Monthly Archive for June, 2022

Learn to win sometimes it seems impossible

We learn a lot from athletes, especially when what we talk about with them does not seem to have an immediate positive result. Unfortunately or fortunately, our work as sports psychologists has a long-term effect and rarely an immediate one. Instead, there is often a demand for immediate help that is thought to be satisfied if there is a winning outcome.

And it is difficult to accept that the result of our intervention corresponds to long-term work and results in visible improvements, but which at first glance do not seem as radical as we too often hope.

It is no accident that we talk about mental training otherwise we would be talking about magical practices that transform people in short order. This approach is not easy to accept but this is the road that can lead to success, with particular reference to those sports that do not have a translation of international success in our country.

The work is long and often also frustrating because there are many obstacles starting with injuries and the habit of not fighting the best in the decisive moments of competition. But this is the way to go, to fight smartly and never stop having faith that the impossible will thus become achievable.


Free Bambino Che Gioca A Calcio Stock Photo

The best activity is one you like to do  (Photo by Lukas)

From hunters-gatherers to sedentary

Source: O’Keefe JH, Vogel R, Lavie CJ, Cordain L. Achieving hunter-gatherer fitness in the 21(st) century: back to the future. Am J Med. 2010; 123(12):1082-6.

The systematic displacement from a very physically active lifestyle in our natural outdoor environment to a sedentary, indoor lifestyle is at the root of many of the ubiquitous chronic diseases that are endemic in our culture. The intuitive solution is to simulate the indigenous human activity pattern to the extent that this is possible and practically achievable. Suggestions for exercise mode, duration, intensity, and frequency are outlined with a focus on realigning our daily physical activities with the archetype that is encoded within our genome.

A large amount of background daily light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required. Although the distances covered would have varied widely, most estimates indicate average daily distances covered were in the range of 6 to 16 km. The hunter-gatherers’ daily energy expenditures for physical activity typically were at least 800 to 1200 kcal, or about 3 to 5 times more than the average American adult today.

1. A large amount of background daily light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required. Although the distances covered would have varied widely, most estimates indicate average daily distances covered were in the range of 6 to 16 km. The hunter-gatherers’ daily energy expenditures for physical activity typically were
at least 800 to 1200 kcal, or about 3 to 5 times more than the average American adult today.
2. Hard days were typically followed by an easier day. Ample time for rest, relaxation, and sleep was generally
available to ensure complete recovery after strenuous exertion.
3. Walking and running were done on natural surfaces such as grass and dirt, often over uneven ground. Concrete and asphalt surfaces are largely foreign to our genetic identity.
4. Interval training sessions, involving intermittent bursts of moderate- to high-level intensity exercise with intervening periods of rest and recovery, should be performed once or twice per week.
5. Regular sessions of weight training and other strength and flexibility building exercises are essential for optimizing musculoskeletal and general health and fitness. These need to be performed at least 2 or 3 times per week, for at least 20 to 30 minutes per session.
6. Virtually all of the exercise was done outdoors in the natural world.
7. Much of the physical activity was done in context of a social setting (small bands of individuals out hunting or foraging). Exercising with one or more partners improves adherence and mood.
8. Except for the very young and the very old, all individuals were, by necessity, physically active almost their entire lives.

Pietro Mennea

Seventy years ago the Italian who trained the most in the history of sport was born.

Olympic champion in the 200-meter dash in Moscow 1980, world record holder in the specialty from 1979 to 1996 with a time of 19″72, still the European record. He also held, from 1979 to 2018, the Italian record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10″01.

Nicknamed The Arrow of the South, the only duecentist in history to qualify for four consecutive Olympic finals (1972 to 1984).

He graduated four times.

Effort is never wasted, suffer but dream. If I did it, anyone can do it.” Pietro Mennea

Greg Paltrinieri unbelievable

“I was in lane 1 and everybody was so close to me… everybody went crazy throughout the race and more after 800-1000. I saw everybody, all my team, shouting, jumping and screaming, so I felt the pressure but it was more fuel to myself because I knew I was swimming fast. I saw everybody, clear. I could recognise their faces because I was really close to them. So while I was breathing, I was like ‘yo, that’s Mimo; there’s [so and so, etc], all the guys. And everybody was pushing me. It was perfect.”

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy celebrates the Olympic 1500m title in 2016 – by Patrick B. Kraemer

Megan Rapinoe criticized the abortion ruling

Rapinoe was among 500 current and former athletes who last year signed an amicus brief supporting abortion rights for the Supreme Court case, including Layshia Clarendon, the former W.N.B.A. All-Star. The brief argued in part that a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body supported the success of the United States women at the Olympics.

PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: Megan Rapinoe | USWNT vs. Colombia | June 24,  2022 - YouTube

Let’s use summer to get out of motor laziness

When doing sports after the age of 60 we struggle with many preconceived ideas that at this point in life almost suddenly appear in our minds, because we are immersed in a culture that if on the one hand wants to promote wellness this is done mostly through marketing actions of companies that come the most disparate products from sportswear to personal care products. On the other hand, however, this kind of culture does not include the concept of fatigue, continuity of training, and prevention through free-body exercises. In essence, our society promotes an idea of wellness based on outward aspects (clothing, sports equipment, and personal care products) and at most suggests, of course, consulting a nutritionist (because overweight is an endemic problem) and walking as the main motor activity.

One of the lessons of the pandemic is the increase in sedentariness and the onset of the problems that are linked to it from weight gain to back pain and all those joint problems that are generated by sitting still for hours on end, to name but a few. When this negative manifestation asserts itself in most people it triggers the idea that I can no longer do sports because of these problems, without for that matter having understood that they are the effects instead.

I personally take care of 10 hours a week of sports activity, but it is clear that how I train today is different from how I did it when I was younger. There is a lot of prevention activity and free-body exercises, I have lengthened my recovery time and this allows me to run and bike. I do this because I enjoy it and I am happy while I am active. Also thinking about this activity and seeing others doing it makes me happy.

I have no advice for others because everyone should pursue what makes them happy. I understand that embarking on a notoriously active lifestyle requires at least initially an effort of will to overcome the habit of sitting still. However, one should be aware that the goal remains to feel good about oneself and certainly not to compete with others.

10 the football magic number

The 10 in soccer has been the jersey of the most famous champions. Now it seems there is no longer a place for these players in teams, as the Paulo Dybala affair partly explains. We understand why 10 has been the magic number in soccer

10 is the number of those who distribute play and those who run the ball down the field. 10 is the number that in 1958 by number draw Pelé received to play and win his first World Cup at age 17. It is also the number of Maradona, incredible champion, who also scored with the hand of God. Valentino Mazzola was number 10 for Grande Torino, and Mazzola was Jose Altafini’s nickname early in his career. 10 was Gianni Rivera, the first Italian to win the Ballon d’Or, of which Leo Messi won 6 instead, also wearing the same number. Juventus has had many number 10s, absolute champions such as Omar Sivori Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero and Andrea Pirlo. The qualities of the 10 are those of someone who enlightens and leads the team, the 10 is as bold as he is peremptory in his actions and shows the characteristics that Gianni Brera masterfully described when talking about one of them and that is Giuseppe Meazza (winner of the World Cup with the Italian national team in 1934 and 1938):

“Great players already existed in the world, perhaps tougher and more continuous than him, however, it did not seem to us that we could go beyond his sudden inventions, the brilliant shots, the peremptory and yet never mocking dribbles, the lonely escapes toward his lost victim of all time, the opposing goalkeeper.”[1]

The 10 bears upon himself, more than the others, the responsibility of the team; he represents its soul, its spirit. When the 10 isolates himself, the team suffers dramatically, and loses the one who everyone believes is capable of solving the game or a moment of difficulty with one of his inventions whether it be a shot, a free kick, a smarcating pass for the striker or a dribble. The 10 does not chase opponents and knows that it is “better to let the ball run, she does not sweat” (Roberto Baggio), for him “soccer is music, dance and harmony and there is nothing more cheerful than the bouncing ball” (Pelé). Besides, the 10 recognize each other, respecting each other like members of a club reserved for a few, and they know how indispensable their presence is to soccer, as Francesco Totti says of Diego Armando Maradona:

“It’s soccer, it’s the ball, like his face is on that spinning ball. What he did with the ball no one has ever done and no one ever will. He did extraordinary things, everything there was to do he did. I got to know him, and it moves me to see the picture of the two of us hugging.”

Sport is a key point in young development

Increasingly, sport is becoming the place where our young people can learn to become self-aware, responsible to themselves and others, adept at handling mistakes and correcting themselves, cooperative in a competitive environment, and competent in handling emotions.

To achieve these goals, sport must equip itself with sports managers and coaches who are aware of the value of these qualities and that sports learning can never be divorced from the development of these psychological dimensions. Just think that motor memory, that is, the ability to know how to take up a technical action in our mind and reproduce it, is always connected to the physical sensations of those movements and the state of mind with which it was learned. In essence everything that is motor is mental and vice versa. Mental repetition of a sports action immediately results in the activation of the motor systems necessary for its execution.

Only ignorance and lack of competence can prevent sports clubs from playing this role in the overall development of the young person even more so now that sports is a mass event and young people have lost all the other situations of spontaneous activity managed by them that were represented by playing in the streets, backyards, oratories, and gardens. Now there are only organized situations that should also play this role of growing the autonomy of young people through a sport.

Who is the personal trainer?

Personal trainer is a profession that is well established. It is therefore possible to identify what are the main characteristics delineating this job. I believe, of course, that the personal trainers should have at least a bachelor’s degree in sport science, after which they should have specialized in those motor and sports activities that they intend to teach their clients. The time when a bodybuilder or a person with only years of experience in the gym or on athletic fields claims to be a personal trainer should be over.

The following are the 10 main characteristics that they should demonstrate to do this work. Some relate to one’s lifestyle, some to specific knowledge and skills, and some to psychological and organizational dimensions.

  1. Physical appearance
  2. Healthy habits
  3. Knowledge of scientific data and their practical implications
  4. Skills for working with a specific population
  5. Communication and leadership skills
  6. Motivational skills
  7. Organizational and administrative skills
  8. Skills in providing a training program tailored to the needs of clients
  9. Skills in leading sessions
  10. Cognitive and emotional mental skills