Archive for the 'Young and Football' Category

Relevance of multi-sport practice for young athletes

In 2015, Urban Meyer, Ohio State University head football coach, wrote a chart about the recruiting preferences. It showed that the coach overwhelmingly recruited multi-sport athlete.

“Last month, USA Baseball, the national governing body for amateur baseball, published an article on its website titled “Saving the Multi-Sport Athlete from Extinction.” In it, Darren Fenster, current manager of a Boston Red Sox affiliate, encourages student-athletes to wait as long as possible to specialize in a sport.

These recent pronouncements go against the popular current practice of having student-athletes focus on one sport at a young age. The idea is that specializing provides young student-athletes with early successes and access to elite clubs and top coaches, which could better position them for college scholarships.

So, why are so many outlets coming out in favor of student-athletes competing in multiple sports? As more and more research is published, it’s becoming clearer that being a two-or-more sport student-athlete is beneficial in terms of both skill development and overall health.”

(From UsaToday)

 

Children with ASD and soccer

The sport revolution: the Games of the future

When a leisure activity is practiced, for fun, for recreation but also professionally, by one third of the world’s population is also possible that it becomes part of the largest worldwide event: the Olympic Games. A study promoted by Razer, computer and accessories for electronic game company, people who at least once a month or one hour per week playing video games are 2.1 billion, equivalent to 29% of the Earth’s population. It emerges the 71% of the millenians, young 12-35 year old, are players and they have the advantage of having their whole life ahead to continue to develop this interest. In addition, the number of viewers of video games and eSports is currently about 360 millions and it’s expected to double by 2021.

If we look at these considerations paying attention to economic interests that led to this kind of diffusion, it seems pretty obvious why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened to eSports, defining them as ” sport activity ” in all respects: ” The competitive eSports can be considered a sport, and the players involved are preparing and training with an intensity that can be compared to traditional sports athletes.” It is equally clear that, in this field, the interests of the companies that drive the success of their products have been linked over the years to the affirmation of a sport concept in contemporary society, in which the human being can be competitive in those activities, eSports, in which prevails the mental component at the expense of physical and motor component. Indeed,  eSports respond at this need while maintaining the competitive component, the loneliness of sport champs, who reach the success through a total dedication to this work.

On the other hand, since long time the traditional sports are in crisis, not only at the high level too much conditioned by doping and drug abuses but even at youth level. Increasingly needs economic investment that many families cannot afford and the pressure on the young in term of competitiveness, exploitation of their physique and commitment not appropriate for their age. These reasons are among the main causes of the adolescents drop-out.

In addition, the use of computers has greatly changed our way of living as well as sport, through the use of new technologies to assess the performance and build training programs. In summary, we are experiencing a radical change in the sport concept, in which the exasperation of competitiveness has changed the culture of sports organizations, pushing many young out from sports.

With the latter decision of the IOC we entered in a new phase, in which the use of new technological systems becomes its-self a sport activity officially recognized and regulated. It represents a way to regain back at sports the millenian, as the main beneficiaries of eSports, allowing the IOC to reconquer them to Olympic family.

Soccer and autism: it starts a new season

It starts the third season of the project “Football Together”, devoted to children, 6-12 years old, with intellectual disabilities who want to play football with AS Roma and Accademia di Calcio Integrato.

Video: Integrated soccer – first match

 

School of integrated soccer: the first match

Second year of  Soccer Together Program organized by Accademia di Calcio Integrato, AS Roma and Lazio Region: The first match of integrated soccer with children with intellectual disabilities and children of Roma Academy.

 

 

Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

Movimento

Rivista di Psicologia e Scienze del Movimento e dello Sport

n.2/3, 2016, 63 pagine

Roma: Edizioni Luigi Pozzi

 

Lo sviluppo motorio e psicosociale in bambini con disabilità intellettive attraverso il calcio

Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

 

Alberto Cei*’, Paolo Franceschi^, Michele Rosci^, Daniela Sepio’ e Bruno Ruscello°

*Università San Raffaele, Roma e ASD Calcio Integrato

^AS Roma Calcio

‘ASD Calcio Integrato

°Università di Tor Vergata, Roma

 

Parole chiave: bambini, autismo, calcio, apprendimento, empowerment 

Key words: children, autism, soccer, learning, empowerment

 

 

Abstract 

Calcio Insieme (Soccer Together) is a project promoted by Roma Cares Foundation, non-profit organization linked to the broader context of Social Responsibility and Sustainability of AS ROMA and A.S.D. Accademia di Calcio Integrato, whose objective is the development of education and culture integrated to the values of sport through the soccer.

Soccer is the sport most loved and practiced by girls and boys around the world, but for young people with developmental difficulties are rare, if not absent, the opportunities allowing them to live this sport as an educational and playful experience. Therefore, this applied research project, spread over three years, is aimed at children (6-12 years) with intellectual disabilities and with particular reference to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Soccer Together project wants to promote the physical activity and soccer teaching for these children, in order to improve the quality of their lives through a continuous sport practice over time. Furthermore, this project wants also to develop a methodology model of teaching, tailored for these children, through this applied research.

Soccer Together began in September 2015 with the collaboration of some schools of Roma. They promoted among families of children with intellectual disabilities the knowledge of this initiative. They organized information meetings lead by the staff of Soccer Together to start building a community whose school, family, sport organization and staff could feel part of a common project at its center there are the children with intellectual disabilities and especially those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since the beginning the project has had as main focus the empowerment of each child through the soccer, as recommended by the International Paralympic Committee.

To better understand the different steps of the experiment carried out by the technical-scientific staff of Soccer Together at the Giulio Onesti Center, in Roma, it’s important to acknowledge what are the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and what are the limits and the motor/psychological potential of children with ASD; the report describes in detail the main features and the research results.

This report begins with an overview of autism spectrum disorders and what are the limits and the motor potential of these children. It emerges that, up to now, the experiences carried out in this area included only individual sports and that no investigation has been conducted to test how the group sports and soccer specifically could be a means of improving the motor/sports skills and the psychological and interpersonal skills. In the section devoted to the method are described the diagnoses of 30 children (27 boys and 3 girls). They  have participated in the project by attending at the training program for an hour twice a week for 5 months. They were divided into two sub-groups (Green and Red) as a function of their motor skills and psycho-relational competences. All children were subjected to the initial and final motor assessment. Similarly it proceeded with the psychological and interpersonal evaluation carried out at the beginning and at the end of the program. This was done through interviews with parents and their school teachers and an assessment carried out on the field for the duration of the period of activities carried out by the football coaches and the sport psychologists. In addition, before the start of the program, the whole staff,  including sport psychologists, youth football instructors, one speech therapist, one sport physician and one coordinator of the relations with families and schools have participated in a specific training, theoretical and practical, learning to be sensitive and to work with young individuals with developmental disorders. The results showed that in relation to motor skills there are significant differences from the initial assessment in relation to 6 tests out of 10. The children improved in tests regarding: walking between the cones, running between the cones, roll on the mat, high jump (3 obstacles 20 / 30cm), grab (5 launches from 1 to 5 meters away from the instructor) and stay balanced on jellyfish.

In relation to run with the ball (to drive the ball into a space 15m long and 4m wide) were detected two results. The first is that, even at the end of the program, 39.3% of children did not show any improvement. The second is of opposite sign and shows that 28.6% is placed in an intermediate skill level. They drive the ball, move frequently left and right even if out of the lane. In addition, 10.7% shows a medium-high skill level, driving the ball without leaving the lane. These data show there is a significant difference from the point of view of the motor competences among the children, while for some the training it’s characterized more as motor activity oriented to the acquisition of basic motor patterns, for others it’s oriented to  teach the soccer fundamentals.

The questionnaire administered at the end of the program to the parents of the children examined the following skills: cooperation, participation in the games, understanding the others and be understood, communicate with each other, socialize, approach the new situations/people and reduction of behavioral problems. For each of these skills, the parents have expressed a final assessment, it showed that they believe their children are improved significantly. It’s also interesting to note that the same questionnaire was administered to school support teachers of children and the resulting data are similar to those experienced by parents. Assessments made on the field by sport psychologists and coaches have shown that most of young people have improved, even if  they achieved very different skill levels, depending on the difficulty level initially expressed. For the future, there are clearly detectable paths of physical activity and sports differentiating the two children groups (Red and Green).

In summary, these data confirm the findings of the research review conducted on people with autism spectrum disorder (Sowa e Meulenbroek, 2012). That is to say, that the motor/sport skills increase with specific program of motor/sports learning. Our study adds that the organization of training sessions in group interventions and individual interventions promote the development of social skills, as in part it has been showed by Walker, Barry and Bader (2010). This pilot study has also responded to the request to organize “a naturalistic intervention based on group sports like soccer” (Sowa and Meulenbroek, 2012; p.56) and, till now it was never been documented. In addition, as already showed (Luiselli 2014), the behavioral problems were reduced, decreasing the stereotyped movements and the self-stimulation behaviors.

Finally, it should be mentioned those results achieved which are not identifiable in scientific terms but that at the same time are important for a project with the aim to reduce the limits of the children with ASD and widen their skills at 360 degrees. The most significant are the following: the first football games played between them and the coaches and two games 4vs4 with players of Roma Academy; the identification process with AS Roma has increased the children socialization and stimulated their pride being a part of Roma team; live this experience with professionals totally dedicated to them and willing to respect the times of socialization and learning while not ceasing to guide them in the activities; for families it has been important to meet each other, sharing these experiences and feeling themselves as an active part of the project.

Adoloscent-athletes are a problem for themselves and adult world

The demon of youth sports is the mistake. Although the coaches tell their young athletes that they learn through the mistakes, it is very rare for a young teenager accept this mental approach, thinking the failure as a learning opportunity. I don’t know if this happens sometimes because of the coaches, other times for parents’ pressure  because the adolescents are not aware of having to commit regardless of the outcomes. The result is that in many sports, especially in those where it is cultivated the perspective of economic wealth the young are destroyed in an attempt to satisfy wrong or exaggerated expectations .Obviously sports federations do nothing to cope with this approach to sport.

A program of integrated soccer for children with intellectual disabilities

It is held in Rome, November 25, 2016, a seminar dedicated to the project “Football Together”, an integrated soccer project for girls and boys aged 6 to 12 years with intellectual disabilities, particularly those affected by the autism spectrum syndrome (ASD).
The first year of the project took place in the period October 2015 – June 2016 thanks to the Roma Cares Foundation, an expression of the social responsibility of AS Roma, on a proposal by Asd Integrated Soccer Academy, in collaboration with CIP – National Italian Paralympic Committee, the Fisdir – Sport Federation Intellectual and Relational Disabilities and the support of the health service ASL Roma/1.
30 girls and boys have been involved in training for a year twice a week, and they all showed improvements despite the differences conditions and the results obtained. “Football Together” is in fact an approach to psychological , relationships, sports and motor empowerment through soccer, which has identified a suitable teaching model to the different needs of children through research to be developed in three years.
The seminar is held at the headquarters of the Lazio Regional Council, Via della Pisana 1301, Rome, starting from 10:00. The Lazio Region intends to disclose the fact of the project outcomes, also assessing their impact on the medium-long term.
For information and registration, please contact:
Email: egrassi@regione.lazio.it - vvolpi@regione.lazio.it
Tel .: +39 06 5168 8038 – 8269

Parentes and sports: which role?

Tomorrow in the conference that I will keep in Civitanova Marche (Italy) on the parents role in sports contexts I will talk about these issues.
  • To promote the sport in young people
  • Change the sports culture
  • Sport is a long-term project
  • What it needs young people to develop
  • Teaching task orientation to learn how to win and lose
  • The parents role in these contexts