Monthly Archive for May, 2023

How sport has evolved

How sport has evolved.

  1. The age of top athletes has decreased; in women’s tennis there are 15 Under 22 among the top 100.
  2. The number of States promoting their athletes has greatly increased, from countries of the former Soviet Union to Arab countries to those on other Continents.
  3. For many families, sports careers have become a realistic opportunity for their children to pursue.
  4. There is no longer spontaneous sport run by young people independently but has been totally privatized on most Continents.
  5. In many sports from the age of 14/15 years, frequent and selective competitive activity begins.
  6. Worldwide, the number of competitions has increased dramatically, and people compete 11 months of the year.
  7. By age 16, athletes, girls and boys, are also training 25 hours a week for at least 45 weeks.
  8. Most athletes follow a program not only of technical-tactical but also of specific and advanced mental and physical training.
  9. Women’s sports are gaining similar relevance to men’s sports, and mixed teams have been introduced in the Olympics, where gender parity has almost been achieved.
  10. This type of sports development results in athletes experiencing stress and often debilitating psychological problems generated by always having to show their value. At the same time it is a source of frustration for those who are excluded from this climb to success.

Caleb Martin: an amazing story to tell young people

The history of sports tells of many young people who became champions despite the fact that their starting social condition was terrible and provided no hope for a better future. That of Caleb Martin, NBA player, is one such life that turned into a successful career. It is important to know these stories because they are proof of the possibility of changing one’s destiny while starting from an exceedingly disadvantageous situation. Of course, one does not have to become rich and famous to get out of a disadvantageous life situation. One must leverage one’s own resources and take the path we want to take. Knowing stories like this one from Caleb Martin should help one not to feel alone and to recognize that many have already been in situations and seriously tried to change their lives.

Article by Roberto Barbacci

Of stories like his America is full of them, but then to make them stand out requires talent, circumstance and a bit of that luck that can’t and should never be lacking. The Martins’ childhood (including that of their older brother Raheem) was akin to a mountain to be climbed with bare hands: growing up without a father, they lived until the age of 14 in a 70-square-foot, insect-infested trailer with only one bed available, so much so that they took turns sleeping there once every three days (and the other two on the floor).

Providing them with a glimmer of hope was helped by their mother Jenny, who, however, being white in a town where racial hatred is still quite deep-rooted (Cooleemee, North Carolina) had to deal with a multiplicity of added problems, so much so that groups affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan often and willingly burned white crosses in front of the home as a sign of contempt (they did not accept the fact that the biological father of the three children was black). Jenny worked an average of 14 hours a day, often overnight, in order to provide a minimum subsistence for her children, sometimes even giving up food in order to provide more food for her children. Who outside of school spent their days playing basketball with the basketball hoop recovered from a tin plate found in a dumpster.

A winning choice: the birth of a talent

Basketball in the Martin twins’ lives came relatively late in life: they began playing assiduously at age 13 and soon after entered the school basketball program at Davie County High School in Mocksville, alternating for some time with the soccer program as well. The talent they showed from their earliest competitions allowed them both to become known and appreciated, so much so that a call from Oak Hill Academy allowed them to take the next step forward.

And once it came time to choose a college, the choice in 2014 fell to North Carolina StateUniversity, except for deciding two years later to transfer to the University of Reno’s basketball program, joining the Nevada Wolf Pack on a full scholarship, even at the cost of having to sit out a season (rules at the time mandated this for those who decided to change universities).

Over the next two seasons, however, young Caleb proved he made the right choice: a 19-point average per year, a Sweet 16 win at the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and a decision to make himself eligible for the 2019 Draft that surprised no one. If anything, the surprise was to find that the NBA franchise wanted to spend a call-up on him. But for Caleb this was no big deal.

On a plane going to Miami

Cody’s presence in Charlotte convinced management to give him a chance, and the trust was repaid on the court especially in his second season, which ended with 53 total appearances (plus those in the G-League with the Greensboro Swarm). But the decision to cut him, which came in August 2021, seemed to cast a shadow over the continuation of his NBA adventure.

In those difficult days, Caleb decided to return home to his mother Jenny, to whom he had since helped buy a worthy home with his first earnings. The idea of going to play in Europe did not appeal to him all that much, but the horizon did not seem to promise anything different. Until one morning, after a chat with his friend J. Cole (a rapper who was born in Europe but later settled in North Carolina and is well known in America), the latter came up with an idea: J. Cole had written a song years earlier about Caron Butler, for 14 years a player for the Miami Heat,since 2020 a member of Erik Spoelstra’s coaching staff.

He picked up the phone and begged him to give his friend Caleb an opportunity to try out with the Heat, usually very careful about recruiting players outside the draft. Three days later, Martinera on a plane bound for Miami. That audition earned him a new two-way contract, which in February 2022 would become a standard contract and in July 2022 would take the form of a three-year, $20.4 million total. This was because in the meantime on the court Caleb had really shown what he was made of: points per game and minutes on the parquet doubled from the previous year, and complete and unconditional trust from Spoelstra. Who also had yet to admire Martin at his peak.

Miami-Boston: the series of destiny

The opportunity to do so came during the 2023 playoffs, in which Miami entered through the back door, winning the decisive game against the Chicago Bulls to secure the last available spot in the East. That forced the Heat to take on the No. 1 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, who were sent back to sender with a resounding 4-1 win.

And after getting rid of the Knicks 4-2 in the semifinals, against the Celtics once again the odds certainly did not hang in their favor. And those who thought Martin would be downsized after the 27 minutes with an average of 11 points per game recorded in the previous series had to think again: against Boston, Cody’s twin brother raised his game level, collecting 35 minutes per game and, above all, averaging more than 19 points during the 7 games played, with Miami ahead 3-0 and then forced to win the “second game” on the road after being caught at 3-3 (it had never happened in history that a team ahead 3-0 lost a series 4-3): three other times Game 7 was needed, but this was the first time the team that went on to win the round won the series on the road).

The 26 points scored in the challenge that decided one of the most incredible series in recent years, avenging the 4-3 loss suffered by the Heat at the hands of the Celtics last season, enshrined the talent of a guy who was able to overcome enormous obstacles, showing a resilience and determination hard to find elsewhere.

One who as soon as Game 7 was over wanted a phone to call Mom Jenny, who God only knows how proud she is of her son. “Cody and I don’t regret the past, but only now have we noticed all the things our mother didn’t reveal to us when we were little, all the things we realize now. It was difficult, but she made many sacrifices like not eating some nights and giving up job opportunities because she had no help at home and had to be there for us. These are the things that make you the person you are. Everyone goes through difficult times and difficult beginnings, but that’s when you fight adversity and that helps you mentally. When you have problems on the field, you realize those problems are nothing I know what we overcame and that’s why I have crazy respect for my mother.”



How to improve the player’s self confidence

Improving a tennis player’s confidence is crucial for their performance on the court. Here are some strategies to help boost a player’s confidence in tennis:

  1. Positive self-talk: Encourage the player to develop positive self-talk during matches and practice sessions. Help them replace negative thoughts with positive and empowering statements. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t make this shot,” they can say, “I can do this, I’ve practiced this shot many times.”
  2. Focus on strengths: Identify the player’s strengths and help them develop confidence in those areas. Encourage them to rely on their strengths during matches and remind them of past successes.
  3. Set realistic goals: Work with the player to set realistic and achievable goals. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. Achieving these goals will provide a sense of accomplishment and boost confidence.
  4. Visualization: Encourage the player to visualize success. Ask them to imagine themselves executing shots perfectly, winning points, and ultimately winning matches. Visualization can help build confidence and mental preparation.
  5. Practice and preparation: Consistent practice and preparation are vital for confidence. Ensure the player is adequately prepared physically and mentally for matches. Practice different scenarios and match situations to build confidence in handling various challenges.
  6. Positive reinforcement: Provide positive reinforcement and praise for the player’s efforts and improvements. Acknowledge their achievements, even small ones, and offer encouragement and support.
  7. Learn from mistakes: Help the player understand that making mistakes is a part of the learning process. Encourage them to view mistakes as opportunities for growth rather than failures. Analyze and learn from mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future.
  8. Build a support network: Surround the player with a supportive team. Having people who believe in their abilities and provide encouragement can significantly enhance their confidence.
  9. Develop a pre-match routine: Establish a consistent pre-match routine that includes physical warm-up, mental preparation, and rituals that help the player get in the right mindset. Following a routine can provide a sense of control and familiarity, boosting confidence.
  10. Focus on the present momentum: Teach the player to focus on the present moment and not dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future. Help them develop techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation to stay focused and confident during matches.

Remember that building confidence takes time and consistent effort. Encourage the player to be patient with themselves and celebrate every step forward, regardless of the outcome of the match.

What a coach must do to coach youth in an individual sport

To effectively coach youth in an individual sport, a coach should consider the following key aspects:

  1. Understand the sport: Have a thorough understanding of the rules, techniques, and strategies involved in the individual sport you’re coaching. Stay updated with any rule changes or developments in the sport.
  2. Develop a coaching philosophy: Establish a clear coaching philosophy that aligns with the values of youth development, such as promoting skill development, fostering teamwork, building character, and encouraging enjoyment of the sport.
  3. Create a safe and inclusive environment: Ensure the training environment is safe, supportive, and inclusive for all participants. Encourage mutual respect, fair play, and positive interactions among athletes.
  4. Assess individual abilities: Assess the skill levels and abilities of each young athlete. Tailor coaching strategies and training plans based on individual needs, considering their age, experience, physical attributes, and learning styles.
  5. Set goals: Work with each athlete to establish realistic short-term and long-term goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Regularly review progress and provide feedback to keep athletes motivated.
  6. Plan and organize training sessions: Develop structured training plans that focus on skill development, technique refinement, physical conditioning, and mental preparation. Include a variety of drills, exercises, and activities to keep sessions engaging and challenging.
  7. Teach proper technique: Emphasize the importance of proper technique and fundamentals from the beginning. Break down skills into manageable steps, provide demonstrations, and offer constructive feedback to help athletes improve their technique.
  8. Foster a growth mindset: Encourage a growth mindset in athletes, emphasizing the importance of effort, perseverance, and learning from mistakes. Teach them to embrace challenges, setbacks, and setbacks as opportunities for growth and improvement.
  9. Communicate effectively: Maintain open and effective communication with athletes and their parents/guardians. Clearly explain expectations, provide regular updates on progress, and address any concerns or questions promptly.
  10. Be a positive role model: Lead by example and demonstrate good sportsmanship, integrity, and professionalism. Instill values such as discipline, respect, teamwork, and dedication through your own behavior.
  11. Provide constructive feedback: Offer specific and constructive feedback to help athletes understand areas for improvement and provide strategies to enhance their performance. Balance feedback with praise and encouragement to maintain motivation and confidence.
  12. Encourage sportsmanship and teamwork: Emphasize the importance of fair play, respect for opponents, and teamwork. Teach athletes to value collaboration, support their teammates, and celebrate each other’s successes.
  13. Support mental preparation: Help athletes develop mental skills such as focus, concentration, confidence, and resilience. Teach them relaxation techniques, visualization, goal-setting, and effective coping strategies for dealing with competition pressure.
  14. Monitor athlete well-being: Pay attention to the physical and emotional well-being of athletes. Encourage proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and recovery. Be attentive to signs of injury, burnout, or emotional distress and take appropriate action.
  15. Continuously educate yourself: Stay updated with the latest research, coaching methodologies, and advancements in the sport. Attend coaching clinics, workshops, and seminars to enhance your coaching knowledge and skills.

Remember, coaching youth in an individual sport goes beyond just teaching athletic skills. It involves fostering personal growth, instilling values, and creating a positive and enjoyable experience that will benefit young athletes both on and off the field.

2023 Report on sport at school in England is dramatic

These are the data from the 2023 Report on “Physical Education and School Sport” related to England.

Our children are:


  1. 97% of teachers are concerned about the mental health of young people in their school.
  2. The number of children in England needing treatment for mental health problems has risen by 39% in a year.
  3. 18% of children aged 7 to 16 have a probable mental disorder.
  4. 45% of parents are concerned about their child’s mental health.


  1. 73% of teachers are concerned about the physical health of young people in their school.
  2. Rates of obesity are higher than before the pandemic. In England, prevalence of reception children with obesity is 10.1% and 23.4% for year six children. These are both decreases from last year’s data but are still higher than pre-pandemic.

More distracted

  1. Most parents (78%) believe that children are spending too much time online and not enough time with each other in person.
  2. Over 3 in 5 (62%) of parents believe that digital distractions mean
  3. that their children are spending less time being active.
  4. Almost half (46%) of 7- 8 year olds
  5. and 38% of 9-11 year olds agree they spend more time online or watching TV than they do talking to their family.

Physical activity

  1. Less than half (47%) of young people in England are meeting minimum physical activity levels.
  2. 72% of parents are concerned that young people are not getting enough physical activity, however, only 43% of parents are aware that children should be active
  3. for 60 minutes or more a day.
  4. 54% of children would like to do more exercise or sport than they are currently doing – an increase from 44% in 2014.

PE and school sport

  1. In England, PE hours have fallen in the last decade — a reduction of 11.1% from 326, 277 to 290,033 since 2011.
  2. The number of PE teachers in England has also declined in the last 10 years, from 26,005 in 2011 to 23,708, a fall of 8.8%.
  3. Whilst around half (52%) of practitioners feel that PE, school sport and physical activity are seen as priorities within their schools, a quarter (26%) disagree or strongly disagree that this is the case for their schools.

What we need is:

  1. Urgent action: Build back healthier, happier and more resilient young people and level the playing field for those most disadvantaged.
  2. Generational shift: To balance the demands of the digital age through the human connection of physical play and sport.
  3. Societal change: Transform society’s perceptions and attitudes towards the importance of physical literacy, play and sport in the education and development of young people.

Which are the adolescents difficulties during a competition?

Teenage athletes may face several challenges during competitions. Here are some of the most common challenges they may face:

Social pressure: Teenagers often face social pressure from their teammates, coaches, parents, and even their peers. The expectation of excellent performance can put a lot of pressure on the athlete, increasing stress and anxiety.

Balancing commitments: Adolescent athletes may have difficulty balancing sports commitments with school and social commitments. The need to devote a lot of time to training and competition can interfere with study, friendships, and other extracurricular activities.

Growth and physical development: During adolescence, athletes experience rapid physical development, which can involve changes in strength, coordination, and balance. This transitional phase can make it more difficult to maintain consistency of performance and adapt to the body’s new demands.

Injuries and injuries: Adolescent athletes may be more susceptible to injuries and injuries than older athletes. Their bodies are still developing, and muscle imbalances or less joint stability may be present, increasing the risk of injury during sports practice.

Pressure from parents: Some adolescent athletes may face pressure from parents, who may have unrealistic expectations or project their own desires onto the athlete. This can create tension and negatively affect the athlete’s motivation and well-being.

Psychological aspects: Adolescence is a period of emotional and psychological transition. Adolescent athletes may face challenges such as stress management, performance anxiety, lack of self-confidence, and balancing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intense competition: Sports competitions can be extremely intense, especially at the competitive level. Adolescent athletes may find themselves competing against more experienced, stronger or bigger opponents than themselves, which can test their mental resilience and technical skills.

It is important to note that the difficulties may vary from athlete to athlete. Some adolescents may face only some of these challenges, while others may experience all of them. It is critical to provide adequate emotional, physical, and psychological support to adolescent athletes to help them cope with these difficulties and promote healthy athletic and personal development.

The coach role in the development of the young athlete

A coach’s role in leading a young adolescent athlete is of paramount importance to his or her athletic and personal development. Here are some key aspects of a coach’s role at this stage:

Technical instruction: The coach must provide a solid technical foundation for the adolescent athlete. This includes teaching skills specific to their sport, improving technique and execution, and developing a thorough understanding of game tactics. The coach should provide constant feedback on the athlete’s execution and offer targeted drills to improve performance.

Physical development: During adolescence, the athlete’s body is going through a period of rapid development and change. The coach must help the athlete develop a solid physical foundation, including strength training, agility, balance, and endurance. It is important to adapt training according to the athlete’s individual characteristics and developmental levels.
Mental education: Adolescents often face emotional and psychological challenges during this transitional period. The coach should play a lead role in managing stress, building confidence and promoting a positive mental attitude. The coach can teach focus, emotion management and problem-solving strategies to help the athlete overcome mental obstacles.

Emotional support: Adolescence can be a difficult time for many young athletes, with pressures from a variety of sources, such as school, family, and friends. The coach should be a point of reference and emotional support for the athlete. He or she should encourage open communication, listen to the athlete’s concerns, and provide a safe environment in which the athlete feels supported and understood.

Values and character development: The coach has a significant influence on shaping young athletes as individuals. He or she should promote values such as fair play, work ethic, respect, and responsibility. The coach should encourage the athlete to set realistic goals, develop a strong training ethic, and understand the importance of discipline and commitment in achieving success.

In summary, a coach’s role in leading a young adolescent athlete goes beyond the technical aspect of the sport. A good coach creates a positive learning environment in which the athlete can develop skills, overcome challenges, and grow both as an athlete and as an individual.

Goodbye to the explosive and unforgettable Tina Turner

A definitive explanation of what should be meant by resilience was provided by Tina Turner in May 2018, declaring to Marie Claire:

“People think my life has been tough, but I think it’s been a wonderful journey. The older you get, the more you realize that it’s not what happen but how you deal with it.”

On days when you’re feeling a little down, hearing Tina Turner is really a breath of explosive energy good for the soul. Everything about her conveyed strength, starting with her voice, her movements, her music. Her life represented the power of optimism despite the difficulties. Despite the separation of her parents and the repeated violence she suffered from her first husband to name but a few.

Optimism as evident in the lyrics of “We Don’t Need Another Hero.”

Out of the ruins

Out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistake this time
We are the children
The last generation (the last generation, generation)
We are the ones they left behind
And, I wonder when we are ever gonna change, change
Living under the fear, ’til nothing else remains
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond Thunderdome
Looking for something, we can rely on
There’s gotta be something better out there
Ooh, love and compassion
Their day is coming (coming)
All else are castles built in the air
And, I wonder when we are ever gonna change, change
Living under the fear, ’til nothing else remains
All the children say
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond Thunderdome
So, what do we do with our lives
We leave only a mark
Will our story shine like a light or end in the dark?
Give it all or nothing
We don’t need another hero (hero, hero)
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond Thunderdome
All the children say
We don’t need another hero (we don’t need another hero)
We don’t need to know the way home, ooh
All we want is life beyond Thunderdome

How to teach to use social media at young

La scorsa settimana l’American Psychological Association ha pubblicato la sua prima guida sull’uso dei social media in età adolescenziale, una serie di 10 raccomandazioni per educatori, politici, aziende tecnologiche e genitori, con l’obiettivo di aiutare gli adolescenti a utilizzare la tecnologia in modo sicuro e positivo.

Il gruppo ha affermato che gli adolescenti dovrebbero essere monitorati per individuare un uso “problematico” dei social media e che è importante ridurre al minimo l’esposizione degli adolescenti al cyberbullismo, all’odio online e ai contenuti che li inducono a confrontare il proprio aspetto fisico con quello degli altri. Ha inoltre sottolineato l’importanza di insegnare agli adolescenti la cittadinanza digitale.

Allo stesso tempo, l’A.P.A. ha riconosciuto che le aziende tecnologiche hanno un ruolo da svolgere in tutto questo, invitandole a considerare se funzioni come lo scorrimento infinito e il pulsante “mi piace” siano adeguate allo sviluppo degli adolescenti.

Ma come tutti i genitori sanno, l’onere principale è quello di monitorare ed educare i propri figli e di stare al passo con una tecnologia in rapida evoluzione. E cercare di farlo può risultare frustrante e inefficace. Le richieste poste ai genitori vanno oltre le normali capacità.

Ma cosa potrebbero fare per ridurre i danni dei social media?

All’inizio è consigliato di essere disponibili.

Una fase critica l’uso dei social media nei bambini di età è tra i 10 e i 14 anni. L’obiettivo è fornire una guida pratica. Una famiglia potrebbe decidere che all’inizio il bambino si limiterà a una sola applicazione e che per i primi sei mesi i genitori esamineranno i post e le richieste di amicizia con il figlio. Ciò richiede disponibilità da parte dei genitori ma anche solo 5 minuti al giorno sono già un tempo sufficiente. Però niente schermi dopo le 21.00.

L’uso notturno dei social è la causa principale dell’insorgenza di disturbi del sonno.  Lasciamo tablet e smartphone fuori dalla camera da letto, mettendoli in uno spazio comune per la notte.

Dobbiamo aiutare gli adolescenti a capire come i social media influenzano il loro cervello. La parte centrale del cervello, il “cervello sociale”, si sta costruendo attivamente durante l’adolescenza ed è la più suscettibile alle influenze esterne. La parte anteriore del cervello, invece, che gestisce aspetti come il processo decisionale, la riduzione dei rischi e la regolazione delle emozioni, si sviluppa fino alla fine dei 20 anni. Quindi gli adolescenti agiscono con un cervello sociale molto attivo, che li rende molto vulnerabili alla pressione dei coetanei e alla ricerca di novità. E ricevono poche informazioni dalla parte anteriore del cervello che dice loro di fermarsi e di fare una pausa.

Tutti i contenuti, i feedback e gli stimoli disponibili online sono facilmente accessibili ai bambini proprio quando il loro cervello sociale si sta sviluppando,

E’ importante chiedere ai giovani se percepiscono di avere il controllo o di essere controllati dai social. Questa domanda è particolarmente efficace per valutare se l’uso dei social media da parte di un adolescente si diventato problematico. Se l’adolescente risponde avere problemi, si apre la possibilità di parlare di strategie di gestione. Per esempio, si può insegnare a impostare un timer per assumersi la responsabilità del tempo trascorso sullo schermo e di capire come comportarsi quando il timer suona e si vuole continuare a rimanere online.

Sebbene l’invito dell’A.P.A. a limitare l’uso dei social media da parte degli adolescenti per confrontarsi con gli altri possa sembrare nebuloso, un approccio consiste nell’insegnare agli adolescenti a fare un semplice controllo di pancia chiedendosi: “Qualcuno di questi account mi fa sentire peggio con me stesso o con il mio corpo?” Sebbene gli effetti negativi dei social media sull’immagine corporea delle ragazze siano stati ampiamente discussi, il dottor Nagata ha sottolineato che i genitori dovrebbero incoraggiare questo tipo di pratica con i figli di entrambi i sessi.

Anche se è meno compreso e meno trattato, anche i ragazzi sono suscettibili di queste influenze. Gli studi hanno dimostrato che l’uso di Instagram nei ragazzi e negli uomini è associato al salto dei pasti, all’alimentazione disordinata, all’insoddisfazione per i muscoli e persino all’uso di steroidi anabolizzanti.

Soprattutto con gli adolescenti più grandi, è bene condurre le conversazioni con curiosità, non con giudizio. L’approccio è davvero fondamentale. Dobbiamo aiutare i ragazzi a capire perché stiamo ponendo la domanda. Non è una domanda accusatoria, critica o giudicante. inoltre, gli adolescenti possono non essere onesti o non voler parlare con voi, ma il compito di un genitore è quello di continuare a chiedere.