughts?

Obviously no one thinks that a sport psychologist could have played an important role in this tragedy. We still use systems based on the flair of old glories, who by the fact of having played are enlisted as experts in the management of men.

The defeat of the italian soccer team and its staff

From saying “we will win the World Cup” to the elimination by North Macedonia there is an abyss of difference that should be understood. Today’s interpretations speak of a team lacking in personality, using words such as faded players, slow direction, giving up the goal, useless effort and ramshackle shots. Mancini in his declarations had touched various keys of the imagination. He spoke of the match of a lifetime but also said to stay calm and maintain concentration. The positive effect of these messages on the field has not been seen, it is not enough to stick to the usual phrase that underlines the commitment of the players, because if this collective effort does not result in a goal, it is useless. A team is evaluated on the goals it scores and certainly not on the opportunities built. Rule confirmed in this match, where the Macedonians made one shot, one goal.

The team lacked the attitude of those who want to take advantage of every opportunity in a decisive way. It’s the attitude that in sport is meant by “killer instinct”, which refers to when experienced players play with determination and competitive tenacity. We know that every competition includes the fear of not being able to express themselves at their best, of not being able to match the expectations of the fans and of themselves; this is not the problem. However, it can become so if in the days leading up to the game we don’t take this factor into consideration, asking ourselves as a team, “What if we are too tense, what should we do?” This in my opinion should be the purpose of these pre-game rallies for the Azzurri to provide pills of confidence and determination to use in the game.

Thoughts on Barty’s unexpected retirement

The retirement of Barty, tennis’s number 1 for 112 weeks at only 25 years of age, leads one to reflect on the lives and careers of these champions and the intertwining with their life priorities.

In Italy sport is no more for all

Movement is a vital necessity, it has been for thousands of years when man had to move to get food to live, continues to be a biological and psychological urge for the human being that grows and develops through the acquisition of freedom of movement. The scourge of sedentariness continues to haunt us so much that we have always been among the least active Europeans in terms of sports and, moreover, in the last 20 years the percentage of practitioners has grown only 5.7% while sedentary people have decreased only 2%. The only data that has increased dramatically is the prevalence of overweight and obesity that grows with age, so much so that if excess weight affects 1 in 4 children, the proportion almost doubles among adults, reaching 46.1 percent among people over-18.

Sport is not for everyone. The concept that sports should be declined to the measure of each has not found the diffusion that it would have deserved. It would have been a great change in mentality to put it into practice, to overcome the psychological and social barriers that prevent this type of affirmation. This has not happened, on the contrary, sedentariness has found instead wide diffusion. This is revealed by the latest survey conducted by UISP and SVIMEZ in collaboration with Sport and Health on “The social and health cost of sedentariness”.

Knowledge of the data is the basis of any sports policy that you want to undertake. Unfortunately, these results say, once again, that in the Centre-North people practice sports more frequently. In fact, 42% of adults practice sport on an ongoing basis and 26.8% on an occasional basis. On the contrary, in the Center-South, these figures drop to 27.2% and 33.2%. The worst data concerns young people. Among the under-16s in the South, only 8.6% practice sports at a competitive level, compared to 24.8% of those who live in the Center-North. On the other hand, those who play sports on an ongoing basis but without competing are 45.3% in the South and 53.7% in the North. Therefore, in the South, 54% of young people play sports, while in the North they make up 78%. In the South, about a quarter of young people under 16 participate in sports on an occasional basis, while this figure corresponds to only 7% of those residing in the North. Moreover, the rate of sedentary children and young people in the South is 21.9%, compared with 14.4% in the Centre-North.

Finally, other ISTAT data relate well to these new results, highlighting that the educational qualification and sedentariness of parents and economic resources of the family are valid predictors of the sports involvement of young people. Young people who live in families with lower socio-cultural 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. Young people whose parents state that they do not practice sports and physical activity have a sedentary lifestyle to the extent of 47.9% if both parents are sedentary versus 9.8% if both parents lead a physically active lifestyle.

We hope that the approval of the Senate on the constitutional bill that includes the right of access to sport as a tool for the development of the person can determine a process of building programmatic actions to spread a physically active lifestyle in the country.