Monthly Archive for June, 2023

Books are increasing and readers are decreasing

Now everyone is writing and publishing books (while the number of readers is declining). Between writers and impromptu online publishers, or publishing houses that regularly charge to publish, “we are flooded with a quantity of useless books,” moreover difficult to recognize and choose. For example, 30 percent of published books do not sell a copy, or at most sell one, and so it is time “for publishers to get their act together: we are now in the age of the absurd.” Not even 35,000 books, of all those released in 2022, sold 10 copies. In any case, booksellers will also have to “roll up their sleeves, keep up to date, pay attention to current issues” and still take advantage of the opportunities offered by online.

As Nomisma notes based on Istat data, publishing houses in Italy have declined from 5,491 in 2012 to 4,623 in 2021 with the largest decline recorded between 2012 and 2015 (-13.2 percent). Emilia-Romagna’s trend is “consistent” with the national trend, managing overall to maintain its 8 percent share of the Italian total. In fact, book production has been growing steadily since 2016, with the only exception of a decline in 2020. After a boom in 2019, with 86,475 works published, book production grew further in 2021, marking a +4.3 percent increase over 2019. Looking at the evolution of the number of bookstores in Italy, 2015 stands out and 2019 as years of ” significant negative downturns (with 3,158 and 3,175 bookstores, respectively), while 2020 and 2021 stand out as years of recovery.”

Once again, Nomisma notes, beginning in 2021 there is an increase in paper book sales (in value), a legacy linked to the rediscovery of reading during the pandemic that apparently will not be lost even in 2022, reaching 1.67 billion euros in sales. On the other hand, the composition of the purchasing channels changes: if in the year of the lockdown the contribution of online had increased, in 2022 there was a rebound of ‘physical’, which had already returned to growth in 2021. Overall, however, over the past 11 yearsi the number of Italian readers, your research confirmsdeclined from 46.8 percent in 2010 to 40.8 percent in 2021. Also declining is the number of readers in Emilia-Romagna, which although still registering a higher share than the Italian average (51.5 percent in 2010 and 46.4 percent in 2021).

It then emerges how one reader out of two in the last year has read between two and five books, preferring mainly detective stories (chosen by 58 percent of readers) and thrillers (52 percent). Books are purchased because of interest in the subject matter (indicated by 58% of Emilia-Romagna readers), followed by interest in the author (56%) and the captivating plot (43%).

Current approaches to vulnerability

Vulnerability is a noun, and is defined as “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, physically or emotionally.” Generally, vulnerability is considered a weakness, not least in sports cultures. The literature on vulnerability in sport is nascent. In comparison, the potential value and strength-based approach to vulnerability has received viral attention outside of sports, thanks to the work of Brené Brown. In her book Daring Greatly (Brown, 2012), Brown argues that “vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Vulnerability is also the birthplace of courage, creativity and change.”

Brown has been credited with bringing the potential value of vulnerability into academia and consulting. When we say that participating in a competition requires having learned to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, we are expressing in other words that the athlete experiences a condition of vulnerability and that through performance he or she must transform it into a situation in which he or she engages in delivering the best performance while running the risk of failing to do so. Thus, the athlete consciously exposes himself to the possibility of being harmed physically and emotionally, by his own negative self-criticism, by opponents, and by his entire sporting world.

So we accept that we are vulnerable, we accept that we are exposing ourselves to the possibility of making mistakes that we would like to avoid, that we may fail to deliver the performance for which we have trained. But if we accept that we are competing, we will always be winners because we will have accepted that we are exposing ourselves publicly and that we were courageous precisely to have that decision early on.

Advanced mental coaching

Building an advanced psychological training program requires knowledge of the psychological implications typical of a given sports discipline. Some examples:
1. Endurance sports (e.g., cross-country, marathon, rowing, swimming)-require tolerating physical fatigue and knowing how to handle it at times when it arises in competition. They require considerable awareness of bodily sensations so as to be able to recognize and anticipate any critical moments during the race.
2. Precision sports (e.g., archery, skeet shooting) – require combining together precision of sporting action and speed, so concentration is totally oriented to technical execution.
3. Sports of body coordination in space (e.g., artistic gymnastics, figure skating, synchronized swimming, diving) – in these sports the athlete tends to provide the ideal performance but also knows that it is almost impossible to achieve. Even the slightest mistake leads to a reduction in the quality of the performance and, therefore, also in the score that the jury will give him.
4. Speed sports (e.g., 100 and 200 meters, relays, 400 meters, swimming)-require total concentration for the entire duration of the test. Decisive is the ability to effectively manage the impulsiveness and tendency to react too early that is experienced in the moments before the start.
5. Combat sports (e.g., fencing, boxing, martial arts)-require a high level of mental and physical responsiveness throughout the duration of combat. Of considerable importance is the ability to know how to anticipate the opponent’s moves. Given the brevity of the fight, the ability to feel in competition from the first seconds is decisive.
6. Team sports (e.g., soccer, volleyball, basketball, rugby) – Require the development of tactical thinking in a context of cooperation with one’s teammates. Penalties in soccer, serving in volleyball, free throws in basketball and kicking in rugby require a type of concentration very similar to that of precision sports.

The mental toughness

Mental toughness is an essential attribute of successful athletes. Therefore, understanding and developing mental toughness should be the goal of all coaches and athletes. Too often, however, athletes lose this condition almost immediately after a few mistakes, which in themselves would not be so bad for the end result, but which become so because they begin to think that they will not be able to express themselves as they would have liked. Tenacity has been defined as the ability to achieve personal goals in the face of pressure from a wide range of stressors.

In relation to the development of attributes thought to be important for the development of the athlete’s mindset (conviction, focus), effective daily practice (pushing oneself to the limit), absolute level performance (managing competitive stress), and post-race coping (managing defeat), research has identified a number of key themes for developing and maintaining tenacity in elite athletes at different stages of their careers. These themes include the aspiration for mastery and competitiveness, the desire to achieve goals based on training and competition, and the commitment to use psychological skills and reflective practice to rationalize and manage competitive expectations, successes and failures.

Mental toughness can be developed through deliberate practice that focuses on physical, mental and emotional elements. Suggestions include:

  • Being physically prepared and in excellent shape, but with a balance of rest and recovery.
  • Display consistent body language in competition that conveys confidence and determination.
  • Know your ideal state of emotional readiness and know how to achieve it.
  • Incorporate mental skills such as positive self-talk into one’s training program.
  • Embrace and harness the feelings and emotions of competition.
  • Meet challenges with enthusiasm and conviction.
  • After mistakes or setbacks, learn to recover quickly by staying in the present and focusing on what you can control.

10 rules to practice to be successful

Brief vademecum for competing in opposition sports, one-on-one.

  1. Warm-up is the first step to success
  2. All opponents should be treated with decisiveness and will to win.
  3. A set is all about points lost and won. Stop.
  4. A mistake is worth a point. Think immediately about playing the next one.
  5. It is essential that you ALWAYS encourage yourself before playing each point.
  6. You only find out your opponent’s weaknesses if you play
  7. Think about how to make the points and not about the result
  8. In the break: breathe, encourage yourself and think
  9. Repeat: “Always strength (your name).”
  10. Play to be happy with you.

Brief vademecum for competing in opposition sports, one-on-one.

  1. Warm-up is the first step to success
  2. All opponents should be treated with decisiveness and will to win.
  3. A set is all about points lost and won. Stop.
  4. A mistake is worth a point. Think immediately about playing the next one.
  5. It is essential that you ALWAYS encourage yourself before playing each point.
  6. You only find out your opponent’s weaknesses if you play

10 rules to practice to be successful

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italiano.

Reality and fiction

Practical tips for coaches to improve concentration

  1. My opinion is that as a rule on the court, desirable behaviors and commitment should be reinforced.
  2. The athlete should understand that only if he/she is committed will he/she be able to learn and enjoy playing tennis.
  3. So feedback should be given first on commitment and then on technical quality.
  1. You could do drills where you say, “The purpose of this drill is to challenge you and teach you to react positively to the mistakes you will make.”
  2. The goal is to always show a positive approach to the game. You can say that at the end of each exercise they should always take a deep breath and repeat aloud what they need to do to do well in the next exercise.
  3. You can also have a competition where the person who was most positive in his or her reactions wins.
  1. Another way might be to stop a negative reaction right away, reminding them what they should do to be positive and stimulating them to do it right away and only then resume the exercise.
  2. This allows the young person to understand that how he acts influences how he prepares for the next action. And that when he is negative with himself, he does not do well afterwards.
  1. Teach how to prepare after a break. For example, if what you say is: stay dynamic, take a certain body position (or whatever). I would have this preparation performed before starting.
  2. The same goes for closed skills in sports. The serve in volleyball, penalty in soccer, free throw in basketball and could be a deep breath and mentally repeat the technical gesture (or other) and then have them perform a few times without really serving but just to teach how to serve this approach.

Is work in sports feasible for young with intellectual disabilities?

Employment is a vital component of community life for most working-age adults. In addition to being a social expectation in most cultures, paid work provides the financial means to support basic elements of citizenship, such as self-sufficiency in maintaining oneself, choice in participating in activities, and maintaining health and safety.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms “the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection from unemployment” for all human beings, emphasizing work as a basic need and a human right. In addition, employment provides an important channel for meaningful social participation, serving as a means to connect socially and professionally with others, to contribute to the immediate or wider community, and to develop one’s skills and knowledge.

For people with disabilities, the role of employment as a means of gaining access to valued social roles may be even more crucial. The lack of finances and connections outside the home creates a cycle of social isolation for many, and makes participation in social activities difficult. While social programs in most developed countries help ameliorate the lack of earned income, most do little to bring people with disabilities up to acceptable standards of living, and do not address the social isolation and low status associated with continued unemployment.

In Italy

In the world of work, inclusion is almost nonexistent. Only 31.4 percent of people with Down syndrome over 24 have jobs. Most of the employed (more than 60 percent), however, are not on standard employment contracts.

In most cases they work in social cooperatives, often without a proper contract. In addition, 70 percent of the cases receive no or minimal compensation, which is in any case less than the normal salary. Even more serious is the situation for people with autism: only 10% of those over 20 work.

“Over time,” according to Censis, “the sense of abandonment of families increases and the share of those who complain of not being able to count on anyone’s help in thinking about the future life prospects of their children with disabilities grows.

While among parents of children/adolescents with Down syndrome up to 15 years of age the share of parents thinking about an ‘after us’ in which their child will have an independent or semi-autonomous life varies between 30 percent and 40 percent, among parents of adults the share decreases to 12 percent. The share of parents of children/adolescents with autism who envision a future situation of even partial autonomy for their children (23%) decreases even more dramatically (5%) among families who have a child with autism aged 21 and older.”