Archive for the 'Tennis' Category

Sport is fun and moving with purpose

When asked to talk about young people who play sports, especially up to the age of 14, beyond any theoretical explanation, what I want to highlight is the importance of fun and moving with purpose.

Having fun means deriving pleasure from an activity for the way it is done, for the physical and mental energy expended, without having a specific goal to achieve or a result to obtain.

Moving with purpose, on the other hand, involves learning to play soccer, fence, or tennis while always having an idea in mind that guides the actions of the young person. This can happen in a rudimentary way if they are beginners or in a technically better way as they progress through this experience. In other words, there is no movement without thought, so learning or training means moving by mentally representing the technical execution.

A sports practice that guarantees this type of development positively stimulates the motivation to continue the effort and fosters that conviction so necessary to become experts in some activity, namely that “I improve thanks to my effort”.

Unfortunately, the goals of young people in most cases are not aimed at satisfying these two needs. Many train to learn a sport just as many compete to win. The issue is not to do well in a sport but to feel comfortable doing what you like. The goal is not to make a good move or score a point or a goal but to express one’s abilities to the fullest. In tennis, for example, many young people want to hit hard to score immediately, without the willingness to create the opportunity to end the rally with their play. In this case, they hit but do not think.

This way of doing things is the antithesis of sportsmanship.

Leadership of elite coaches

Gomes, A.R., Araújo, V., Resende, R., & Ramalho, V. (2018). Leadership of elite coaches: The relationship among philosophy, practice, and effectiveness criteria. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(6) 1120–1133.

Coaching philosophy is an important topic in both coaching literature and education. However, there is little research regarding the way that coaches’ philosophies translate into their practices. Additionally, there is very little information about the specific effectiveness criteria coaches use to evaluate their philosophies and practice.

This study addresses the complex set of relationships among coaches’ philosophies, perceptions of their practice, and effectiveness criteria. Ten elite coaches were selected for the study (9 males; 1 female), all of whom had successful careers in their respective sports. The coaches responded to an interview guide that addressed the topics of philosophy, practice, and effectiveness criteria.

The results indicated four main themes:

  • importance of athlete motivation
  • importance of building a relationship with athletes based on personal respect
  • presence of high levels of cohesion among the team
  • need for formal and informal rules that regulate the team’s functioning.

There were several areas in which coaches did not establish a relationship linking philosophy, practice, and effectiveness criteria. The results suggest the need to educate coaches regarding methods of establishing a relationship among their philosophies, their practices, and the effectiveness criteria they use to evaluate their performance as coaches.

The relationship between art and brain: a positive self-treatment

The study of the relationship between brain sciences and the arts was first coined “neuroaesthetics” in the late 1990s by Semir Zeki, a neuroscientist and professor at University College London. Much of the initial research focused on empirical aesthetics, examining the neural bases underlying how we perceive and judge works of art and aesthetic experiences.

Antonio Damasio, a neurologist studying the neural systems underlying emotion, decision-making, memory, language, and consciousness at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, states, “Joy or sorrow can emerge only after the brain registers physical changes in the body.” He continues, in an interview with Scientific American Mind, “The brain constantly receives signals from the body, registering what is going on inside of us. It then processes the signals in neural maps, which it then compiles in the so-called somatosensory centers. Feelings occur when the maps are read and it becomes apparent that emotional changes have been recorded.”

Art psychotherapist Sofie Dobbelaere agrees that going to a gallery to view art can be a powerful healing experience. “When we look at art, we connect with our humanity, and therefore are pulled into dialogue with something outside of ourselves, and this can help us feel connected and like we are part of something important.”

The fast-paced culture of instant gratification often leads us to consume works of art in the same time frame as reading an email. However, art sometimes demands that we spend more time observing a painting or installation. Experts suggest “slow looking,” savoring a work of art, spending time for several minutes or even visiting a museum just to contemplate a single piece. Galleries are full of amazing works, but observing just one on a deeper level can be incredibly meaningful.

Susan Magsamen highlights that 95% of adults in the UK agree that visiting museums and galleries is beneficial, but 40% visit them less than once a year. The winter months are the perfect time to visit exhibitions and take care of oneself with this form of psychological self-treatment.

The complexieties to work with professional teams

About – International Society of Sport Psychology

DATE: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024 Speakers: Dr. Gloria Balague Length of Session: 90 minutes (60-minute lecture, 30-minute Q&A) Language: English (Live captioning in English and other languages) Time: 12:00 UTC

(New York 8:00, Belo Horizonte, 9:00, London 13:00; Beijing 20:00, Taipei, 20:00, Seoul 21:00) Where: Zoom (Link sent upon registration)

Program Overview 

In this presentation, Dr. Balague will outline the essentials of providing sport psychology services to professional athletes, teams, and organizations. She will discuss how to gain entrance in these organizations and how to engage with the different stakeholders, such as management, coaches, medical staff, sport scientists, and athletes. Dr. Balague will highlight the importance of understanding coaches’ areas of interests/concerns and communication and coaching styles, and team strategies, as well as the value of building effective relationships with medical and sports science personnel, scouts, and equipment staff. Furthermore, Dr. Balague will delve into the core of her work with players and athletes, spanning from educational efforts to targeted interventions. Dr. Balague will share her expertise on the critical need to grasp the unique demands placed on athletes, their interactions with coaches, and their roles within the team. Dr. Balague will wrap up the presentation with a discussion around the organizational challenges and considerations associated with delivering sport psychology services in professional sport organizations, offering attendees a deep dive into the intricacies of successfully navigating this specialized area of work.

About our speaker 

Dr.Gloria Balague is a native of Barcelona, Spain. She is a Clinical Associate Professor Emerita in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked extensively with USA Track & Field, USA Gymnastics and USA Field Hockey. Dr. Balague was at the 92 and 96 Olympics as sport psychologist. She has been the sport psychologist for the Chicago Bears from 2015-2020, and for the USA Rhythmic Gymnastics program from 2016 to 2023. 10 years ago, she joined Don Hellison in starting the TPSR Alliance ( a group aiming at using sport and physical activity as a tool to promote personal and social responsibility in youth. Dr. Balague was the first President of the Catalan Association of Sport Psychology, Past-President of Division 47 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) of the APA, and also of Division 12 (Sport Psychology) of the International Association of Applied Psychology, and in 2016 received the Outstanding Professional Practice Award from the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. Dr. Balague has imparted doctoral level courses in Sport Psychology in Spain, Argentina and Chile and advised doctoral dissertations in several countries.

Program Format Attendees can participate in an ISSP Master Class session right from their office or home. Registrants will be provided the Zoom link upon registration to access the presentation right on the web in real time. If you are unable to watch the session live, a recording will be provided afterward to all registrants.



Malgioglio story with the brain-damaged children

If you have five minutes, read this article to the end. To know true greatness. (by PierLuigi Pinna on X, @pierpi13)

Astutillo Malgioglio, known to friends as Tito, was the backup goalkeeper for Inter under Trapattoni, the team of the record-breaking league title. In 1987, I went to interview him for Il Giorno, the newspaper I was working for at the time, in Piacenza. I had heard that Malgioglio, then 29 years old, had opened a gym near his home for the motor rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy. He named the facility ERA 77 (acronym for Elena, the name of his daughter born in 1977, Raffaella, his wife, and Astutillo) and, aided by his wife, provided this service for free, dedicating all his spare time to it.

I won an award in Como for this interview, presented to me by Pierluigi Marzorati, the basketball champion of Pallacanestro Cantù, which I immediately donated to UNICEF. Malgioglio told me beautiful and ugly things. True things.

He told me he had been doing all this for 7-8 years but quietly, almost incognito: because it wasn’t considered good, given the state of affairs in the world of football, for a professional footballer to be distracted with thoughts (or activities) deemed useless or bizarre, such as helping others. Unless one encountered two people like Nils Liedholm and Sven Goran Eriksson, as happened to Tito during his two years at Roma from ’83 to ’85, who convinced Dino Viola to make the Trigoria gym available to Malgioglio in his spare time, allowing him to do in Rome what he had started doing in Piacenza.

He told me that the Players’ Association, through its newspaper, had opened a subscription among all its members (the over one thousand players of Serie A, Serie B, Serie C1, and Serie C2) to raise funds for Tito’s activities, and in the end, the proceeds amounted to 700 thousand lire, which the AIC (Italian Footballers’ Association) somewhat embarrassedly arranged to give to him.

Above all, he told me that one day at the Pinetina training ground, Jurgen Klinsmann approached him and asked why, after training sessions, he always saw him rushing off to Piacenza so quickly. Tito explained why, and Klinsmann said to him: “Tomorrow I’ll come with you, I want to see with my own eyes what you do.” Klinsmann kept his promise. He got into Malgioglio’s beaten-up Beetle, went with him to Piacenza, and spent the entire afternoon watching Tito assist the children with cerebral palsy.

Then, before getting back into the Beetle to be driven back to Milan, he took out his checkbook and without saying a word wrote 70 million lire (seventy million), handed the check to his companion. He had tears in his eyes. Like those of Malgioglio”. [Paolo Ziliani da Il Fatto Quotidiano]

How to cope the more relevant matches

Preparing to play important matches is not easy even if you are fit. Physical and technical-tactical preparation are indispensable but not sufficient factors.

In these moments, self-control is the factor to be activated the most. These are the hours when you have to show yourself and the whole team, that whatever the challenges will be in the match you will find the right solution. The focus must be on only what you have decided to do. There is nothing to invent, the answers are already there, at hand and to be implemented with decision and speed. Opponents experience the same condition of fear and stress; no one is immune.

For these reasons, the one who puts oppressive thoughts behind him or her and decides to live intensely every second of the game wins. So, let’s get ready to enter this competitive context. So many times we draw on the will and desire to deliver the best individual and team performance. Let’s do that now, too! Calm, pace and speed.

Charles Coste is the oldest living Olympic champion

Charles Coste, 100 years old, is the oldest living Olympic champion and will be a torchbearer at this summer’s Paris Olympics. He was born Feb. 8, 1924, in Ollioules, France, and at age 24, in 1948, he was selected for the first postwar Games. He was French pursuit champion and put off entering professional racing for a year in order to compete in the Olympics. “My club advised me to wait. They told me, ‘If you are an Olympic champion, you will be one for life.’”

As a professional he already won one of the biggest cycling competitions of the time in his first year: the Grand Prix des Nations, beating Fausto Coppi. He described himself by saying, “I was a rider but mostly a chaser. I raced every Sunday at the Vel d’Hiv, there were 15,000 people in the stands. For the road races it was the same, everywhere I went there was an incredible crowd.” Coste raced the Tour de France twice and the Giro d’Italia four times.

Charles Coste

Are you a sport passionate?

We often use words without stopping to understand their value. This is the case when we talk about passion. What do we mean when we say that we are passionate about something, that amateurs (nowadays more frequently called masters), for example, are passionate about swimming, running or cycling. That is, that I do the work I’ve always wanted to do.

Passion consists of a particularly strong motivation towards a well-defined activity, it is very useful to understand what drives to training, study or work. A survey conducted in 2019 had highlighted that 55% of Italians are satisfied with their work. satisfaction is at a lower level than passion although positive and determined by experiences evaluated as rewarding.

Passion emerges in those jobs that involve a certain degree of creativity and are perceived by those who perform them as more exciting, since they require autonomy, decision-making skills and divergent reasoning. Those who consider it necessary to introduce innovative factors into their professional experiences, as opposed to those who make more conservative choices, are certainly among those who perform work with passion. Athletes who have succeeded in turning their passion for their sport into a job fall into this category. Outside the work context, those who are engaged in activities driven by the pleasure they provide, from which they derive no gain or material recognition, are individuals turned to cultivating a passion.

Like any psychological dimension, passion can be interpreted in a constructive and pleasant way and in another more negative way, in this case we can talk about:

Harmonious passion, it is based on autonomous motives. pleasure and the feeling of mastery.
Obsessive passion, consists in feeling obliged or compensate for other aspects of the personality. Reduces concentration. Obstructs self-regulation.

Children living near green spaces have stronger bones

Sleurs H, Silva AI, Bijnens EM, et al. Exposure to Residential Green Space and Bone Mineral Density in Young ChildrenJAMA Netw Open. 2024; 7(1): e2350214.

Bone mass, a composite of bone size and mineral density, is a key determinant of bone strength throughout life. Peak bone mass is achieved in early adulthood and depends on the bone mass accrual during skeletal growth and development. For this reason, suboptimal accrual at a young age is as crucial to the onset of osteoporosis as bone loss through aging.

Hence, targeted interventions on bone mass accrual at the early stages of life may decrease fracture and/or osteoporosis risk later in life. In addition to the influence exerted by genetic factors, early-life physiologic, lifestyle (eg, nutrition and physical activity), and environmental factors may also play an important role in bone mass accrual.

Several studies have reported the benefits of early-life green space exposure on neurocognitive and social-behavioral development,1as well as on the mental and emotional well-being of children. Moreover, higher green space exposure during childhood has also been associated with lower body mass index, reduced risk of overweight or obesity, lower blood pressure, and higher physical activity.

Despite increasing evidence about the health benefits of green space exposure, the available studies1on the association with bone mineral density are scarce. One large population-based, epidemiologic study reported that living in a greener area was associated with higher bone strength in adults, suggesting that residential exposure to greenness may positively influence bone health.

Conversely, a longitudinal study conducted among elderly citizens did not observe a protective effect of residential greenness on bone health. In this context, the aim of this study was to investigate the association between early-life exposure to residential surrounding green space and bone mineral density in children aged 4 to 6 years living in an affluent society.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this study of 1492 children aged 4 to 6 years, higher bone mineral density and a lower risk of having low bone density were associated with higher residential green space exposure during childhood. These findings highlight the importance of early-life exposure to residential green space on bone health during critical periods of growth and development, with long-term implications.

Nothing is impossible