Archive for the 'Libri' Category

Concentration and self-talk in football

Concentration and self-talk in football

Mirko Farina and Alberto Cei

Abstract

Concentration and self-talk are key (often under appreciated) factors underlying elite sport performance. In this chapter we define concentration and self-talk and look at some of their applications (section 1). We investigate their relation, their functions, and discuss their contribution to sport performance (sections 2). We focus on the specific role that concentration and self-talk play in football (sections 3; 4). So, we analyse how they improve players’ performance by, for instance: (i) providing a balanced level of anxiety, (ii). enhancing focus and attention, (iii).promoting decision making skill and decreasing reaction time, (iv). motivating to increase efforts, (v). improving coordination with teammates and, more generally, deterring behaviours that have negative consequences on the field. We then analyse (section 5) the peak moment of any football performance (the act of scoring a goal) and look at how to use concentration and self-talk to increase the chances of scoring a goal (or not conceding it). We conclude (section 6), by providing practitioners with a series of applied coaching strategies that can be used to build more successful coaching programs (both in team sports and in football).To do so, we first identify some crucial game factors influencing football performance (e.g. game momentum, stress, anxiety, the players’ capacity to re-focus on the present) and then look at how coaches can intervene to satisfy some of these games demands.

In: E. Konter, J. Beckmann, T.M. Loughead (eds.), Football Psychology. Oxford: Routledge.

Book review: Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology – 7th Edition

Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology – Seventh Edition

Robert S. Weinberg and Daniel Gould

Human Kinetics, pp. 663

This updated publication of Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology,Seventh Edition, includes web study guide, with technique videos, expert interviews and interactive activities.

Since many years, this is the leading handbook in sport and exercise psychology, now is back in a revised version, introducing new topics and updating the classical fields of this discipline. In this way, this textbook continues to play its role toward students and practitioners, providing a global and specific vision of sport and exercise psychology and drawing a strong bridge between research data and applied interventions.

In the first part of the book, Robert Weinberg and Daniel Gould describe in this 7thEdition a broader horizon of this field, with a section dedicated to talk about the present and future, centered on counseling and clinical training, the ethics and competence issues, the tension between academic and applied sport psychology, the problems related to the limited full-time positions for applied sport psychologists, the globalization of sport and exercise psychology, the advancement in technology and sport psychology-business link.

There is also a new chapter, in the third part of the book, titled  “Diversity and Inclusion” addressing topics related to gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and disability. New contents are introduced in different book part related to popular and emerging areas like grit, mindfulness, organizational sport psychology, and technology in sport psychology.

Modern-day practical examples and anecdotes have been choose to better illustrate the concepts. The references have been updated including more current publications.

The updated web study guide represents an important learning tool supporting the educational journey. It includes more than 100 engaging activities, allowing students to apply the concepts from the text by completing activities for each chapter:

  • Use actual sport and exercise psychology instruments to assess their skills
  • Determine how to respond to real-life scenarios (with short answers or essays)
  • Review research studies and experiments
  • Search the Internet for relevant information
  • Apply and test their understanding of principles and concepts of sport and exercise psychology

Many of the study guide activities are completed by audio and video clips showing how sport psychology consultants interact and talk with athletes and coaches to improve their experiences and competences. These clips have been registered by esteemed experts from the field discussing concepts and situations they have encountered and managed during their careers.

Book review: Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology 

Massimiliano L. Cappuccio (Ed.)

Cambridge, MIT Press, 2018

This landmark work is the first systematic collaboration between cognitive scientists and sports psychologists that considers the mind–body relationship from the perspective of athletic skill and sports practice. With twenty-six chapters by leading researchers, the book connects and integrates findings from fields that range from philosophy of mind to sociology of sports.

The chapters show not only that sports can tell scientists how the human mind works but also that the scientific study of the human mind can help athletes succeed. Sports psychology research has always focused on the themes, notions, and models of embodied cognition; embodied cognition, in turn, has found striking confirmation of its theoretical claims in the psychological accounts of sports performance and athletic skill. Athletic skill is a legitimate form of intelligence, involving cognitive faculties no less sophisticated and complex than those required by mathematical problem solving.

After presenting the key concepts necessary for applying embodied cognition to sports psychology, the book discusses skill disruption (the tendency to “choke” under pressure); sensorimotor skill acquisition and how training correlates to the development of cognitive faculties; the intersubjective and social dimension of sports skills, seen in team sports; sports practice in cultural and societal contexts; the notion of “affordance” and its significance for ecological psychology and embodied cognition theory; and the mind’s predictive capabilities, which enable anticipation, creativity, improvisation, and imagination in sports performance.

Contributors
Ana Maria Abreu, Kenneth Aggerholm, Salvatore Maria Aglioti, Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza, Duarte Araújo, Jürgen Beckmann, Kath Bicknell, Geoffrey P. Bingham, Jens E. Birch, Gunnar Breivik, Noel E. Brick, Massimiliano L. Cappuccio, Thomas H. Carr, Alberto Cei, Anthony Chemero, Wayne Christensen, Lincoln J. Colling, Cassie Comley, Keith Davids, Matt Dicks, Caren Diehl, Karl Erickson, Anna Esposito, Pedro Tiago Esteves, Mirko Farina, Giolo Fele, Denis Francesconi, Shaun Gallagher, Gowrishankar Ganesh, Raúl Sánchez-García, Rob Gray, Denise M. Hill, Daniel D. Hutto, Tsuyoshi Ikegami, Geir Jordet, Adam Kiefer, Michael Kirchhoff, Kevin Krein, Kenneth Liberman, Tadhg E. MacIntyre, Nelson Mauro Maldonato, David L. Mann, Richard S. W. Masters, Patrick McGivern, Doris McIlwain, Michele Merritt, Christopher Mesagno, Vegard Fusche Moe, Barbara Gail Montero, Aidan P. Moran, David Moreau, Hiroki Nakamoto, Alberto Oliverio, David Papineau, Gert-Jan Pepping, Miriam Reiner, Ian Renshaw, Michael A. Riley, Zuzanna Rucinska, Lawrence Shapiro, Paula Silva, Shannon Spaulding, John Sutton, Phillip D. Tomporowski, John Toner, Andrew D. Wilson, Audrey Yap, Qin Zhu, Christopher Madan.

Book Review: La nostra casa è in fiamme

La nostra casa è in fiamme

Greta Thunberg, Svante Thunberg, Beata Ernman e Malena Ernman

Milano, Mondadori, pp.233, 2019

 

“Risolvere la crisi climatica è la sfida più grande e complessa che l’Homo Sapiens abbia mai dovuto affrontare. La soluzione principale, tuttavia, è così semplice che persino un bambino è in grado di capirla. Dobbiamo bloccare le emissioni di gas serra.

O lo facciamo, o non lo facciamo.

Voi dite che nella vita non c’è solo il bianco e il nero.

Ma è una bugia. Una bugia molto pericolosa.

O evitiamo un aumento della temperatura di 1,5 gradi, oppure no.

O evitiamo di innescare una reazione a catena irreversibile che sfuggirà a qualsiasi controllo umano, oppure no.

O scegliamo di voler esistere ancora come civiltà, oppure no.

E questo è bianco o neo.

Non ci sono zone grigie quando si parla di sopravvivenza.

Dobbiamo compiere una scelta.

Possiamo avviare un’azione trasformatrice che salvaguardi le condizioni di vita delle generazioni future.

Oppure possiamo continuare a fare quello che abbiamo sempre fatto, e fallire.

La decisione spetta a voi, a me”(p.13-14).

Greta Thunberg ha parlato in questo modo ai grandi del mondo, a Davos nel gennaio 2019, convinta che “nessuno è troppo piccolo per fare la differenza”. Esprime con altrettanto chiarezza cosa si aspetta dagli adulti:

“Gli adulti continuano a dire: Dobbiamo dare speranza ai giovani.

Ma io non voglio la vostra speranza.

Non voglio che siate ottimisti.

Voglio che siate in preda al panico.

Voglio che proviate la paura che io provo ogni giorno.

E poi voglio che agiate.

Voglio che agiate come fareste in un’emergenza.

Voglio che agiate come se la nostra casa fosse in fiamme. Perché lo è” (p.15).

Il libro “La nostra casa è in fiamme” da cui questi brani sono presi è stato scritto dalla famiglia Thunberg, madre, padre e due figlie. Parla del dolore vissuto da questa famiglia, della scoperta dei disturbi gravi delle figlie e di come le vite di tutti abbiamo attraversato lunghi periodi di difficoltà a vivere la vita quotidiana e a trovare modi per affrontarli con azioni il cui l’effetto positivo non era certo. E’ un libro che parla nello stesso tempo di amore per la vita e di dolore e talvolta anche di rassegnazione di fronte alla continua frustrazione di trovare soluzioni accettabili per risolvere i problemi legati all’alimentazione, alla perdita costante di peso, al mutismo e alla disperazione che emergono da una quotidianità per tutti psicologicamente devastante. La scrittura è stata per la famiglia un aiuto, non avrebbero dovuto scriverlo, afferma la mamma, scrivere di quanto sono stati da schifo così come il pianeta è da schifo, però sono stati costretti a raccontare la loro vita: “Ed è ora che tutti noi cominciamo a parlare di come stiamo. Dobbiamo iniziare a dire come stanno le cose” (p.97).

Nel libro ci viene spesso ricordato che abbiamo separato la cultura dalla natura, mettendo al primo posto l’apparenza; dall’uso smodato dell’aria condizionata, alle centinaia di negozi nei centri commerciali alla distruzione dei mari, delle foreste e dei ghiacciai.

E’ un atto di accusa contro noi, adulti, che abbiamo creato una società in cui chi pensa in modo differente non trova spazio per cambiare questa mentalità distruttiva. “O vengono bullizzati o si chiudono in casa. Oppure devono andare come me in scuole speciali dove non ci sono insegnanti” (p.162).

Lo “sciopero della scuola per il clima” di una solitaria e giovanissima studentessa davanti al parlamento svedese è diventato un messaggio globale che ha coinvolto in tutta Europa centinaia di migliaia di ragazzi che seguono il suo esempio in occasione dei #Fridaysforfuture. E’ il modo per attivare i media e coloro che possono influenzare le politiche globali a prendere finalmente sul serio questo tema, che è il problema della nostra civiltà e dalla cui soluzione dipenderà il futuro della terra.

Greta ha dato inizio a una rivoluzione che sembra diffondersi sempre più tra i giovani, una battaglia da combattere per ridare un futuro alle nuove generazioni che viene sottratto al ritmo di 100 milioni di barili di petrolio consumati ogni giorno. Quello di Greta è il grido di aiuto dei giovani che vogliono convincerci a fare qualcosa per salvare il pianeta prima del raggiungimento del punto di non ritorno.

Le plusvalenze finte della Serie A possono determinare il fallimento di molte squadre

Molte squadre di serie A contabilizzano delle plusvalenza, alcune fittizie, per tenersi a galla e non far figurare il rosso nel bilancio. Il calcio italiano (dati al 30 giugno del 2018)  è in rosso “solo” di 65 milioni, meglio dei 315 milioni persi in media ogni anno dal 2010. I numeri però sono in parte “truccati”. A tenere a galla la Pallone Spa non sono i biglietti venduti, gli assegni degli sponsor o i diritti tv ma i guadagni garantiti dalla compravendita di giocatori: una girandola di scambi – talvolta a prezzi fuori da ogni logica di mercato – che ha regalato ai 20 club di Serie A 724 milioni di entrate extra (il doppio del 2016). Un tesoretto che vale ormai quasi un terzo dei ricavi del pianeta calcio.
Dietro questa pioggia d’oro c’è un po’ di tutto: molte plusvalenze sono figlie di investimenti azzeccati. Basta pensare ai 15 milioni incassati dalla Sampdoria cedendo Milan Skriniar all’Inter o i 17 guadagnati dalla Roma girando Emerson Palmieri al Chelsea. Alcune invece sono delle vere operazioni fatte modificare il bilancio; queste operazioni vedono calciatori della Primavera venduti a prezzi super. Un gioco delle tre tavolette buono per far tornare i conti di fine anno (chi incassa contabilizza subito i guadagni, chi paga spalma la spesa su più anni di bilancio) ma che rischia di trasformarsi in uno tsunami finanziario per un campionato dove gli stipendi dei calciatori si mangiano da soli il 68% delle entrate reali e i debiti sono oltre 3 miliardi”.

Sono sempre accadute situazioni di questo tipo in cui si creano finti profitti per mantenere attivi i bilanci e ciò che appare non è vero.

A questo riguardo, ad esempio, “… già nel XVIII secolo la moltiplicazione delle società e il rapido aumento del capitale sottoscritto diedero luogo a gravi inconvenienti che provocarono misure legislative da parte del Parlamento inglese intese a limitarne gli abusi. A questa decisione si era giunti in seguito alla truffa perpetrata dalla Compagnia del Mare del Sud fondata nel 1711 da Robert Harley e John Blunt. La storia ha inizio quando  a questa società venne affidato il monopolio per tutti i commerci con il Sud America, mentre in cambio questa Compagnia avrebbe dovuto assumersi parte dei debiti che l’Inghilterra aveva contratto durante la guerra di successione per la corona di spagnola. La Compagnia del Mare del Sud si configurava in termini di organizzazione finanziaria che tramite il commercio delle risorse minerarie e di schiavi avrebbe attratto numerosi investitori. In realtà, quei territori erano detenuti dalla Spagna,  che aveva permesso all’Inghilterra un solo viaggio l’anno in cambio di una quota parte dei profitti.  Ciò nonostante, le continue voci che fiorivano a Londra sull’apertura in Sud America di nuove rotte commerciali, di nuovi porti e di navi che avrebbero portato oro e argento sollecitarono ugualmente l’ingordigia degli investitori. Purtroppo, nel 1718 la Spagna e l’Inghilterra  entrarono nuovamente in guerra  e gli attesi guadagni non si poterono concretizzare a causa di questo evento. Ciò però non impedì agli speculatori di presentare ai loro probabili clienti gli incredibili guadagni che avrebbero avuto al termine del conflitto. A presunta conferma della sua buona salute, nel 1719 la Compagnia propose di assumersi tutto il debito pubblico del governo inglese e l’anno successivo il Parlamento glielo accordò. Questi fatti fecero accorrere numerosi investitori che comprarono le azioni, facendone così incrementare di molto il valore e questo avvenne sino alla primavera del 1720. Nello stesso periodo, in virtù del successo ottenuto dalla Compagnia del Mare del Sud nell’attrarre capitali, altre Compagnie sorsero per magnificare i favolosi proventi che si avrebbero avuto dallo sviluppo del traffico con il Nuovo Mondo, nel commercio del pesce piuttosto che in quello del legno. Le azioni emesse passarono da un valore di 175 sterline a febbraio, a quello di 380 in marzo, a 520 in maggio sino a raggiungere il picco massimo di 1000 sterline alla fine di giugno…ma a settembre piombarono a 135 sterline. A questo punto le ricchezze di molti erano state dilapidate sino a scomparire, poiché i guadagni promessi erano rimasti tali sulla carta”.

Focused under pressure in tennis

Risultati immagini per concentrazione nel tennis

Book review: Running flow

Running flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Philip Latter and Christine Weinkauff Duranso

Human Kinetics

2017, pp.189

As long distance runner I know very well the difficulties to maintain the focus on my run, refreshing in the same time the kind of mood which represents the positive background where to design the pleasure to run also when I am mentally and physically tired. So I learned that what happens in those is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has called mental flow, the running flow.

For these reasons, I have been immediately captured by this book, Running flow, written by him with fellow psychologist Christine Weinkauff and running journalist and coach Philip Latter. It’s the first book devoted to this state of mind for runners, to learn how to reach and coach this mind condition and most important how to maintain it during the worst moments. Till some years ago, the flow experiences was studied only in the top level performances and it were described as something which happens spontaneously and difficult to replicate in a voluntary manner. Now we know, that it is something we can train through specific exercises not only to improve our performance but also, and maybe more important, to live more enjoyable experiences through the running.

“Flow refers to an optimal experience during which the mind and body work together while honed on a task. Flow is often associated with peak performance” (p.16). I remember when running 100km Ultramarathon “Il Passatore” I reached the 79°km and in that moment I started to think: “Ok; focus on the light of  your lamp in the road, and run till the end.”  I have had only this unique thought for the next 21km. For me this has been my flow experience. This is what it’s written in the book when the authors talk about the 9 components of flow (clear goals, challenge-skills balance, unambiguous feedback, focused attention, merging of action and awareness, sense of control, loss of self-consciousness, distortion of time and intrinsic motivation). The first four dimensions represent the flow antecedents and the other six the outcomes of the flow process.

In the book, it’s well explained that the flow state it comes out when the athletes live a condition of optimal self-control associated to an efficient arousal level.

Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues describe five ways through which one athlete is able to cultivate one’s self into an autotelic person: set goals with a clear and immediate feedback, become immersed in the particular activity, be focused to what is happening in the here and now, learn to enjoy immediate experience and proportion one’s skills to the challenge at hand.

In my opinion the strength of this book is evidently to be applied to one specific sport (long distance running) but the stories of the athletes and the practical information the runners can find to improve their focus and running with this state of mind are absolutely important.

Mindfulness can reduce the burnout

Chunxiao Li et al., (2019).Mindfulness and Athlete Burnout: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 449.

This review aims to identify, appraise, and synthesize studies reporting the relationship between mindfulness and athlete burnout and the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on athlete burnout. few variables may account for the relationship between mindfulness and athlete burnout.

Gustafsson et al. (2015) found that mindfulness had an indirect effect on athlete burnout through negative/positive affect. As negative affect has been viewed as an indicator of burnout susceptibility (Lemyre et al. 2006), mindfulness is likely to prevent burnout through adjusting athletes’ affect. Zhang and colleagues (2016) proposed another possible mechanism. They claimed that athletes with high levels of mindfulness tend to have low levels of experiential avoidance (i.e., willingness to avoid negative experience because of the distress brought on by the experience, which may in turn minimize the maladaptive influences of stressors and other negative factors on burnout.

Book review: Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Risultati immagini per Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Massimiliano Cappuccio (Ed.)

Cambridge, MIT Press

2019, 26 chapters, 740 pages

 

Although sport is played with the body, it is won in the mind.

(Aidan Moran, Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2004)

From the Introduction (Massimiliano Cappuccio)

Today, to clarify the mission and the scope of sport psychology requires understanding the deep intertwinement of “body” and “mind” within the framework of cognitive science and cognitive philosophy. That is one of the reasons a joint venture between sport psychologists and cognitive scientists—including, importantly, cognitive philosophers—is a must.

This volume is composed of seven sections. With the help of multidisciplinary teams of researchers, each section explores a particular area of thematic interest situated at the intersection of embodied cognitive science and sport psychology.

Section 1 presents the key notions and concepts necessary to lay the theoretical foundation of our interdisciplinary discourse. The very meaning of embodied cognition, and the reasons that make it relevant to the theory and practice of sport psychology, are introduced and discussed.

Section 2 tackles one of the issues that most seriously concerns athletic performance: the nature of embodied skill, its cognitive preconditions, and the factors that disrupt it. A correct understanding of the roles played by attention, self-awareness, and conscious- ness is key to developing a consistent theoretical account of both sport performance in optimal conditions and its failure in pressure-filled environments (the so-called choking effect).

Section 3 talks about the role of sport pedagogy inspired by the embodied theory, how cognitive enhancement is facilitated when accompanied by an appropriate regime of physical exercise and training.

Chapter 11 investigates an issue that is hotly debated by scientists and various categories of people working in the sport business: What is talent, and how can it be identified? Is it an inherited gift or the result of long and hard training? According to the authors philosopher Mirko Farina and sport psychologist Alberto Cei, the answer suggested by embodied cognition is articulated and complex: appropriate practice and intense experience during optimal periods of development, characterized by higher rates of neuroplasticity, can express and maximize the innate potential if accompanied by environments conducive to learning and well-designed training methods.

Section 4 is dedicated to the intersubjective and social dimension of sport skills, with a particular emphasis on team sports and other competitive athletic disciplines.

Section 5 discusses the best research methods in the social sciences for developing the sociological, anthropological, and cultural side of sport practices.

Section 6 deepens the theoretical background: according to the ecological approach to perception, objects are not just neutral sources of visual information, but “invite” the actions allowed by their shapes and their intrinsic possibilities of manipulation.

Section 7 inquires about the source of the mind’s predictive capabilities. This inquiry, central for both the tradition of philosophical psychology and the future of embodied cognition, is particularly debated now that predictive processing theory promises to unify the understanding of various mental functions (perception, imagination, memory, inference) under the same general Bayesian mechanics: the brain’s fundamental goal is to reduce the mismatch between sensory input and the corresponding predictions generated by feedforward systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: Promoting Active Lifestyles in Schools

Promoting Active Lifestyles in Schools

Jo Harris e Lorraine Cale

Human Kinetics 

2018, 128 pages

Promoting physical activity and consequently an active lifestyle has become in recent years an increasingly important topic to talk about, whereas instead we seem to be driven to lead an increasingly sedentary life. It then becomes essential to talk about movement when it is related to children and in a broader sense with young people: we know too well which and the negative results of the lack of physical activity, from the likely increase in weight to limitations in self-knowledge and to interactions with other peers.

I’m happy when books dedicated to this theme are published. At this regard, the book by Jo Harris and Lorraine Cale, entitled Promoting Active Lifestyles in Schools, is a stimulus for everyone, not only for teachers of physical education but also for parents and school managers or sports organizations, to ask what and how we can do more and better to promote a mentality in young people aimed at finding movement as a form of well-being, fun, play, collaboration but also challenge with themselves and their own peers.

It is a very well-articulated book. In the first part are presented topics about how to promote an active lifestyle in UK schools with activities promoting health, movement and fitness in the age group of infancy and adolescence. Particular attention is paid to the role of the school in promoting this approach to the movement and the contribution that physical education provides to the promotion of personal well-being is also outlined.

The other two parts of the book underline the monitoring modalities that should be carried out by the school relating to the three areas of health, physical activity and physical fitness. Furthermore, the third part highlights the learning of young people in the area of ​​health enhancing an active lifestyle. The learning of the young is strictly related to their age. The group age start from the age of 5-7 years going ahead with periods of two/three years up to 15-16 years.

The book is aimed at school teachers but it is certainly a useful reading for all those interested in promoting a physically active lifestyle among young people.