Tag Archive for 'adolescenti'

Survey: adolescents and school

National survey: Educational Poverty in Children and Youth in Italy

Economic poverty is often caused by educational poverty. The two feed off each other and are passed on from generation to generation.

In Italy, the most affected group by poverty is children. In 2005, 3.9% of minors under the age of 18 lived in absolute poverty and that number currently triples and exceeds 12%. In today’s Italy, the younger a person is, the more likely is to experience absolute poverty.

Educational poverty, on the other hand, prevents too many boys, girls, and young people from having equal “opportunities” for growth, by lacking access to child services, education, training courses, culture, musical education and art, sports, meeting places, and health care. Fighting against educational poverty, therefore, becomes a fundamental action for the development of the country. A real change is possible only by guaranteeing all minors equal access to quality education. To achieve this, there should be a common link between the local educational institutions, primarily between schools and families, but also between educational institutions and organisations from the third sector. By and large, it is a process that involves all those who are part of the “educational community”, including the children themselves, who from being recipients of services become protagonists in their own future.

How do you work with the young athletes?

Have you ever thought about how to start working with a young athlete? Here are some questions to reflect.

  • Do you have an outline of how to develop the mental preparation intervention with a young teenager?
  • What skills to start with?
  • Do you take a period of observation and first talk to the coach?
  • What do you begin to observe?
  • What do you say to the athlete first?
  • Do you use a structured interview? And on what main topics?
  • How much time do you spend between this introductory phase and the beginning of the intervention?
  • Does it change your job and goals if you work in a period away from competitions or if the intervention starts in a competition period?
  • Usually in relation to which aspects of your work do you feel most comfortable to begin?
  • If underage, do you always talk to parents as well? What is your goal?
  • How do you check the young person’s motivation to be engaged in this mental work?
  • Do you have clear in mind what you want to say in the first three minutes when you talk to the athlete for the first time? What do you want me to remember about this introduction?

New Zealand: one project to change the youth sport approach

Youth sport, the need for multi-sports practice, the drop-out causes, the increase in injuries and the parents, coaches and managers role. These are the themes of one project developed in New Zealand to reconsider the approaches used up to day. It is an approach not used in Italy but I suppose that is the same in many others European countries. We need to be more responsible of the sports proposal we offer to our children and adolescents. We need to reduce sport drop-out  in order to promote their well-being, sense of belonging and good life habits.

Reading the following article will certainly be useful to open our minds to the problem of sports practice and drop-out and to receive good insights..

Sport NZ and five of the largest participation sports in New Zealand – Rugby, Cricket, Football, Netball and Hockey – have launched a major public awareness campaign calling for enablers of youth sport to reconsider their approaches. But why is the call to action so urgent?

The collaborative ‘Keep up with the play’ campaign zeroes in on the issue of why teens are walking away from sport in increasing numbers. Evidence gathered over time in Sport NZ’s Active NZ national participation survey shows that when comparing 12-14 year olds with 18-24 year olds, hours per week engaged in physical activity drops from 12 to 5. In addition, the number of activities drops from 6.4 to 2.5 and weekly participation drops substantively from 98% to 75%. The campaign calls on everyone involved in youth sport, specifically parents, coaches and administrators, to help turn this around.

Furthermore, Secondary School Sport census data shows that although school rolls have increased over the last three years, participation has dropped in inter-school sport. For Sport NZ this is disturbing, because habits formed in the teen years transfer to the adult years. Basically inactive teens become inactive adults.

Although some of the drop-off can be attributed to the inevitable changes that occur during the teen years including motivation, contention on time and the impact of technology, there are other factors that exacerbate this decline.

Sport NZ says that years spent studying the subject, and examining overseas models, shows young people are best served when their needs are put first. And the main motivation for young people to play sport is to have fun (76%) followed by hanging out with family or friends (44%). The fact is that sport is seen by many teens as another way to connect with friends and have a good time. And if the fun goes, because the pressure and time demands rachet up, they’ll be likely to follow.

Though some parents might be tempted to let their kids specialise early in one sport, perhaps encouraged by a coach or club administrator, the statistics show this is probably a bad idea. Australian studies demonstrate that the transition rate from being identified as youth talent to becoming an elite athlete is less than 10%.

And it won’t necessarily be worth it. Over training and over playing can lead to injury and burn out in young players. ACC statistics have shown a 60% surge since 2008 in sports-related injuries in 10-14 year olds – double the increase of any other age group. There are a number of reasons for the spike, but a growing concern is that too much of one sport can be just as harmful as not enough exercise.

For those looking for a helpful guide, ACC encourages the one hour for every year guideline, where the amount of organised sport per week – both training and competition – should not exceed the child’s age. Exceeding recommended hours increases the odds of a ‘gradual onset injury’.

All in all, the stats are sobering. And though every parent wants to support their child becoming a star on the sports field, too much too soon may have just the opposite effect.”

World Health Org: 80% of adolescents is not active enough

Italy: + poor + cars – sports

From: The return of regional inequality, J. Rosés and N. Wolf

“A recent literature has explored growing personal wealth inequality in countries around the world. This column explores the widening wealth gap between regions and across states in Europe. This rise in regional inequality, combined with rising personal inequality, has played a significant role in the recent populist backlash.

Growing inequality in terms of personal income and wealth distribution is a major concern, as shown by the work of Atkinson (2007), Piketty (2014), and Milanovich (2016). Their work suggests that the post-war period, with high income growth spreading to all parts of society in OECD countries, was a historical exception rather than a guide to the global future. It all ended in the 1980s, with a sharp increase in top incomes, stagnating middle income, and a real decline for the poor.

There is growing evidence that this applies not only to inequality between people, with a widening gap between a few very rich individuals and all others, but also to regional differences within and across states. Rodriguez-Pose (2018) argued that regions across the world seeing declines are those that breed political tension and rising populism, for example in the US, the UK, France, Germany, and elsewhere.”

In Italy, a study published by Save the Children showed the same trend:

  • 10 millions of young and 37 millions of cars
  • +50% of adolescents do not practice sports
  • 259.000% (11%) young of 14 biggest city live in suburb areas with urbanist, educational and social problems
  • Roma and Genova: live in these areas the 70% of the youngest
  • Napoli and Palermo: 60%
  • Milano: 43%
  • Cagliari: 35%
  • 25% of the young live in apartment not adequate
  • poor education: in 2013, 3 millions and 200.000 of young between 6-17 (47.9%) had not read a book, outside of the school books
In Italy,  the investments in the public school system have been reduced from 4.6% to 3.9%, whereas in France and Germany they have been increased till 5% of GDP.


New proposals to diffuse sport among young

Aspen Institute launched a model of sport development for children and adolescents based on the most recent research in this area with the aim to increase their involvement in sport. The goal is to change the sport culture centered on the early start to a single sport, suggesting the validity of a multi-sports even for future elite athletes. This initiative also aims to increase the number of young physically active that in recent years is narrowing significantly. The project, developed together with the most important sports organizations and worldwide company has been called Project Play – Reimagining Youth Sport in America.

Fig. 6 Physical activity has long lasting benefits that affect all aspects of a child’s life and last into adulthood. (Courtesy of Aspen Institute Project Play) [Citation]  

Mindfulness enhances adolescents’ memory

A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effect of Mindfulness Meditation on Working Memory Capacity in Adolescents

Quach, D., Jastrowski Mano, K.E., and Alexander, K,     J. Adolesc Health 2015

This is the first study to provide support for the benefits of short-term mindfulness practice, specifically mindfulness meditation, in improving work memory capacity. The study has involved 198 adolescents recruited from a large public middle school in southwest United States and randomly assigned to mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga, or a waitlist control condition. Results highlight the importance of investigating the components of mindfulness-based interventions among adolescents given that such interventions may improve cognitive function.



Do you coach yourself to compete?

When the young athletes have acquired the technical skills required by the sport they enjoy and have become skilled in the execution of specific sport actions, it becomes important to train them to compete. These are the goals of the coaching that takes place from 16 years for most of the sports and that will lead some to become world-class athletes. One should not confuse the acquired skill with the ability to provide an adequate performance at their own level. Indeed, it’s not difficult to meet young teenagers capable, good from a technical standpoint but not ready to compete. For this reason a part of the training, that with the increase of age will become more significant and wide should be dedicated to achieve the purpose of teaching the athlete to give their best in terms of comparison with other athletes. The coaches should not be afraid to acknowledge that this is an essential goal of their work and the practice must be oriented in this direction. This type of training is intended to teach the athletes to maintain the quality of their performance under the competitive pressure.

Sport: reward or punishment?

The school is started and many parents worried about school performances often cut sport. Football is one of them. Workouts jumping and sport abandoned if the scool results are bad. Physical activity is considered a premium and therefore is used as punishment.

The latin sentence “Mens sana in corpore sano” contains a deep truth that becomes even more realistic if associated with childhood and adolescence. Accustom your child to an adequate management of the school and the sport times is the winning educational strategy that focuses on the sense of responsibility, stimulating the organizational skills of the young. The desire to be on time for the training stimulates to organize, to pull out the management skills. It’s important for parents to learn how to use the wishes of children and young people as a stimulus and not as a source of punishment, this in order to achieve stable results not associated with the  punitive moment.
The World Health Organization too in the “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity” defines for each age group the quantity of physical activity recommended. Between 5 and 17 years is recommended that: “at least 60 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous activity, including at least 3 times a week strength exercises that may consist of movement games or sports activities.”
This interest in physical activity during childhood and adolescence confirms the importance of sport for the physical and psychological growth of the new generations. The first step is to stop to consider sport as a whim of the children, to be used as a reward or punishment, but a key aspect to be integrated in the educational development of the young.

(by Daniela Sepio)

Teenager on field: a challenge for the coach

When coaches train adolescent athletes t they need to use their interpersonal skills efficiently. The communication style more frequently adopted is to “be a friend.” In fact, even when the boys and girls grow up, the true challenge for the coaches is to maintain their role. The coach-friend does not help,the coaches need to apply some rules, useful also for parents, which allow them to have an open communication with the teenagers:

  • Stimulate active participation to facilitate the processes of attention and memory: give examples
  • Understanding the needs of the listeners. The motivation to listen is essential: which messages are more interesting for them
  • Search for the adolescent feedback. There can be no communication without information exchange: the feedback is, therefore, an essential step in this process
  • Create togetherness
  • Follow their own pace. They are used to deal with messages having these characteristics: speed, motion, color, sound, interactivity. Coach messages need to have some of these features otherwise attention and the motivation to listen will decrease
  • Use their jargon
  • Use different channels to communicate (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • To be concrete without to overload  of information

At the same time there are attitudes that, in contrast, are able to stop any possibility of communication with the adolescents:

  • The excess of information
  • Giving feedback and negative feedback without pointing the way for change
  • Have an attitude of superiority: “I’m older and I know how things are going”
  • Maintain a physical and psychological distance
  • Have a manipulating and controlling leadership style

Communicating with young people is really a challenge. Often we remain displaced in front of their questions or their silences. They have the ability to move a lot of deep feelings that we must recognized and processed in order to continue to improve in our own role as a coach.

(by Daniela Sepio)