Archive for the 'Mental coaching' Category

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Choose a heroic model

In 1647, Baltasar Gracian, a Jesuit, published a small book containing 300 short writings, useful in facing the dangers of life and providing free souls with a path to make their mark in civil and political life.
Here is one for reflection.

Choose a heroic model

More to emulate than to imitate. There are examples of greatness, living texts of reputation. Each in his role measure himself against those who are first, not so much to follow them as to surpass them.Alexander did not mourn Achilles when he saw his tomb, but himself, not yet blossoming into fame. There is no thing that awakens ambitions in the soul like the clarification of the fame of others: the same that, while destroying envy, feeds nobility.

Gracian interweaves here two different anecdotes illustrated by Plutarch in the parallel Lives of Alexander and Caesar: Alexander the Great does not weep in front of Achilles’ tomb, but honors his memory declaring him lucky to have had a faithful friend in life and a singer of his deeds after death; Caesar, instead, wept while reading a book about Alexander the Great because even though he had reached the same age, he had not yet equaled his fame.

The routine relevance

The routine prevents a decrease in performance after a break [Warm-Up Decrement, WUD].

This decrement is particularly noticeable in sports where there are short breaks in play, at the end of which athletes must immediately deliver high-level performance.

Ttime-out in team sports:

  1. Often dictated not only by technical reasons, but by the reason to block a favorable phase of play of the opponents. These breaks determine a reduction in activation, which manifests itself through a temporary loss of that optimal internal condition that allows to provide an effective performance.
  2. The athlete before resuming the game must readjust his internal system and his attention to the demands of the performance so as to be ready to respond again.

The best warm-up is one that encompasses the critical elements of the performance to be performed.

Indicated in preparation for performing closed skills where a high degree of environmental stability is present and the athlete can carefully prepare to select the response and execute it.

It has been shown that experienced athletes, compared to subjects of lower levels, devote more time to the routine

Athletes who have participated in the Olympics:

  1. in wrestling, athletes who have won a medal systematically implement specific pre-race routines for the duration of the Olympic tournament, while those in the same U.S. team with inferior results used it much less continuously (they did not perform it before matches they considered easy or undemanding)
  2. in swimmers, their routines are divided into two parts, the first dedicated to the race plan and the second to its implementation.

Self-Motivation: Three good reasons & some strategies

Renato Villalta with the Italian basketball team played 207 games, ranking 7th in the attendance chart and scoring 2265 points, 3rd overall among scorers; he participated in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, winning the silver medal, after losing the final 77-86 against Yugoslavia. In 1983 in France, in Limoges, again with the National team, he won the gold medal at the European Championships and the silver medal at the Mediterranean Games. In 1984, together with his national teammates, he finished in 5th place at the Los Angeles Olympics. In 1985 he gained another medal at the European Championships in Germany, winning the bronze medal behind the USSR and Czechoslovakia. The following year, at the World Championships in Spain, the team placed sixth.

Why should I train mentally?

Many athletes and coaches still do not understand this simple concept.

“Psychological skills training refers to the systematic and consistent practice of psychological or mental skills for the purpose of increasing performance, enhancing enjoyment, or achieving high levels of satisfaction in sport and physical activity.”

Instead, many have a conception based on:

  1. Talent doesn’t need it
  2. I don’t need it for now
  3. It’s not for me
  4. I should just have a little more confidence
  5. The important thing is the training
  6. These are things that you learn when you compete
  7. I only need one experience
  8. I already have a coach who tells me what to do
  9. I tried that and it didn’t help
  10. I already know what to do

E- Sports: stress & videogames

Over the past century in sport psychology, stress has been a major topic of study.

One of the most cited definitions is by Selye (1956), who defines stress as “a nonspecific, activation response exhibited by the organism when faced with an unforeseen need or adapting to a disorganizing novelty.” Much is understood about the influence of stress in sports performance; however, little is known about what happens in an e-sports performance.

The most recent systematic review on stress in gamers comes from the University of Leipzig (Leis & Lautenbach, 2020), which collects 17 studies on stress in e-sports. Stress stems from:

  • internal factors – age, gender, previous experiences
  • external factors – game environment, presence of audience, game results

Stress in e-sports should be monitored at 3 different moments: baseline (resting condition), competition (the event) and post competition (post event). The levels of stress and activation depending on the type of video game and if it is a competitive or non-competitive session.

To lknow more read the full article by Emiliano Bernardi on Horizon Psytech & Games

Football and autism

There are few research studies conducted on the topic of soccer and autism, below are the studies on youth with ASD presented in an article by Vetri and Roccella (2020). On the Playing Field to Improve: A Goal for Autism. Medicine, 56.

Hayward et al. (2016) investigated a group of 18 children with ASD (7-11 years old) who participated in a 16-week community-based program The authors assessed physical activity outcomes such as pre- and post-football skills, participant attendance, and parent satisfaction. The purpose of their soccer program was to teach children with ASD the basic soccer skills while giving them the opportunity to have fun and interact with peers. The results supported the feasibility and effectiveness of a soccer program because they showed improvements in shot accuracy and agility on the 15-yard line. Parents’ overall satisfaction was very good and perceived their children as more active and enjoying playing soccer

Calcio Insieme is a project promoted by the Fondazione Roma Cares (a non-profit organization linked to AS ROMA and the sport association Accademia di Calcio Integrato). Cei et al. (2017) recruited 30 children with ASD (6-13 years old) to study the effects of a soccer-based training program. All children underwent initial and final quantitative motor assessment. The authors used a qualitative approach to assess psychosocial skills at the beginning and end of the training period through interviews with their parents and teachers of the youth. Results showed that parents and teachers perceived most children with ASD to have improved psychosocial and communication skills. Motor skills assessed quantitatively showed significant improvement in the following six out of ten tests: walking between cones, running between cones, rolling on the mat, jumping high (three 20/30 cm obstacles), grasping (five throws from 1 to 5 m away from the instructor), and staying balanced on the jellyfish.

A third research was conducted by Chambers and Radley (2020) who used a different approach. preferring a peer-mediated intervention to promote skill acquisition in children with ASD. The authors selected three male students with autism (ages 11 and 12, respectively) and instructed a 14-year-old peer interventionist common to all three participants. The soccer skills assessed were throwing, kicking, and defense. During the training sessions, the peer explained and demonstrated soccer skills to the children with ASD and provided technical instruction after practice to correct errors. At the end of the study, the three participants rapidly acquired the coached soccer skills and accuracy in executing the skills persisted over time, in the absence of any peer intervention.

Prandelli leaves Fiorentina bench

Juventus is victim of its successes

Juventus seems to be a victim of its own successes (9 consecutive championships won). The team has changed several players, but when you join a club with these results behind you, you can be prone to assume an arrogant mentality, centered on the results of the near past, but not belonging to the present. In this way, you can play a game with a mental approach to wait for the expected positive result, victory. This approach can also explain the mistakes of superficial behaviors committed by Arthur against Benevento and by Bentancur in the Champions League that gave away a goal to the opponents.

A typical mistake of arrogance lies in the condition that the normal rules for this team do not apply. The successes of past years can blind the team, prone them to believe that a winning solution is always available anyway.
Another mistake of this mentality is the belief in one’s own ability to solve games. It is certainly a positive belief, but only if it is coupled with the necessary commitment, otherwise it remains only an optimistic hope.

A third error of this arrogant mentality lies in the explanations provided by the coach, Andrea Pirlo, who interprets, at least publicly, these negative results with some errors of individual players. It is obvious that there have been mistakes, but in a team these errors of mentality of the single players manifest themselves when there is a lack of team cohesion in the commitment with which to face the matches. There has been a lack of player-leaders who must maintain high levels of focus during the game without the game becoming impulsive and too fast.

European Congress of Sport Psychology

To reflect on winning

The only way to develop a winning mentality is to win. I’m not saying we have to start winning because we already win, but we have to win more and more (Julio Velasco).

The biggest difficulty I have had with my players in my career is translating to them in training the difficulty of competition. I ask them to do certain things in a certain way, not because I like it, but because otherwise they will find an opponent who will not let them do it. In basketball, things have to be done with a big guy like you pushing you when you touch the ball. Things have to be done with ten thousand people insulting you. Things have to be done with a referee that you might not see. And then you have to get used to these things in training, you can’t ask me for 10-15 games to understand what life is like (Ettore Messina).

It is a problem of self-need. I believe that I can be a coach if I struggle to stimulate self-desire. If as a coach I can convince 3 of my 10 players to be self-demanding with themselves and their teammates, I’ve won. I don’t coach anymore. I just watch, and the car goes on its own. Our struggle is not change of direction, schema 1 or schema 3. Our struggle is for our players to get to the point where, under great pressure, they pass the ball to each other (Ettore Messina).

“We have to stop considering cleverness a virtue and hustling an art: perfectionism has to beat our ingrained brashness … Motivation is like strength: it is never the same for anyone. But like strength, motivation can also be trained, and the most effective way to do this is not to rest too much on our laurels (Arrigo Sacchi).

Making a team win is not a matter of how great the player or players are. They all have to be willing to sacrifice and give something of themselves to become champions (Phil Jackson).

The spirit, the will to win, and the desire to excel are the things that last. These are far more important than the events that happen (John Wooden).

A champion is afraid to lose, everyone else is afraid to win (Billie Jean King)