Tag Archive for 'aspettative'

How the positive thinking can destroy our performance

How many times we have heard we must be optimistic, that we have to believe we can win, or that “with everything we’ve done we deserve to achieve a great result.”

There is apparently nothing of wrong to have this thinking, “That’s the way to push ourselves” many people say.

They also add: “What should I tell: to lose? Nobody start a competition with the goal to lose, therefore, you must start the race with the will to win it, because if you don’t even think it, how will you get it?”

In short, “think positive and you will see that it will happen what do you want.”

Well, all these good thoughts are useless and they can become harmful, because at the first difficulties and errors during the race, the athlete will not be ready to react immediately because he expects to win, that is to say that she is focused on the result and not on what to do to get it. “I was ready … and then things didn’t go as I had expected.”

These are often the words of those who start with a too trusting attitude and then at the end of the performance they attributes the result to something out of themselves, without taking responsibility for what it has happened.

These thoughts, which represent the athletes’ expectations about the race, can really be considered as the performance killers. They are amazed by their own mistakes and the difficulties they face in the race and they have not prepared a plan to react effectively to these situations.

Dybala’s expectations lead pressure

Expectations are the main killer of the athletes’ confidence, you expect to perform at the best thanks to the talent and training, nothing more wrong, it’s not enough. Probably Paulo Dybala seems to have fallen into this trap. He has all the qualities necessary to become one of the world’s best players, then the pressure of having to show on the pitch he’s ruin. It is a common mistake of many athletes of the highest level, they load on their shoulders this unnecessary pressure reducing the skill to compete at their best. Even the Brazil team before the soccer World Championships in Rio expected to win, instead the team collapsed under the inability to handle this pressure or Andy Murray has won far less when compared with his real competences but struggled a long time to learn how to take off from the shoulders his expectations and those of an entire nation that after so many years had finally found a champion in tennis.

The expectation to win, to score a goal or to lead the team are certainly important, nobody comes into game to lose or play badly. We have not to confuse these beliefs, they should be left in the locker room, with the actual behaviors that we must bring into play to achieve them. Expectations can be also extremely positive but the players have to know how to translate into competitive goals and behaviors. This determines the difference between who is reliable and who thrives on fantasies that himself and others (sponsor, coach, team, family, manager).

The current competitive stress management strategies have the purpose to teach athletes to identify which are the mental processes determining the success on the field of  behaviors focused for achieving the goals. Unfortunately, the talent can be an obstacle to developing this mental and physical readiness status, because the athletes can believe that their skills will be enough. When this happens the fall is even harder, because there is a growing risk to doubt their abilities, entering in a negative spiral, that  from match to match can lead to isolate themselves, to feel misunderstood and to expect that at some point the lucky star magically will return to shine. This vicious circle must be blocked and the athletes should get help from a professional to establish concrete and challenging goals to reach and identify the behaviors needed to achieve them. For Dybala this difficulty could thus become an important opportunity for personal development and growth, to achieve a conscious sport and human maturity.

Roma: too much self-esteem and expectations

I think the problem of Roma, beyond the skill of Bayern can be summarized as follows: sometimes you just need to reduce expectations to avoid unnecessary disappointments.

Gianni Mura expressed on laRepublica the same concept with other words: “But if the self-confidence grew after the good match at Manchester, perhaps grown too much, now they have to pick up together the pieces and find again the play but also the character lost “.

Learn the emotion management

Tennis is a sport that requires a continuously high emotional control by the player. This request concerns not only the professionals but also the children. It’s unfortunately very common to see boys between 11-14 years that begin after an error a negative self-talk, expressing anger/frustration. Already so young people have difficulty accepting their mistakes! They ignore that learning is a function of their ability to manage their emotions. Parents are often pessimistic about the ability of their children to change, because they are convinced “that you are born like that” and then they have tried to tell not to react that way but he/she did not get any change because the character never change. Fortunately not everyone thinks in this way and around the world  programs are active to counteract this phenomenon starting from the school. The sport, and the court in this case, represent an important situation in which young people can learn how to effectively manage their emotions and it’s an indirect way to teach parents that it is a skill that can be improved as well as they learn the basics of tennis and then puts them together to build their own game. Of course, parents should support their children’s activity with no expectations about their future tennis but supporting their motivation to have fun through sport. It ‘s very difficult to play this role, however, because the personal vanity leads them to believe that their child can become a champion. How do you agree to take him/her to play tennis 3/4 times a week, to see him/her after the first  mistakes to start these negative behaviors and go on to say ” but he/she likes so much tennis.” You cannot ignore it, thinking that sooner or later passes. Rather not pass ! To those who think this way, I suggest you read the Edutopia, which aims to teach children and adolescents to improve the management of their emotions and social relations. In Italy I wrote some time ago of a similar program grew out of a research by Dove, which will promote in 10 secondary schools of Milan, a series of four meetings, reserved for girls and boys aged between 12 and 14 years.

Gianluigi Quinzi: dream as well but work hard

Gianluigi Quinzi has just won the Wimbledon junior tournament. He is in an enviable position (he won the most prestigious tournament and just another Italian has succeeded in the past) but he is on the abyss of personal expectations and pressures  from the external environment extremely strong. He succeeds? Nobody knows, but if he will effectively manage this uncertainty and he will train very hard, then he will have acquired such strength of mind that the future could be his friend.

El Shaarawy crisis

It’s still continuing the Stephan El Shaarawy’s crisis, Milan football player, after a good first half of the season, he played a rather subdued the second part and this crisis seems to continue in the national team. Crisis are quite common in young players and, maybe future champions, as it is not easy to maintain high performance levels when everyone expects it to be so.

Many athletes feel these emotions and should have to follow a program of psychological coaching to train mentally to handle them effectively. I hope that Prandelli, the Italian team coach, is not one of those coaches that says “do not worry, as soon as you score a goal all these thinks get out.”

The main training mode are the following:

  • Relaxation associated with mental rehearsal of the performance – it’s about knowing how to relax reducing usefulness tensions and charging with those who promote the performance.
  • Identification of the optimal emotional state – Allows the player to train himself to stay in the optimal psychological condition, experienced in the past on the occasion of his best performances.
  • Simulation – Replicate the match conditions in training helps to improve  the performance and prepare for the unexpected situations that may occur. Consists, for example, in producing in training stimuli that may distract the athlete from the execution of his performance.
  • Acceptance of competitive stress – It’s essential to accept that the emotional condition felt before the game is an important individual reaction; it emphasizes the value that is attributed to that match. In fact, without the stress perception the matches would only other workouts. Instead, they are carried out to prove  to ourselves our competitive value through comparison with others.

Expectations kill the performance

Expectation to make a great performance is what worse can think an athlete. Expectations should be part of selfcontrol that an athlete must have on itself. The only expectation  allowed is to know that you have to stay committed  at your best but when you start you have to put aside any idea of the result and fight in every moment of the race, step by step, shot after shot, inch by inch, second by second. There is nothing beyond this and who is not trained in this goes back.

The expectation management is not a easy thing

The more we become skilled at something, the more we have to know how to manage our expectations, fo the reason they will tend to grow in an unrealistic way. For example, we can start thinking that we do not commit more errors and at this moment the presumption grow up and we pay less attention to what we should do, because “so much I am skilled.” The effect of this approach is that it takes a error and if we do not accept it twe will make another, which will be accepted even less, if it were an injustice and down for this hill until with humility we will start to come back.

High Expectations are not always positives

Avere aspettative realistiche rispetto ai propri risultati è una degli aspetti dello sport agonistico che è più difficile da controllare da parte di atleti e allenatori. Talvolta una serie di risultati positivi portano a pensare di potere raggiungere il massimo risultato mentre altre voltre pochi risultati negativi o non soddisfacenti determinano previsioni ancora peggiori. A questo riguardo i commenti di Conte, l’allenatore della Juventus, sulla possibilità di vincere il campionato mi sembra un esempio di eccessivo entusiasmo, soprattutto perchè può spostare l’attenzione delle squadra sull’idea possiamo vincere da quella che invece dovrebbe riguardare il come fare per giocare bene e vincere la prossima partita. E’ un po’ come fessteggiare il successo 10 metri prima dell’arrivo, si può inciampare per la distrazione: meglio trattenere le emozioni, aspettare e poi manifestarle quando è terminato il giorne di andata. Questo perchè la fine della prima parte del campionato è un evento oggettivo, in cui ogni squadra effettua una prima valutazione del suo percorso e delle sue prospettive. In altri termini è legittimo in quel momento esprimere le proprie aspettative, farlo prima di quel momento direi che è quantomeno rischioso

Media influences on top sport performances

Mancano meno di 200 giorni all’inizio delle olimpiadi di Londra. Gli ultimi sei mesi che precedono questo evento sportivo sono spesso vissuti dagli atleti, soprattutto quelli che aspirano al podio in un crescndo di emozioni. Un articolo appena uscito sulla rivista della Scuola dello Sport del Coni di Mario Gulinelli, da sempre anima e artefice di questo giornale scientifico, pone l’accento sui rischi che il marketing, gli sponsor e i media possono fare correre nell’accentuare la pressione e le aspettative che si vengono a creare su atleti che non sono abituati a essere sotto questi riflettori, come invece lo sono ad esempio i calciatori, e a sopportare il peso le aspettative dell’opinione pubblica sul fatto che certamente vinceranno una medaglia. Questi atleti già vivono la pressione connessa al fornire la loro massima prestazione nell’olimpico, che rappresenta un’opportunità di entrare nella storia del sport mondiale. Questa problematica è stat illustrata dallo psicologo dello sport U. Kuhl, sulla rivista tedesca Leistungssport, 2011,.5) in cui ha analizzato le ragioni che hanno portato alla uscita ai quarti di finale dell’ultimo campionato del mondo della nazionale di calcio femminile tedesca, dopo avere vinto le due edizioni e essere considerate la grande favorita anche dell’edizione, giocata in Germania nel 2011. La sua spiegazione, basata sulle dichiarazione delle giocatrici, dell’allenatrice e della loro esposione mediatica, evidenzia come questo torneo si tramutato per loro in una minaccia anzichè rappresentare l’opportunità che tutti si aspettavano. Le opinione pubblica si aspettava grandi cose e le ragazze in campo anzichè giocare come sapevano, hanno cercato di compiacere questa richiesta cercando fi fare sempre qualcosa di speciale, di stupire, senza esserci riuscite. LO stesso è accaduto ai campionati del mondo di rugby, dove la squadra di casa, gli All Blacks dovevano per forza vincere. In finale hanno sprecato ben tre calci piazzati, hanno vinto di un solo punto e negli ultimi minuti hanno solo cercato di congelare la palla. Questo sono casi in cui la sfida si trasforma in minaccia di una disfatta, dove i fantasmi mentali vengono fuori e paralizzano atleti, che non sono certamente ansiosi, ma che vivono a causa delle troppe pressioni esterne la paura di non farcela. Possiamo solo sperare che i nostri atleti migliori siano consapevoli di queste problematiche e si preparino a affontare anche questo tipo di avversari, per arrivare sul campo con la mente libera.