Archive for the 'Allenatori' Category

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How should a coach handle the emotions?

A question from a coach. To manage our emotions… What have I to do?
First recognize them, then work on them. Could it be useful to talk with other colleagues who can help me with an external, more objective view of my emotional reactions?

An action plan in 6 points:

  1. Comparison with colleagues on how to handle disappointment rather than enthusiasm is useful.
  2. It is decisive to accept what we feel at that moment, even if we don’t like it.
  3. Only assess our behavior in that situation and never extend it to our person in global terms.
  4. Reflecting on alternative ways of reacting to the event for which we are, for example, angry
  5. Decide how to behave the next time a similar situation arises
  6. The use of abdominal breathing, paying particular attention to lengthen the exhalation phase (counting up to 7), can be useful to regain self-control.

51° anniversary of the International Journal of Sport Psychology

This year is the 51st year since the International Journal of Sport Psychology (IJSP) was founded in 1970. We will publish two special issues, the first has a look back at the history of sport psychology. This orientation has been chosen to keep alive the memory of how we have come to the present development and which were the most prominent players in this path. Today we have more than 10 journals dedicated to this discipline, which are also associated with the many other sports science journals that regularly host contributions of a psychological nature. Throughout the 1970s the only magazine available was IJSP, at least until the publication in 1979 of the Journal of Sport Psychology founded by Rainer Martens. The second issue is dedicated more to the future, identifying not only some trends in development but also how research on some classic themes is reorienting itself according to the changes in our society.

IJSP has celebrated itself once again in all these years. Ferruccio Antonelli made his debut in this regard:

“This special issue celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Journal and the fifteenth anniversary of the Society. It will readers its readers while European Section of ISSP – the FEPSAC – is holding its fifth Congress (September 1979) in Varna, Bulgaria, and celebrating its tenth anniversary” (p.149).

The authors of this special issue have been invited to provide a contribute on one of the seven topics proposed:

  • Psychological management of top-athletes (J. Salmela)
  • Coaches and sport psychology (B.S. Rushall)
  • Female sport today: psychological consideration (D. Harris)
  • Psychology of children in sport (F.L. Smoll and L.M. Levebvre)
  • Critical issues in the application of clinical psychology in the sport setting (B.C. Ogilvie)
  • Sport psychology foe handicapped (H. Rieder)
  • Research in sport psychology (R.N. Singer and J.E. Kane)

The publication of this special issue was a success. It’s well documented by the congratulation letters the authors sen to Ferruccio Antonelli and that I have.

  • “My congratulation to the special issue. It is really very good one” (Miroslav Vanek, ISSP President).“Congratulations on the Tenth Anniversary Special Issue of the International Journal of Sport Psychology. I hope that you have had good reactions and reviews for your efforts” (Dorothy Harris)
  • “Thank you for sending a copy of the anniversary issue of IJSP. You are to be commended for initiating such an ambitious project and congratulated for the quality of the final product” (Frank L. Smoll).
  • “Each issue of the International Journal of Sport Psychology seems to get better and better” (Robert N. Singer).

Certainly also IJSP will have to renew itself as it is happening in the world of research to face the new challenges of the next decade. In any case, we are now proud that an Italian publisher, Luigi Pozzi publisher, has kept its commitment to lead the magazine to the point of being spread in all continents and to have an Editorial Board reflecting this spread in the world.

I would like to thank Sidonio Serpa and Fabio Lucidi for leading with me the production of these special issues, and I hope it will receive the same positive reception that Ferruccio Antonelli had in 1970.

The focus is specific to each sport

I keep hearing say to athletes: “be careful” or “focus.”

I compare these corrections to players’ frustration failures in football. When I don’t know what to do, I use them even if they’re useless.

These are the wrong words, in those moments we are attentive to the wrong things, because the human being is always attentive to something. The question is whether it is paying attention to something that is useful to carry out the task or whether it is hindering its effective execution.

The second reason why it is pointless is that the terms are too global, devoid of specificity. Nobody changes because they are told a global word: careful, calm, decisive, think.

The third reason concerns the specificity of attention. Every sport requires a certain type of attention, which should be trained and of which athletes and coaches should be aware.

To begin to understand something, I report a table with a summary description of the attentional requests in specific sports.


Quando focalizzarsi

Effetto aspettato

Arti marziali


Ogni volta che c’è sufficiente distanza fra i due avversari da permettere un respiro di 2 secondi. Istruzione mentale singola (esempio, spostamento da un punto all’altro).


Immediatamente prima di colpire la palla. Focus viene raggiunto tramite la ripetizione mentale del colpo. Momentaneo adeguamento della respirazione e della tensione muscolare, quindi orientamento dell’attenzione verso la palla che s’intende colpire.


Negli attimi precedenti l’inizio della partita o dopo un’interruzione di gioco o in seguito a una rete. Rapido controllo mentale e adeguamento del livello di tensione. Messa a fuoco su una singola istruzione tecnica o tattica (esempio: “Tieni gli occhi sulla palla,”Stai tra l’attaccante e la rete). Direzionare l’attenzione durante la partita in funzione del gioco.







Immediatamente dopo avere visualizzato mentalmente un tiro, a questo punto eseguirlo. Adeguare la tensione nella parte superiore del corpo, soprattutto nelle spalle. Rilassare la tensione nelle gambe mentre si espira e concentrarsi su un singolo aspetto rilevante per il tiro. Occhio sulla pallina.
Pallavolo Immediatamente prima di battere.



Nelle pause tra i punti.

Regolare la tensione delle spalle e del collo. Istruzione tecnica e dirigere l’attenzione sulla palla.

Focalizzarsi per controllare la tensione, respiro e velocità di recupero. Subito dopo spostare l’attenzione verso l’esterno per controllare la posizione dei giocatori.



Immediatamente prima di salire in pedana.



Durante le pause dell’incontro.

Regolare la tensione muscolare e la respirazione. Darsi una singola istruzione tecnica e tattica.

Concentrazione sull’aspetto del compito più importante. Eseguire un respiro profondo.

Tennis Immediatamente prima di servire. Regolare tensione muscolare spalle e collo. Istruzione tecnica e tattica singola. Occhio sulla pallina.


Too much facebook and doping among runners

I read long excerpts from Carlo Esposito’s book on doping in the amateur running race entitled “Inferno 2019″. It documents what a terrible thing happens, bringing those who practice it closer to the multi-dopaths of top sport.

The author highlights the role of facebook in amplifying this phenomenon. This juxtaposition is not surprising, since it is a container used to cultivate the pathological narcissism of these people. The performance improvements that are achieved with doping and drug abuse become a way to gain status and popularity. Facebook is the space for spreading this self-image.

Doping like financial fraud is based on the concept of deception. I described how it happens in my book “The Lords of Traps”. Here I quote the definition.

For cognitive psychology “a deception is an act or trait of an M organism that has the purpose of not letting an I organism have true knowledge that is relevant to that organism, and that does not reveal that purpose” (Castelfranchi e Poggi, 1998, p.55). In this sense, it is an action that makes sense to perform only if one is inserted within a certain relational and social context, since it is precisely in that context that M and I subjects live, for whom fraud takes on meaning.

The concept of act referred to when talking about fraud essentially concerns conscious processes, carried out intentionally. In fact, the act of doping consists essentially in actions that are characterized in volunteer terms in the search for fraud strategies and ways to implement them. One of the disturbing and sensational aspects of this phenomenon certainly concerns the great social importance of the deception warped against those who, in top-level sport, admire these athletes for their exceptional sporting performance. This highlights another crucial component of the fraud process: the relevance of deception to the deceived. In fact, the lack of knowledge on the part of others, whether they are mere fans or opponents, of the real condition of the athlete, occurs through the theft of essential information, preventing the correct evaluation of the performance of doped athletes. In other words, it is made to believe the false, to the detriment of making the truth known.

Finally, the process of deception includes a further aspect, related to not letting the deceived know that he is being deceived. When you falsify, you do exactly this kind of operation, you give false information, with the declared intention of making people believe it to be true, and you take actions to convince the deceived of the goodness of what is being claimed.

Regardless of the fact that these abuses concern doping carried out to provide excellent performance at the Olympics, rather than that more simply practiced by recreational athletes, all the frauds have three elements in common that when compared with those used by Castelfranchi and Poggi to describe the process of deception are thus associated:

  • they are carried out in a secret way and this dimension can be attributed to the factor called meta-deception.
  • violate the relationship of trust between those who carries it out and the organisation/sporting environment that is a victim of it and, therefore, are based on the non-truth factor
  • are intended to bring economic and/or social benefits to fraudsters and, therefore, are identified in terms of their specific purpose.

Sport for young people with intellectual disabilities is not possible at the moment

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the odds to access sports were stacked much higher for youth with a disability than the general population. Physical activity levels are 4.5 times lower for youth with a disability, and the obesity rate is 38% higher for these children, according to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity & Disability (NCHPAD).

Now, as youth sports start to return from COVID-19 in some states, the gap to access opportunities may grow even wider. The disabled community is taking a more conservative approach on when and how to play sports again because of health concerns.

I n the area of intellectual disability that I deal with  the project Calcio Insieme, we were unable to organize the summer camps precisely because of the difficulty in maintaining physical distance with these children. 

“People with disabilities are very much being more cautious,” said Bob Lujano, NCHPAD inclusion specialist and a former Paralympic rugby athlete. “There’s great fear of, if I do come down with (COVID-19) and I go to a hospital with only one or two ventilators, am I going to be passed over because Joe Smith, a 25-year-old without a disability, will get taken care of first?”

“Being ‘first’ in your community should be avoided,” Move United said in its return to play guidelines. “Take the benefit of some time to learn from other effective strategies, plan carefully, train your providers and form local partnerships that help prepare for the safest possible environment.”

Disability alone may not be related to higher risk for contracting COVID-19 or having severe illness, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, CDC says some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk because of their underlying medical conditions. According to CDC, adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.

One significant concern about returning to sports is maintaining the safety of staff and volunteers in cases where youth need help to play.

Experts told The New York Times that one way to teach new concepts during COVID-19 to kids with intellectual disabilities is through “social stories.” These are individualized short stories that pair simple language with pictures used for children with disorders such as autism. They also recommend using color-coded circles to teach social distancing – such as red for strangers, orange for people you would normally wave to, green and yellow for casual and close friends, and blue for people you can hug, such as parents or siblings.

We have to be cautious, as they say, with Roma Cares and Accademia di Calcio Integrato we are planning what the return to football will look like for our young people with autism from September, the beginning of the 2020/21 football season. It will not be easy but it is our will not to stop this activity so important for these young people, the families and for us who have been organizing it for 5 years.

We will need more space and more hours to cover the same number of young people, so as to respect the physical distance and the possibility to play football which requires a large and structured space.

Me too back to the court

This weekend first exit post lockdowm in Marina di Massa at Accademia Tennis Apuano. Two intense days but passed quickly with coaches and 8 tennis players. Five hours of training in the court per day and two hours to talk about the work done together in the court and watching videos on the concentration on the court.

They all worked hard and certainly staying with them directly in the court during training allowed the players to integrate the psychological training into what they do every day, making them aware of how this type of preparation is indivisible from the daily practice of tennis.

Track & field and training after coronavirus

The blog “10 goals to train with pleasure and success” continues to be diffuse in Italian sport.

Now it’s on Italian track and field federation web site.

To remember that life is a matter of cm

The team is facing the most difficult and important match of the entire season and its coach (Al Pacino) is in the situation of having to find reasons why his players provide the performance they are capable of. It is obviously a speech that symbolizes those situations in life in which winning or losing depend on a few inches in football and something more that has been done or simply having dedicated more time to an activity. How many times in relation to the feelings that people feel, they regret not having said some extra words, not having dedicated just a little more time to understanding, not having spoken to that person who then made a desperate actions, for having thrown away their time. These are the inches that Al Pacino talk about of that distinguish those who want to win or lose, those who want to be satisfied or those who want to be victim. Let’s not forget it, let’s always remember it!

I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today, and either, we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play. Until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time. Now I can’t do it for ya, I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I’ve pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?”

George Floyd protests

George Floyd: nelle sue ultime parole, il ricordo della madre ...

Black track stars talk about racism in US

Black Track Athletes Share Their Encounters With Racism in America

A roundtable of stars at the core of the sport detail their experiences with racism, what it’s like to be Black in America and their hopes and fears for the future.
The violent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the ensuing protests across the country have propelled nationwide activism and amplification of Black voices. Over the last week and a half, people have entered a period of self-reflection, reading, and talking and listening to the experiences of Black people in America. The conversations are new (and sometimes uncomfortable) and they are happening everywhere, including in a house of nine professional athletes training in Boulder, Colo., for next year’s Olympics.
Amazing interviews and article by Sport Illustrated.