Archive for the 'Stress' Category

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Winning is not everything

Beginning in the 2000s, the purpose of the work of Smith and Smoll, who introduced a system for evaluating coach behavior twenty years earlier, has turned to the study of systems for training youth coaches to be more aware of their own behaviors and to improve them.

Their approach is based on four principles that all coaches should adhere to:

  • Winning is not everything, nor it is the only thing - Young athletes will drop out of the sport if they believe that winning is the only goal to be fulfilled. There are other equally important goals that sports allow them to achieve that must be understood by athletes.
  • Failing is not synonymous with losing - It is important that athletes do not associate that failing and losing mean the same thing.
  • Being successful is not a synonym for winning - Success or failure is not dependent on the outcome of a race. Winning and losing are about the outcome of a competition but do not refer to success and failure.
  • Athletes must learn that success is linked to commitment - They must be taught that they will never be a loser if they try their hardest.

Starting from these principles, they have identified and implemented a training system that has produced extremely effective results.

Coaching Generation Z athletes

Michael Mignano is one of the authors of this article on Generation Z: Gould, D., Nalepa, J., & Mignano, M. (2019). Coaching Generation Z athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

Based on the data collected, he recently wrote some recommendations for coaching these young people born since 1996.

The uniqueness of Generation Z lies in the rapid onset of these changes, most likely due to technological advancements that have caught teachers, coaches, and support staff off-guard. So, how can adults work most effectively with Generation Z athletes? The following are suggestions based on empirical research of the topic:

  • Explain the ‘Why.’ With technology and information at their fingertips, Generation Z athletes expect adults to have done their homework. Providing a quick rationale for training methods and practice plans can improve motivation and effort of young people. It also reduces the inevitable ‘why’ questions from both athletes and parents.
  • Communicate Effectively. While face-to-face communication is not a strength of Generation Z athletes, coaches and support staff can challenge young athletes by asking open-ended questions, using text messaging only for logistical communication, practicing face-to-face conversations in team meetings or training, and switching up the methods of communication (i.e., videos, articles, and demonstrations) to aid messaging.
  • Be Direct. With shorter attention spans of Generation Z athletes, coaches and support staff can adapt by making their messages more direct at the start and end of training sessions and during pre-game or half-time speeches.
  • Focus on Quality Over Quantity. Today’s young athletes (and their parents) are more in tune with strength and conditioning techniques as well as injury prevention. Coaches and support staff can assist by being aware of overtraining and burnout symptoms and using periodization principles when scheduling training and competitions.
  • Build Independence. Undoubtedly, Generation Z athletes are more dependent on significant adults than any other cohort in history. By giving athletes some autonomy, choice, and responsibility, coaches and support staff can give them more ownership and develop skills related to independence. For example, providing opportunities for decision making, critical thinking, and accountability can help athletes with personal and professional development.
  • Promote Resiliency. While each generation is considered “softer” than the previous one, Generation Z is known to have heightened difficulties dealing with adversity. Coaches and support staff can create opportunities for athletes to cope with adversity and learn perseverance and resilience. Creating pressure and challenging situations in training, along with teaching appropriate coping strategies, may assist Generation Z athletes with how to better handle competitive and personal setbacks.

While more research is needed on generational differences in today’s athletes, early studies have provided insight into some unique characteristics of Generation Z. Coaches and support staff can benefit from this knowledge and adapt their teaching and coaching philosophies to suit today’s young athletes.

References

Gould, D., Nalepa, J., & Mignano, M. (2019). Coaching Generation Z athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

European certification of specialists in applied sport psychology.

FEPSAC  has established the European certification of specialists in applied sport psychology.

Preamble

Professional certification is a crucial element to the establishment, legitimization, and reputation of a profession (Portenga, 2014). The FEPSAC Managing Council developed certification guidelines for specialists in applied sport psychology, establishing a certification process to distinguish these professionals from others in the marketplace (e.g., performance enhancement consultant, mental skills trainer, mental coach). The goal of such an initiative is to define the minimum standards that should be met by individuals in order to qualify for independent practice in the field of applied sport psychology.

The certification process focusses on the standards for practitioners in the field of sport psychology who have an initial qualification background in either sport science, psychology, or both. FEPSAC believes that practitioners should meet high standards of training and delivery using and complementing the expertise specific to their initial training.

FEPSAC carefully examined several certification systems across Europe and met and discussed with individuals and international organizations involved in certification, continuous professional development and education and training, and legal aspects of certification in order to guarantee that best practices across Europe were upheld.

Members who are certified may use the acronym SASP-FEPSAC after their name and highest university degree; such an acronym will denote the label “a specialist in applied sport psychology”, also referred in this document as specialist. While SASP-FEPSAC accounts for the minimum standard of education and training in applied sport psychology, it does not designate the individual as a “sport psychologist”; rather, the individual is certified as a specialist in the field of applied sport psychology. Note that requirements for providing psychological services are determined by individual state and territorial licensing boards.

The next submission deadline will be on March 30, 2021.

Learning from the biggest mistakes

Psychological themes of this week:

The Juventus case - two goals conceded as soon as the game started, and especially at the beginning of each half. Why weren’t they ready? How could Bentancur have been so distracted? What is the mental approach to important games? You can make a mistake at the beginning of the first half, but how can you also make a mistake at the beginning of the second half?

Italian women’s skiing disaster at the World Championships - Too much nervousness from the athletes? How did the coaching staff prepared to handle these legitimate expectations of victory? There is a syndrome created by Sofia Goggia injury? How do you make a mistake on the third stick: too much impulsiveness at the start?

These are cases to be studied in depth, certainly not to find fault but to identify through the knowledge of the reasons that created these problems, how to avoid them in the future.

Training shared through social

Road map to coach in shooting sports

The first girl at Ferrari

The 16-year-old Dutch girl, Maya Weug, will move to Maranello and in 2021 will take part in all the activities of the academy, she is the first girl to enter Ferrari’s Driver Academy. “When you lower the visor of the helmet we are all equal, you can no longer see the difference between male and female…. Entering this academy is a great feeling. To be the first woman to get in here is historic, I’m happy to be able to prove that it’s possible to do it.”

Maya’s arrival at the same school attended by Mick, Schumi’s son, is a tangible sign of the Scuderia’s commitment to making motorsport increasingly inclusive. Marco Matassa, Director of the Ferrari Driver Academy: “We are very happy to welcome Maya to the Ferrari Driver Academy. We were impressed by her dedication and preparation both from an athletic point of view and in terms of her approach to competition”.

Maya Weug herself states, “I will remember this day forever! I am beside myself with joy at becoming the first Ferrari Driver Academy driver. Winning the final round of the FIA ‘Girls on Track – Rising Stars’ program makes me realize that I have done well in pursuing my dream all these years. I will give it my all.”

Risultato immagini per Maya Weug

What is the Italian female skiers lacking?

What is the Italian female skiers lacking?  Probably the total involvement with their performance while instead dominating a mental condition of anxiety and excessive worry.

Peak performance is provided by the athlete whose mental condition is called the “flow state” or “ideal performance state” and in this condition the person is totally absorbed by the task relevant components. It was a matter of asking athletes to develop knowledge around a relatively simple idea: “If you are physically present in a given situation, why aren’t you fully present? What does it take for your mind to also be fully engaged in this competition?

Already in the 1980s, Orlick and Partington interviewing world-class Canadian athletes found that for them it was of fundamental importance to be, before the start of the competition, in a condition of global involvement, a state of mental readiness that almost resembled a form of dream come true. The same regards the top professional golfers. The dominant image in these golfers, an expression of total absorption in the task was as follows: to be focused only on the shot that is about to be executed and on nothing else inside or outside.

People then develop a strategy that allows them to be totally absorbed in the task, which starts with the use of methods that encourage learning and refining a particular task. The pianist, Alicia del la Rocha to optimize the execution of difficult passages of a score uses a strategy based on playing them in a slower, almost whispered way. Time management is also essential in this path of concentration, not everyone should use the approach of the German writer Goethe who claimed that the “early hours of the morning have gold in their mouth”. While there are differences in the conception of what the best hours to work are, it has nonetheless been shown that those who structure their writing time prove effective, just as those who devote more time to their activity are more likely to achieve the desired results. Thus, in any activity, expertise is fostered by the quantity and quality of time spent combined with its temporal organization.

A practical application of this approach can be found in the description that Alessandro Del Piero gives about wanting to learn a certain way to kick a free kick: “At the World Cup in Italy ’90 I was very impressed by Schillaci’s goal against Uruguay … I remember that after every training session at the Comunale, I stopped to try free kicks, especially that famous shot by Schillaci. The coach would sometimes ask me what I was still doing on the field, and he would ask me to stop so that I wouldn’t get too tired. I went on anyway, on my own. I would fix the ball, making a kind of small hole with my shoe, and I worked a lot on the support foot. In short, I wanted to recreate the conditions that had produced that famous shot, and in the end I succeeded: it was a Bologna-Juventus match, we won 3-1 and I finally scored that blessed ball in that blessed way”.

Italians are coming

Very nice Prada video.

Risultato immagini per Gli italiani stanno arrivando

Enjoy to start again with young in clay shooting

Today I started a new professional story with Francesco D’Aniello. We met in 2000 or maybe a year or two before. He was a shooter of the Fiamme Oro at the beginning of a successful sporting career that then he had with the peaks obtained by winning 2 world championships and the silver medal in Beijing in shooting. We worked together for many years, every week on the shooting range in Lunghezza, Rome. I didn’t take part in the competitions abroad because I didn’t work for the federation but we met anyway, I took part in the competitions with athletes from other countries and so we had the opportunity to confront each other on the range.

Becoming a champion has never been easy and requires not only time and intelligent practice but also an intense mental investment supported by an equally intense mental preparation. For many years we met, together with his coach Pierluigi Pescosolido, another historical collaboration in my career, practically every week, including the cold months from December to February, when most shooters dedicated little time to training. With Pescosolido we organized training sessions always based on the quality of the technical action and never on quantity. The philosophy was: better to shoot less but well, always training both technique and concentration. When I say that we saw each other often, I mean that we spent at least 50 days a year together and continuously for at least 10 years. I mention this because today many young people even in shooting think that just a few meetings or a few months are enough to reach an optimal level of performance. There is nothing more untrue while the superficiality of this reasoning is demonstrated.

The novelty is that today Francesco D’Aniello manages the Lunghezza range and I have started to work with his group of young shooters. So the story starts all over again, educating and mentally training young people to learn to train mentally, in a sport like trap shooting in which stay focused is decisive for excellent performance. For me it is a positive stimulus, because it is a matter of starting again from the basic elements of mental skills, giving these young people time to learn and to confront their fears in competition and discover who will be more toughness and desire to continue in this path that is very demanding and does not guarantee results.

With Francesco we will try to transmit above all the passion for improvement regardless of the race results, the value of intelligent commitment for itself and not for what they can achieve.