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10 mental skills to win the Olympic Games

There are only a few days left until the start of the Paris 2024 Olympics. Let’s try to describe the mental characteristics demonstrated by athletes who have won a medal in previous editions.

1. Determination and Toughness

Olympians are extremely determined and do not give up in the face of difficulties. Their tenacity pushes them to continue training and improving, even when they encounter obstacles or moments of discouragement.

2. Concentration

The ability to stay focused on their goal and maintain concentration during training and competition is crucial. Olympic athletes manage to block out distractions and concentrate entirely on their performance.

3. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to quickly recover from setbacks or injuries. Successful athletes can overcome adversity, learn from their mistakes, and continue to improve.

4. Self-discipline

Athletes who win a gold medal exhibit a high level of self-discipline. This is reflected in their ability to strictly follow training programs, diets, and daily routines necessary to reach the peak of their performance.

5. Self-esteem and Self-confidence

Believing in their abilities is crucial for achieving success at such high levels. Olympic athletes have strong self-esteem and confidence in their skills, which helps them perform at their best under pressure.

6. Stress Management

The ability to manage stress and the pressure of international competitions is vital. Olympic athletes develop techniques to maintain calm and mental clarity even in the most stressful situations.

7. Intrinsic Motivation

Olympians are often driven by intrinsic motivation, a deep personal desire to excel and achieve their goals, rather than external motivations like awards or recognition.

8. Visualization Skills

Many athletes use mental visualization techniques to imagine their perfect performances. This practice helps them prepare mentally and improve their confidence in their abilities.

9. Growth Mindset

Successful athletes embrace a growth mindset, believing that their skills can be improved through hard work and continuous learning. This mindset drives them to seek new challenges and not fear failure.

10. Passion and Love for the Sport

A genuine passion and deep love for their sport are common characteristics among Olympic medalists. This passion motivates them to dedicate countless hours to practice and training.

These mental characteristics are fundamental for achieving excellence and success in the highly competitive context of the Olympics.

Obesity, OMS: is a complex multifactorial chronic illness

Globesity  - as named by the Italian economist and agronomist Andrea Segrè – shows that the global costs of overweight and obesity will reach $18 trillion annually by 2060.

The WHO defines obesity as a chronic multifactorial disease characterized by excessive fat deposits, which can compromise health, due to obesogenic environments, psychosocial factors, genetic variables, as well as major etiological factors such as diseases, medications, forced immobilization, and iatrogenic procedures.

In an obesogenic environment, the availability of healthy and sustainable food at locally accessible prices is structurally limited, there is a lack of easy and safe physical mobility in daily life, and there is an absence of adequate legal and regulatory context.

The progression towards obesity is aggravated by the lack of an effective response from the healthcare system, which fails to identify early in the initial stages the excess weight gain and fat deposition in people who are at higher risk of getting sick.

Obese individuals have an increased risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and tumors. Obesity also significantly influences bone health and reproduction and impacts quality of life, such as mobility and good sleep.

Childhood and adolescent obesity have negative psychosocial consequences, from lower academic performance to worsened quality of life. It is exacerbated by stigma, discrimination, and widespread bullying.

Epidemiological data show that, compared to 1990, obesity has doubled in adults and quadrupled in adolescents. It appears that in 2022, one in eight people worldwide lived with obesity: there were 890 million people (aged 18 and over), representing 16% of the adult population. Another two and a half billion adults are overweight (43%). There are also 37 million children under 5 years old and 390 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 who are overweight, with 160 million of them living with obesity.

It seems paradoxical that in the poorest countries, malnutrition in all its forms and obesity commonly coexist. There is a double burden of malnutrition. Children, more vulnerable to inadequate nutrition, are more exposed to high-energy foods – high in sugars, fats, and salt – but poor in micronutrients, which cost less but also have lower nutrient quality. WHO believes that these dietary patterns, associated with reduced levels of physical activity, lead to a sharp increase in childhood obesity, leaving malnutrition problems unresolved.

To reduce risk, people can enjoy a healthy life by taking better care of their diet, the duration and quality of sleep, emotional self-regulation, as well as avoiding tobacco and alcohol and engaging in regular physical activity. It is also important to be careful not to gain too much weight during pregnancy, practice exclusive breastfeeding for an extended period, and support all children, regardless of their weight status, to ensure they eat healthily, sleep well, and are not sedentary.”

Referees’ skills and mistakes

Psychopandemic: which are the solutions

Beyond the widespread evidence, there are now numerous surveys that show us the data of the so-called psychopandemic, with a generalized increase of mental problems in the population of all ages. Here are the main points of the issue taken from David Lazzari, President of the Italian Register of Psychologists.

  • WHO already before the pandemic had highlighted that 17 million Italians suffered from psychological disorders, more than one in four Italians and in half of the cases these problems arise around the age of 14 years (Kastel 2019).
  • The highest incidence is in at-risk groups such as people returning from intensive care, those affected by Covid, the physically ill who could not be treated for fear of contagion or limitations in access, people who have lost a relative in special situations, “caregivers” who assist patents or people with diseases or disabilities, people with greater or previous psychological fragility, health workers in burnout.
  • Independent surveys carried out in various countries have converged in saying that one person in three today would need psychological listening and support, also to avoid the development of more serious and costly disorders.
  • In a recent survey conducted by the Study Center of the Italian Register of Psychologists, 47% of parents with children 3-14 years old report emotional problems, and 62% of children report negative psychological states.
  • Among adolescents, 6 out of 10 say they feel stressed and one out of three would like psychological support (Unicef 20.11.20).
  • 7 out of 10 people in these cases prefer psychological help to medication (McHugh 2013). There is evidence of greater and longer effectiveness of psychotherapy for most of these situations (Huhn et al. 2014, Cuijpers et al. 2014, Lazzari 2020).
  • Psychological interventions have a restructuring action because they promote people’s resources and prevent from relapse. We are talking about important differences that are appreciated especially in the medium and long term (Harryotaki et al. 2014, Zhang et al. 2018).
  • A fact confirmed by economic cost-benefit analyses, which tell us that 5 years after treatment, psychotherapy saves 1481 euros per person in health and 2058 euros to society compared to drugs, proving to be economically more advantageous in 75% of cases (Rossi et al. 2019).
  • All this without counting the possible side effects of widespread drug abuse.
  • Unfortunately, the problem is structural: it is the system that feeds this situation, because while drugs are reimbursed by the SSN or free (some categories) and easily available, psychological treatments are not only not reimbursable but are rare commodities in the public. With a psychologist and psychotherapist for every 12,000 inhabitants in the Italian NHS, access to these therapies in the public is for very few and in the private sector there are now fewer who can afford treatment.
  • Psychology and psychotherapy are still designed for those who can pay for them.

The gym of the ideas of the paralympic sport

Il Comitato Italiano Paralimpico ha realizzato un progetto denominato “La palestra delle idee”.  

Obiettivi: proseguire il percorso avviato con il Festival della Cultura Paralimpica, rappresentare lo sport paralimpico come

  • elemento di crescita culturale e sociale del Paese
  • strumento di riscatto personale e di inclusione delle persone disabili
  • sistema per provare a cambiare la percezione della disabilità nella nostra società

L’idea alla base del progetto è quella di dare vita a un confronto sui temi legati allo sport paralimpico, attraverso il coinvolgimento di personaggi del mondo della cultura e di testimonial del nostro mondo sportivo.

Tra le finalità c’è anche quella di incentivare la formazione a distanza di studenti, strumento quantomai utile per garantire il proseguimento della formazione culturale degli alunni in un periodo noto per le restrizioni causate dalla pandemia di Covid 19.  Per tale ragione tutti gli appuntamenti saranno visibili in diretta dal sito ufficiale e tramite i canali social del Comitato Italiano Paralimpico, rimanendo a disposizione di quanti vorranno rivedere gli incontri successivamente.

Di seguito riportiamo i link per partecipare agli incontri:





Questo progetto fa parte del percorso di avvicinamento alle Paralimpiadi di Tokyo 2021, il più importante appuntamento del quadriennio per il movimento paralimpico nazionale e internazionale.  Si intende così offrire l’occasione per far conoscere, in modo più approfondito possibile, l’importanza di un movimento che oltre a promuovere lo sport per tutti si fa portatore del principio del pieno riconoscimento dei diritti civili per tutte le persone con disabilità.

I prossimi appuntamenti in programma si svolgeranno nelle seguenti date:

  • Venerdì 20 novembre alle ore 17.30. Lo scrittore Giacomo Mazzariol e l’atleta paralimpica FISDIR Nicole Orlando parleranno di persone con sindrome di Down;
  • Venerdì 27 novembre alle ore 10 ci confronteremo con la travel blogger Giulia Lamarca e con il campione paralimpico di sci nautico non vedente Daniele Cassioli sul viaggio senza barriere;
  • Venerdì 4 dicembre alle ore 10 le campionesse della nazionale italiana di sitting volley (la pallavolo praticata da seduti)

The coaching process

Think about this idea.

The training is:

Feeling comfortable in an uncomfortable situation

The hare and the tortoise story

Don’t win the best. Win who is tough and respect the opponent.

Risultati immagini per Esopo story hare tortoise

Basic mental skills

The basic mental skills can be learned at any age and they are independent from the motor and sport skill level.

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