Archive for the 'Mental coaching' Category

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The decline of sports for all goes on

Italy: 10 years ago I wrote this blog and I would say that the negative predictions I was making have come true.

This is not a topical issue because it is a constant fact of our daily lives. It is about sport for all. What has been called: sport for everyone. The 80′s and 90′s were those of the increase of active sportsmen and women and the great sports associations reached millions of adherents. It was an incredible success and a great social experience and search for well-being by Italians who had always been a population of sedentary people. Today, however, this drive has been lost, the maximum number of practitioners is in middle school and then decreases steadily: at 20 years old, 40% of girls and 60% of boys do sports, even irregularly; at 30 years old, 30% of women and 50% of men, which at 50 years old are reduced to 20% and 30%.

So what to do?

It is obviously not enough to organize thousands of running races in our cities every Sunday, because this does not increase physical activity. If we don’t want to find ourselves in a few years with a percentage of obese people and growing health problems, it is necessary that those who deal with sports for all get out of the traditional approaches that were so effective more than twenty years ago. We need new ideas, new kinds of collaboration among sports organizations to avoid ending up leading a life divided between home, transportation, school or work, transportation and home. We need to move out of the denunciation phase and into the choice phase.

Why do you practice sports?

I often wonder if talking about sports is not a way to escape the most serious problems of the society in which we live. Then I am convinced that sports for all and sports of excellence are significant manifestations of people’s lives.

So much so that even in ancient Greece wars were suspended during the Olympics. Not only that … sport in all its forms and at any level and age is a human expression that allows us to affirm ourselves for the pleasure of doing it (a nice run in a meadow) or because it allows us to self-actualize.

In this way there is room for all desires, for those who want to walk and live their environment in the most natural way they are allowed and for those who want to excel.

Mountaineers are often asked “Why do you want to climb Everest knowing that it is a dangerous undertaking”. The answer is always the same “Because it’s there”. That’s how sport is, an endeavor that everyone can choose how to tackle.

Italians increasingly fat and sedentary

In Italy, the plague of sedentary life continues to haunt us, we have always been among the least active Europeans in terms of sports and, above all, in 17 years the percentage of practitioners has increased by only 5.7% while sedentary people have decreased by 2%.

There is no real hope that in the next 10 years this trend will be reversed in a positive way, in the absence of any kind of government policy.

The year that has just begun will certainly not be the year of sport, the one that will encourage people to undertake any kind of motor activity on an ongoing basis.

The only data that increases in Italy is the prevalence of overweight and obesity, so much so that if excess weight affects 1 in 4 children, the share almost doubles among adults, reaching 46.1% among people aged 18 years and over. The highest prevalence is found in both genders in the 65-74 age group (61.1%) and, while the majority of men are overweight from the age of 45, for women this occurs after 65.
In the last 30 years, moreover, an increase in the incidence of excess weight equal to 30 percent has been recorded and the role of the territory of origin emerges strongly.

Happy 2021

To begin this new year I suggest to read:

Sport psychologist: new tendency and professional development

Sport psychology is a scientific and professional field in continuous development as many other areas of psychology and in the last 10 years occurred several situations that have changed this job deeply. This contribution will be described seven areas regarding these changes. They refer to:

  • sport psychology and performance psychology
  • the psychologist in youth programs
  • sport psychology performance and stress management
  • sport psychology and mental health of athletes
  • sport psychology and disability
  • sport psychology and physically active lifestyle
  • sport psychology 4.0.

The purpose of this article is to deepen the knowledge in the areas of sport psychology consultancy, providing cues to think where this work context is going and how is moving, stimulating the professionals to develop counseling programs, updated to the new demands of the sport world.


In soccer players’ talent is not enough to win

In soccer, as in all team sports, it is good to remember that in order to win, “The champion team beats a team of champions”, indicating that even the ideal team composed of only champions must still integrate the skills of each one despite possessing a priori a better quality potential at the individual level.

So how often does the favored team win?

A statistician Chris Anderson together with a behavioral economist David Sally have studied this phenomenon [2013] and found that in the European soccer championships this happens in just over 50% of the games, the percentage rises to about two-thirds of the time in German handball, USA basketball and football while in baseball it is about 60% of the matches. To understand team performance we must reduce the focus on the intrinsic value of the teams highlighted mainly by the level of individual talent and put more interest in the study of the skills needed to work together.

What to do to increase the likelihood of winning?

An important key parameter for distinguishing winning teams from others relates to the positive/negative connotation and frequency of dialogue between players on the field. It has been shown that the three positive effects most cited by players are:

  • Increase in player coordination that stimulates mental repetition of critical situations.
  • Improvement of their concentration and the refining of the precision of their movements.
  • Increase in their ability to make correct decisions accurately and in the shortest possible time [Farina and Cei, 2019].

Walking keeps death away

Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults

JAMA. 2020; 323(12):1151-1160.

Question  What are the associations between daily step counts and step intensity with mortality among US adults?

Findings  In this observational study that included 4840 participants, a greater number of steps per day was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio for 8000 steps/d vs 4000 steps/d, 0.49). There was no significant association between step intensity and all-cause mortality after adjusting for the total number of steps per day.

Meaning  Greater numbers of steps per day were associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality.

At this time of year, plans are always being made to improve our lives in the coming year. This research provides us with an opportunity to make an important and meaningful choice for our well-being. It’s free and affordable for everyone. It involves walking, an activity that many of us do on an extremely limited basis. It does not matter the speed, to obtain benefits it is enough to move with our pace, however, it is necessary to do 8,000 a day to obtain this positive result that will make us live better and longer.

Expedición invernal al K2

La expedición invernal al K2 ha alcanzado el Campo Base dos días antes de lo previsto. Terminada la marcha de aproximación, @sergi_mingote y sus compañeros se preparan para resistir enero y parte de febrero.

The Italian Tamara Lunger also attempts the #K2. If successful, she would be the first woman to reach the summit of an eight-thousander in winter in a first ascent and on the same mountain in two different seasons.


Happy New Year to Sport Psychology

Sport psychology has come a long way since the beginning of the 60′s, in the period 1959-1963 300 articles were published. We continue to think that it is a young discipline but it would be better to start thinking that on the contrary it is a part of psychology now well established and internally very differentiated.

Suffice it to say that next to the classic distinction between sport psychology and exercise psychology, several other areas have emerged as it was already highlighted by Robert Singer in the introductory report to the ISSP World Congress in Lisbon in 1993.

On the other hand there are at least 10 journals of sport psychology and every year dozens of books on sport psychology are published worldwide.

Sport psychology enjoys good health and now offers the same opportunities that it can be found in other areas of psychology. It is also highly regarded by athletes and coaches who understand its function.

So my dear Sports Psychology I wish you a prosperous 2021!

Juventus’s collettive collapse

Juventus-Fiorentina ended last night 0-3. A totally unexpected result and not explainable only because of Cuadrado’s expulsion or bad luck. In sports psychology what happened is called collective collapse. This phenomenon occurs when in a team most of the players suddenly play below their skill level despite having had a favorable start to the game or when they perform below expectations from the beginning.

Studying team sports in Sweden, Apitzsch [2019] found from the statements of 146 players and 15 elite coaches that 70.8% claimed to have experienced such an experience at least once during a league and predominantly while playing away from home.

This phenomenon is mainly attributable to insufficient and negative communication, non-acceptance of the role on the field and negative emotional contagion among players during the game. A kind of social loafing that has prevented Juventus from committing to 100%, determined by a loss of motivation due to the perception of playing against a weaker opponent and that, instead, had prepared the match in the best possible way and demonstrated its value on the field.

In soccer the most relevant episodes of collective collapse happened during the semifinal of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, where the Brazilian national team lost 7-1 against Germany and in 2005 during the Champions League final Milan-Liverpool held in Istanbul, when the Italian team lost the match after having concluded the first half in advantage of 3-0.

Merry Christmas

 My CHRISTMAS present

comes from the words of Billie Jean King:

Keep learning, keep learning how to learn

and be the the problem solver