Monthly Archive for August, 2022

What will the soccer league broken by the World Cup look like?

In this competitive season, the soccer championship will be different from previous ones because of the World Cup in Qatar, which will be held for a month starting November 20. However, this event is in addition to others.

The first is the closing of the soccer market on September 1 with the league having already started 4 games. The main human factor that comes to be affected is the building of team cohesion. It is one of the cornerstones of team play. There are footballers who after only a few days of purchase are already starters. How is it possible for them to integrate in such a short time and for teammates to dialogue with them on the field in games effectively. It is an acquaintance that happens in extremes and certainly not in desirable ways.

Second, the coaches of teams fighting for the league title reason by worrying about being in the top group when the World Cup break begins. This is short-term reasoning of about 10 weeks, useless to think long-term since we do not know what condition the players will be in when they return from Qatar. For later we will see, as if it were a new league.

Third, the teams that will play the cups will have a tough commitment always in this same period, in the Champions League will be 6 games to fight to qualify and always between now and November.

How will the players engaged on these three fronts: league, cups and world cup? What will they do to avoid injury? What will coaches do: will they always focus on the best team or will they choose to alternate players according to the importance of the commitment? Will new physical and mental recovery strategies be introduced?

Our experiences show who we are

Gli avvenimenti, gravi, felici o infelici non cambiano l’anima di un uomo ma la precisano come un colpo di vento spazzando via le foglie morte rivela la forma di un albero”. Irene Nemirovsky

Gratis Albero Dalle Foglie Verdi Sulla Montagna Foto a disposizione

‘Thank you, Serena Williams’ – tribute by Oprah Winfrey

Watch, US Open 2022: 'Thank you, Serena Williams' - tribute narrated by Oprah Winfrey

Profiles of managers and coaches competent in decision making processes

Managers and coaches who are adept at decision making exhibit the following skills:

  • They are able to analyze a lot of information in short periods of time
  • They possess excellent analytical and strategic skills
  • They are very confident
  • They have little concern for the consequences of their decisions
  • They show low levels of self-criticism and are quick to make decisions
  • They are not afraid to challenge the thoughts and opinions of others
  • They know how to recognize mistakes early on and deal with them quickly
  • They have very clear and specific ideas about many areas of their lives

They are, on the whole, autonomous and independent individuals who can quickly get to the heart of an issue, ask without fear, gather information, process it, integrate it with their own beliefs, and, immediately afterwards, communicate it to their direct interlocutors. They mostly reason about how things must be today and almost never regret the past or rethink how the present could have been different if…

It may emerge from interviewing these people that:

  • When asked about their careers they habitually do not criticize others for what has happened to them. In other words, they want to take responsibility for the decisions they make, and conversely do not make them dependent on others
  • Quickly on an issue they know how to take a position and are able to identify the critical variables that led them to make that decision
  • When providing an answer they do not use terms such as “if, unless, sometimes, may be” and so on. In other words, they take a position and support it until other data intervene to change the picture
  • When you ask the same question to individuals who are slow to decide, they will bring up many ifs and buts instead of directly pursuing a solution.

The Achilles’ heel of managers and coaches who decide quickly is that sooner or later they will make a mistake. This is more likely to happen when an extreme level of self-confidence, prevents them from predicting mistakes, because they feed on the belief that they will not make a mistake, and when they make risky decisions quickly without the need to do so.

Decision-making processes

Deciding consists in a cognitive process from which it is not possible to escape. In fact, all forms of activity or inactivity, words or silence always stem from a decision, which may appear sometimes more spontaneous and sometimes more reasoned.

The construct called decision-making is relatively complex and consists of various aspects:

  1. Deciding determines the actions of the person who made it and in turn influences others and the environment in which one is embedded.
  2. To decide means to choose from among several alternatives that have some percentage probability of allowing the goal one has set to be achieved.
  3. Deciding is a real skill, which involves making decisions quickly and effectively, taking risks, making decisions based on a suboptimal amount of information, and making use of one’s intuition.
  4. Decision making, in business and sports, requires individuals who want to make choices in the necessary timeframe, who want to take calculated risks, who want to make a decision when the situation calls for it, even if they do not possess all the data they would like to have.
  5. Deciding is a process that occurs in successive stages that must be respected.
  6. Deciding requires knowledge of the context in which that decision is to be made and will have to be acted upon.
  7. Deciding requires an adequate knowledge of one’s own way of being in these situations, does one consider oneself a more systematic or a more intuitive person?
  8. Deciding sometimes requires the input of one or more people, knowing that the final decision must be made by those who have direct responsibility for that activity over which they are going to act.
  9. The operationalization of the decision of a person who holds the role of expert or professional or is an athlete in large part is acted upon directly by him or herself.
  10. The operativeness of the decision of a person in a managerial role or the coach of a team is not acted upon by him/her, but the actions are instead delegated to co-workers and players.

What have in common top athletes and managers?

Analytical skills and multitasking
Individuals who engage in highly technical activities, such as high-level athletes and coaches, must exhibit good problem solving skills and be able to deal with different problems in a short time while maintaining effective analytical skills. Indeed, in elite sports, there is a need to organize complex, time-articulated training programs that are strongly oriented toward achieving expected results.

Emotional control/distractibility
Highlights the ability to remain focused on the task in the face of many potential distractions both external (e.g., audience) and internal (e.g., distracting thoughts). In high-level sport, being able to control one’s moods, including moments of anger and frustration, is essential.

Time management
Indicates the extent to which an individual perceives himself or herself to be effective in time management, and requires the ability to be able to prioritize and assign responsibility. It also requires being able to set limits for oneself and possibly others. An example of dysfunctional time management may concern in training those athletes who are overly motivated to improve. They may want to train for an excessive number of hours, thereby failing to improve their skills and leading to an excessive state of fatigue.

Confidence and competitiveness
Indicates the extent to which an individual considers himself confident in his ability to encourage, motivate and support himself at every moment of his activity. Elite athletes, even in the presence of frustrating and unrewarding days, should perceive themselves as confident in their ability to do well and perceive themselves as motivated to persist in the face of these frustrating situations, even in the absence of support.

Effective interpersonal relationships
Indicates the extent to which an individual is confident in his or her ability to express his or her ideas both in a supportive environment and in more confrontational situations or in the presence of conflicting opinions. At the same time, it is important to know how to support and engage with others without overly favoring one dimension at the expense of the other.

Decision-making speed and accuracy
Indicates the extent to which an individual prefers immediate promptness in his or her responses rather than longer time frames characterized by greater accuracy. The effectiveness of these two decision-making modes depends on the characteristics of the tasks they habitually face. The cost that under stress might be paid by the quick decision maker is to respond impulsively without having given sufficient thought while that of the accurate individual is to need to gather too much information before acting.

Walking spaces since 1850

Colin Pooley, Walking spaces: Changing pedestrian practices in Britain since c. 1850. Published July 13, 2020 Research Article.

Walking is one of the most sustainable and healthy forms of everyday travel over short distances, but pedestrianism has declined substantially in almost all countries over the past century. This paper uses a combination of personal testimonies and government reports to examine how the spaces through which people travel have changed over time, to chart the impacts that such changes have had on pedestrian mobility and to consider the shifts that are necessary to revitalise walking as a common form of everyday travel. In the nineteenth century, most urban spaces were not especially conducive to walking, but many people did walk as they had little alternative and the sheer number of pedestrians meant that they could dominate urban space. In the twentieth century, successive planning decisions have reshaped cities making walking appear both harder and riskier. Motorised transport has been normalised and pedestrianism marginalised. Only radical change will reverse this.

The self-talk relevance

Van Raalte, Vincent, and Brewer (2016) provided a definition that emphasizes the linguistic features of self-talk. According to them, self-talk is ‘the syntactically recognizable articulation of an internal position that can be expressed internally or out loud, where the sender of the message is also the intended receiver’ (p. 141). The addition of the term ‘syntactically recognizable’ is of particular importance since it distinguishes self-talk from other verbalizations (such as shouts of frustration like aaahhhh!), self-statements made through gestures, and self-statements made outside of the context of formal language. Defining self-talk as an ‘articulation of an internal position’ also contributes to anchor its meaning within the individual and places the origin of self-talk in consciousness and information processing.

Self-talk has many potential applications, including breaking bad habits and sustaining efforts in acquiring new skills and is normally categorized in 3 types: positive, instructional and negative.

Positive self-talk focuses on increasing energy and efforts but does not carry any task-related clue (e.g., ‘I can do it’). Positive self-talk thus shapes our minds with thoughts enabling us to manage difficult situations and stress more effectively. It also increases motivation and it is therefore essential for athletes to attain consistent and optimal performance (Blumenstein & Lidor, 2007).

Instructional self-talk helps the performers’ understanding of task requirements by facilitating their attendance to task relevant cues that aid the players’ concentration during task execution. As such instructional self-talk can be said to help athletes in focusing on the technical aspects of the performance and in improving their motor skills (Hardy, Begley, & Blanchfield, 2015).

Negative self-talk is critical and gets in the way of a person’s reaching goals. Negative selftalk thus interferes with a positive mindset, creates a failure mentality, deflates self-confidence, reduces motivation, generates anxiety, and disrupts optimal arousal (Burton & Raedeke 2008).

Unfortunately, coaches in many football academies display a considerable lack of knowledge concerning the training of players’ mental skills (Harwood & Anderson 2015). This crucial lack of knowledge has determined an under appreciation of the contribution of both concentration and self-talk to elite football performance.

Source: Farina, M. and Cei, A. (2019). Concentration and self-talk in football. In Konter, E., J. Beckmann and T.M. Loughead (Eds.), Football psychology. New York: Routledge.

Ethics in sports: what conditions are conducive to fraud

The phenomenon of cheating has been particularly investigated in the business world. The reasons that lead to financial fraud have been investigated, Three broad and different categories have been identified: conditions, organization structure, and choice, and they can also be applied to this particular type of fraud that is doping.

The first condition, concerns motivations and pressures to use the fraud. Pressure on the company to achieve its intended goals plays an important role in taking this route. In this situation, executives deliberately commit illegal actions to deceive investors and creditors in relation to poor or unfavorable financial performance. In the world of sports, the need to achieve results at any cost and the pressures exerted on athletes to do so represent situations similar to those highlighted in the world of finance, not the least of which relate to the possibility of seeing one’s compensation rise by virtue of sporting success.

The second relates to the organizational structure that can foster the development of an environment in which fraud has a good chance of success. In this regard, in the cases that were uncovered, it was found that these were environments characterized by irresponsible and ineffective leadership. This was possible because the highest corporate level was directly involved. The corporate governance attributes that characterize these illegal situations are aggression, arrogance, cohesion, loyalty, blind trust, ineffective controls, and gamesmanship. The first two concern attitudes and motivations of managers who want to be the leaders in that type of business or even exceed the earnings expectations formulated by analysts. Cohesion, loyalty, and gamesmanship increase the likelihood of not looking at the books, of not sensing the warning signs. These combined with blind self-confidence and ineffective controls can undermine the work of internal controllers themselves and block their role in preventing and detecting fraud. In sports this has been found in those cases that have been referred to as “state doping,” but this has also involved the omertà and connivance that have been highlighted within specific sports circles.

The third category concerns the manager’s decision-making process and intentionality in implementing the fraud. The choice is between properly and ethically pursuing business objectives and instead using illegal strategies to blow the company’s stability and growth out of proportion. Management can be urged to exercise illegal actions in the presence of certain favorable conditions concerning:

  • Personal financial advantage – management’s gain is linked to company performance through profit sharing, stock compensation or other forms of benefits.
  • Willingness to take risks – desire to make decisions that may also involve criminal or civil risks.
  • The opportunity to defraud – corporate organization is such that it seems possible to activate financial fraud procedures.
  • Pressure from third parties – pressure is exerted internally and externally to the organization in order to maximize shareholder value.
  • Ineffective controls-the chances of getting caught are very low

Purely in sports, the intentionality of the athlete to want to use illicit substances to improve his or her athletic performance plays an essential role. Money, fame and success are at the root of this kind of fraud, and if you add to that the ineffectiveness of controls and pressure from third parties … it is really hard to resist.

An eternal dilemma: the relationship between intelligence and certainty

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Charles Bukowski