Monthly Archive for March, 2023

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Always, go Berrettini

I enjoyed Matteo Berrettini’s interview with Paolo Rossi on He talks about how he lives this difficult time, love, his injuries and tennis. What he says represents his reality and how he lives this phase of his career. He is open and direct and maybe that is why others do not like him and then attack him , for the sake of criticizing. It is a common behavior in our country to viciously attack people who have achieved success because of their abilities. In this sea of mediocrity, many live by waiting for the winners to get in trouble so that they can rejoice by criticizing them.

It may be trite but I don’t think so to say that, on the contrary, we should all be proud to be represented by these guys who, regardless of their successes, are an example of dedication and commitment and I hope emulation for many others.

I would like to know the stories of those who criticize, to understand the origins of these ideas and the compelling desire to have to express them in public form.

However, “Always, go Berrettini.”

Final warning on climate crisis

Scientists: ‘final warning’ on climate crisis.

  • Growing greenhouse gas emissions = world on brink of irrevocable damage, only quick and drastic action needed.
  • Climate crisis knowledge: eight years of work, hundreds of scientists, thousands of pages = single message, act now, or it will be too late.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “This report is a clarion call to massively accelerate climate efforts by every country, every sector, every time. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, at once.”
  • The world is already devastated:. extreme weather conditions caused by climate change have resulted in increased deaths from intensifying heat waves in all regions, millions of lives and homes destroyed by droughts and floods, millions of people going hungry, and increasingly irreversible losses in vital ecosystems
  • Monday’s latest chapter, called the synthesis report, will almost certainly be the last such assessment while the world still has a chance to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold beyond which our climate damage will quickly become irreversible
  • Kaisa Kosonen, climate expert at Greenpeace International: “This report is definitely a final warning about 1.5C. If governments continue to follow current policies, the remaining carbon budget will be exhausted before 2030.”
  • 3 billion people already live in areas “highly vulnerable” to climate change, and half the world’s population suffers from severe water shortages for at least part of the year. Climate extremes are “increasingly driving displacement” of people in Africa, Asia, North, Central and South America, and the South Pacific.
  • These effects are likely to increase rapidly.
  • Hope to stay within 1.5°C. Hoesung Lee said, “This synthesis report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that if we act now, we can still ensure a sustainable and livable future for all.”
  • Guterres: governments must implement drastic actions to reduce emissions ,invest in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions “as close to 2040 as possible,” without waiting for the 2050 deadline that most have signed up to.

“Climbing Mount Everest is work for supermen”

On March 18, 1923, an article in the New York Times headlined “Climbing Mount Everest is work for supermen.”

Specifically, the article asked what was the reason for climbing it, given also the failed attempts in 1921 and 1922. The question was posed to George Mallory, who had participated in both expeditions and was preparing to be part of the group that would make a third attempt in 1924. The answer given by the explorer became famous and continues to be famous today exactly 100 years later. In fact, Mallory replied, “Because it’s there.” He was also asked, if the scientific results obtained were not enough. “Yes … but do you think Schackelton went to the South Pole to make scientific observations? He used the observations he made to finance the next trip. Sometimes scientific research is an excuse for exploration. I think it is rarely the reason. Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and no man has ever made it to the top. Its existence is a challenge. The response is instinctive and I think it is part of man’s desire to conquer the universe.”

How top marathoners motivate themselves

Some top marathoners seem to make greater use of awareness of the work done. Rethinking the training they’ve done and from these exeperiences come the confidence and motivation.

  • I think back to the work I have done previously, the fact that I worked well and then I should not be afraid to fail.
  • First of all, being aware that the difficult times occur every season and are always lurking. After that, I know how to do, that it’s to identify the mistakes, I assess them and I try to work hard to correct them.

For other the goal setting strategies are the basis of their experiences and skill to motivate themselves.

  • Definitely stands out in me the patience, precision and strong determination. If I set a goal there is nothing that can distract me from the work to achieve it. Maybe I’ve always had that ability, but then I also improved by the training and in general with experience. Among the people who have helped me to develop such features are first of all my mother but then also my coach and my husband, which in my case coincide.

For others, it seem to dominate more the emotional component in driving motivation.

  • I find the more emotional impulses thinking about how important and pleasant is to reach the goal. The goal achievement acts for me to greater motivator.
  • The positive moments give me the awareness hat I have the resources and abilities to do it, then, they represent moments to recharge myself and to point to the next goal.

The marathon meaning

Today the Rome Marathon is being run. At events like these many people ask me what a marathon is and what pleasure there is in running all those miles.

This thought by Mauro Covacich, writer and runner, is one possible explanation.

“The marathon is a kind of permanent belief: it is enough to have run it just once to feel like a marathon runner for life. Kind of like psychoanalysis. Yes, I consider it a form of martial art, an inner discipline. It inherently is. For the training it requires, for the way it leads you to perceive the environment, for the effort it demands of your body. The marathon runner is a samurai with slippers instead of a sword: he is extremely strict towards himself, he never forgives himself, he is constantly fighting his own limits… Those who think of the marathon as a sporting choice are wrong; it is a maximally aesthetic discipline. It is really a worldview: it is not just those forty-two kilometers to run in the shortest possible time, it is the idea of enduring, of going beyond…”
(Mauro Covacich)

The sport system do not support lifelong participation

The new season of major marathons in European capitals and around the world begins. This occasion brings to the forefront a little-addressed issue in scientific research and in the world of sports, which refers to the training of adults (the over35s) and in particular the masters athletes who build the largest group of marathon entrants and encapsulate every age group of adulthood up to and beyond the over80s.

It is the already large age group of sports practitioners enclosed in a period that covers more than 50 years. There are well-established age-related beliefs that can be summarized in the following concept: adults do not improve and are limited to social and fitness activities in their free time. It has been found that this age belief can lead coaches to believe that it is not necessary to coach master athletes. Do we still demand quality coaching if young athletes do not become Olympians or professionals? Yes, of course. Therefore, quality coaching should be an intrinsic feature of master sports and older adult sports.

Recently Bettina Callary, Editor-in-Chief of the International Sport Coaching Journal wrote about this issue and which I have summarized in the following points:

  1. Much of the research in sport is geared towards high performance or youth sport participation.
  2. The LTD uses a rectangular diagram to outline a framework for developmental pathways in sport and physical activity. It depicts a large section devoted to Active for Life, as an alternative to the Podium Pathway towards high performance. This is excellent, as it includes the large number of people (including adults and older adults) who are not on the trajectory toward podium performances at the highest level of sport yet continue to engage in sport and physical activity.
  3. However, while the LTD acknowledges aging adults as an underserviced and under-supported group within the sport and physical activity ecosystem, the information in the framework itself is mostly associated with children, youth, and young adults.
  4. Adult development in sport is often focused on becoming coaches or officials, joining the board of directors for the youth sport team or club, fundraising and volunteering.
  5. While there are recreational adult sports that most often do not have coaches, in Masters sport the coaches can play important roles.
  6. Masters sport is defined as sport events, leagues, and competitions for adults typically over 35 years of age (although this differs based on the sport and can be as young as 18 years old). Within this cohort of more serious-minded adult athletes, effective coaches play an important role in meeting athletes’ psychosocial needs and validating their decision to pursue sport.


Which is the mind side of the warm up?

In relation to warming up, I would like to take up what Jurgen Weineck said in his book “The optimal training” because it is a text known to all coaches (psychologists should study it). In fact, it clearly illustrates the physical and also mental role of this phase of training. It thus highlights how important it is to teach young athletes to use this phase of training in the right way and not simply as boring exercises to be carried out to avoid injury.

“Warm-up means all the measures that, before a sporting load – whether for training or competition – useful both to create a state of optimal coordination of psychophysical and kinesthetic preparation and to prevent accidents.

“In active warming up, the athlete practically performs the exercises or movements, while in mental warming he only represents them… If it is used alone … mental training is of little use, because it only partially sets in motion, and often with little intensity, the adaptation processes characteristic of warm-up. However, in some sports (e.g. artistic gymnastics and athletic) it is very effective when combined with other warm-upmethods” (p. 547).

“As can be seen from various works there are interrelationships between warming up, motivation and the psychic attitude towards the activity itself. Thus, on the one hand, a high degree of motivation and a strongly performance-oriented attitude can strengthen the effectiveness of warming – among other things, thanks to the psychic parameters of the pre-event state that prepares the body for a high performance – while, on the other hand, a negative attitude towards it reduces or totally eliminates the benefits … warming up, starting from an initial “neutral” situation, serves to form a psychic state of readiness to perform, evokes an optimal state of excitement of the nervous system, thus improving the attitude towards sports performance and concentration on it” (p.551).

In preparation for the competition, the warm-up phase represents an opportunity to mentally prepare yourself at the start of the race, giving you the time to focus on the tasks to perform at the best. It is recognized that many top athletes complete some form of mental preparation before the competition. Typical strategies include:

  • visualization of performance
  • repetition of keywords
  • search for optimal activation through physical and technical exercises
  • speed and accuracy




Mistakes coming from a poor awareness coaching

If your athletes commit any of these mistakes, it means that you have not taught them to give value at their commitment in training:

  1. When you ask them to take a deep breath, they snort or sigh
  2. Without no reason they modify times and ways of the warm-up
  3. They say: “But I thought I was ready while …”
  4. They get angry or easily disappointed even in training
  5. In training they have result outcomes  and less frequently process outcomes.
  6. They are focused on the results of their performance and not on how to perform effectively
  7. They are only partially aware that it is how you prepare yourself that determines the quality of the performance
  8. They think: “I have the technique therefor I know how to compete
  9. They are deluding themselves to do well only because they have done it before and they are not aware that every time it is different and the commitment must be consistent
  10. Usually from their favorite champs they take only the most superficial and most glamorous behaviors

The taboo toward psychology still exists in soccer

About the crisis of their best player, the team’s coach said that “we are working together with the player and the team’s psychological staff to solve the problem as soon as possible and to see him finally play on the field as he knows how.

I think we will never hear such statements in soccer. This is because the real taboo that resists in relation to evaluating the psychological aspects of any player is to consider them according to a positive/negative logic. Either things are good or there are problems. The very word “problem” associated with another “psychological” immediately reminds one of something that must be hidden, a fault to be ashamed of and which then publicly must be called something else so as not to stigmatize the young person as one who has a “psychological problem.”

That is why then the “problems” shown on the field by Vlahovic, Leao, Donnarumma, and so many others who are not mentioned in the media because they are not famous are explained in terms of playing problems, the desire to overdo it, contract-related problems, difficulties in recovering after an injury or finding the match rhythm again. What is not said is that these situations just listed are the footballer’s way of showing his current psychological limitations. If one replaces the word “problem” with “current limit” it becomes more obvious that talking about psychological limits is analogous to talking about physical or technical-tactical limits and that through training it will be possible to reduce these limits.

Thus, by bringing the issue back to typical difficulties of those who do a job, that of a footballer, in which one should always be ready, knowing of course that this is not possible, it becomes easier to accept that psychological limitations demonstrated at certain times during the sporting season are part of a footballer’s life, they should therefore not be hidden, they are like a muscle contracture or a wrong pass. When they occur, the club must be equipped as with any other eventuality to treat the player, through experts in sports psychology, with the aim of reducing or eliminating this difficulty.

Instead, we are still stuck thinking that the support of teammates and fans and chats with the coach are enough. Certainly they are important, but no one would think of solving an injury with a pat on the back.

Dick Fosbury, high jump legend, is died

Dick Fosbury, legendary Olympic gold high jumper who revolutionized the track and field event, died Sunday of lymphoma, according to his publicist Ray Schulte. Fosbury was 76.

“It is with a very heavy heart I have to release the news that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a short bout with a recurrence of lymphoma,” Schulte wrote on Instagram on Monday.

Fosbury showcased his signature technique – the popular “Fosbury Flop” – where he threw himself back first over the bar in the high jump at the 1968 Mexico City Games. Fosbury broke the Olympic and US records with a jump of 2.24 meters to earn the gold medal.

At Oregon State University, Fosbury won the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in 1968 using the “flop.”“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dick Fosbury, a true legend and pioneer in the world of track and field. Dick’s innovative technique of the ‘Fosbury Flop’ revolutionized the high jump event and forever changed the sport,” Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field said in a statement. “His gold medal victory at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics not only cemented his place in U.S. Olympic history, but also left an indelible mark on the global athletic community. We will always be grateful for his contributions to the sport and his impact on generations of athletes who followed in his footsteps.”

“The world legend is probably used too often,” sprint great Michael Johnson tweeted. “Dick Fosbury was a true LEGEND! He changed an entire event forever with a technique that looked crazy at the time but the result made it the standard.”