Tag Archive for 'Campioni'

The champs’ mental flexibility

The mental flexibility of the champions has been well summarized by Ripoll [2008] with these words:

“The great art of top champions is to have an extreme concentration that blocks them on a single objective, which allows them to ignore everything that is out to this objective and to go into another state. It is under this single condition that all sensations are exasperated and that the information processing system has an optimal performance. In their own words, these samples enter into a bubble that is watertight sufficiently to hide everything that is not necessary for the action, but porous enough to let only what is useful enter”.

Higuain and Dybala: it’s difficult to play always at the best

Higuain and Dybala are the latest example of how two champions should be in crisis for the pressure due to the demand to play at their best, that for a striker means to score goals. This request is the essence of their work but that sometimes collide with the way of thinking and living the emotions. In fact, the need to always match the expectations of the club, fans, media and sponsors stimulates on the one hand, a pleasant feeling to feel important and valued so highly positive but of course it has a cost, consisting in the duty to live up to this request. This creates tensions which result in a negative effect on performance and, therefore, this explains the goals not scored by Higuain and the penalties missed by Dybala. Episodes easy to overcome said Allegri, Juventus coach, focusing on the next matches. Personally, I think these guys  need someone who can listen to their fears, teaches the players to accept these moments as part of what they do and  teaches them to stay focused on their skills when they get the doubts and concerns. Usually this is the work of the psychologist: The family or friend role is relevant. In fact,they have to provide a psychological and physical context in which to be able to be themselves and not the champions, but it will not help to solve these problems.

Serena Williams depression

The depression is suffering Serena Williams joins the one who had many other sport stars including Lindsey Vonn, Ian Thorpe, Gianluigi Buffon. Two aspects must be taken into great consideration when we talk about depression in sport. The first, the neurosis and psychopathology produced by unstable behaviors are unusual among elite athletes, because the sport is already a sort of vaccine against this type of event. Having learned to live very intense emotional situations and sometimes extreme, and their recurrence continuously over the years with positive outcomes, allowed the athletes to develop high level of self-esteem. Next to this the positive side derived from continuous competitive stress and by the discovery of a positive way to cope with, there is another aspect that it may in fact increase the risk of depression, corresponding to the choice of making their lives depend on the achievement of sport successes. So in case of failure, to be questioned is the value as a person. A failure that it can lead to a very severe depression and in extreme cases at the suicide. It’s no coincidence that Serena Williams had already previously suffered from depression when she had to stop playing, because of two health problems. In one case, she cut her foot on a broken glass, undergoing two surgeries and so she described her state of mind at that time: “Especially when I had the second surgery (on my foot), I was definitely depressed. I cried all the time. I was miserable to be around.” In 2011, she also developed a lung problem and she was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs). She then underwent surgery for a large hematoma in her stomach. When she returned theathy she said she did not know what to expect, she did not want to be in a hurry and she hoped she would return to play as she knew. Losing to Roberta Vinci, after a year of triumph, it was the stimulus that it has again subjected to this painful condition. If she won the US Open she would become the first tennis player after almost 30 years to win the Grand Slam again, results previously achieved only by three other tennis players. Serena Williams has brought this boulder of expectations for the duration of the US Open, then she did not do most upright and she collapsed. She kept saying “I do not feel the pressure,” like a mantra that it can erase the truth whereas this mental approach has allowed only to delay her drama. It would do better to accept the fear of not being able to win despite being currently the most good. It’s not easy to think in this way, when the world thinks that you have to win and it does not consider any other outcome. In those moments, you do not have escape routes because others push you with enthusiasm towards the abyss; the only alternative would have been born of her own: to accept that losing was a possible solution, and that it could happen. If you live in the belief that you cannot lose, you must always correspond to the expectations of others and the demands of her enormous ego, whereas the defeat comes, she does not have tools to understand how this event could have happened, and this generates depression for not having been able to deal with the situation successfully. Depression starts at that time to despise herself. I hope Serena Williams relies on a skilled psychotherapist to help her to understand and better confront herself

If Roger Federer & Valentino Rossi show that talent is ageless

“Yeah, I’m still here,” sings Vasco Rossi and the same they say Valentino Rossi and Roger Federer. Both came second, proving once again to be worth the first and second place in the world ranking. Many of them have given up for dead on many occasions, stating that they did not know winning no more, they were old or the physical was not  holding them more.

Probably these objection for a while time were true, but any athlete goes through moments like these, often the champions exceed them by changing something in the way they train and live competitions. Most likely the other sink, because they use these negative moments as an excuse to withdraw, because of something they consider superior to them. People often focus their comments on their age, as if it was an essential limit, a characteristic to which we must surrender.

I heard to say: “Federer is old and no longer able to hold that little exchange, otherwise he loses the point.” But how many would like to have this trouble just to be second in the world? They also say that because of this threshold has had to change how you play. True, but why interpret this change as a negative connotation? And instead to emphasize his determination to change to stay on the top of the world ranking. The same it was said until last year for Valentino Rossi: “Why does he not withdraw rather than collect disappointing results?”

The chorus of “why he/she does not abandon” has been told also about other sport champions. In Italy Giovanni Pellielo, in shooting, after three medals in three different Olympics, in London, at age 42, he did not enter the finals and also here the same voices, he has not noticed them, he has trained and the following year again won the world championship. Valentina Vezzali, 41, fencer, she won everything repeatedly, and she wants to go to Rio. Not to mention Andrea Pirlo and Gigi Buffon and the dream they are living in these days with Juventus. We have to evaluate these men and women for their performances but not to the age. Above all we have to learn from them, because they are an example of fighting mentality in the face of difficulty and humility in dealing with the daily sacrifices, that are needed to return to excel in their sports, without being sure to succeed in this venture.

The athletes’ depression: a diffuse and ignored disease

At least 20% of the athletes is suffering from depression, the phenomenon regards a athlete on two when they get to the end of  their career.  When we talk about depression in sport two aspects must be taken into great consideration. The first, the psychopathology produced from neurosis and unstable behaviors is uncommon among  the elite athletes, because the sport is already a sort of  medicine against this type of event. At the same time, however, there is another risk factor: the choice to depend throughout the lives by achieving sports results, in addition to the contemporary value judgment as a person. So in the event of failure, to be questioned is the athlete whole life. A failure that can lead to a very severe depression and in extreme cases to suicide. The most critical phase in the athletes’ life is the approach to the end career. Here to take the risk and depression it’s the 50%. It does not depend on the popularity of the sport or the  academic degree of the person. When you turn off the limelight the lives of former athletes can become empty and dull. Who has been not prepared an alternative to the field ends up in the vortex of depression. In Italy,  the “dark evil” affects 6% of adults aged between 18 and 69 years, most of them are women. These data come by the system called ‘PASSI’ coordinated by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Health Promotion (Cneps) – Institute of Health. Also in sports, athletes who have used doping, such as abusing anabolic steroids, they run a strong risk of developing depressive phenomena. That’s why in addition to soccer,  cycling, athletics and endurance sports are the sports where the depressive illness is more prevalent. The risk, for many athletes is to lose the contact with the reality. The attention to the athletes’ problems is low. Often the young talents show symptoms of indolence against psychological pressure that undergo to become super-champions: consequently they train and perform poorly. Thus demonstrating to others that there is a problem. Moreover, they are often too stressed by their family, where parents from an early age have encouraged their sons to  get always the maximum. To be competitive at all costs.

Real Madrid-Barcelona: when soccer is again passionating

Last night it has been played Real Madrid – Barcelona and it was a great game of football. It’s finished 4-3 to Barcelona but such it’s the quality of the players on the field that it could have also finish 6 to 6. They face two different play philosophies, that of Real Madrid centered on the single individuality who can solve in any moments the matches that of Barcelona dominated the chorus of the play. Two teams who wanted to win and then become available to undergo the continuous attacks of the opponents. A game in which the players run, not for  sacrifice spirit, but for the need to maintain a high intensity, not to give opponents the time to restart with ease. Maintain high pressure on opponents is an attitude that Barcelona was able to show better than Real Madrid. There were three penalties because the quality of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Iniesta is such that the defenders had to make a foul to stop them. When two teams made up of so many champions come into the field to win the show is sure, they are players who do not slow down and convey to the public their willingness to take risks, to play ball for the pleasure it gives to do it effectively. It’s certainly their job but they have forwarded that football is their passion and they played with that attitude. Like in children’s matches in which everyone wants to play and score.

Not only 10.000 hours to have success

Talent alone is not enough, to become expert are also needed 10,000 hours of practice, not only in sports but in any other field of application. This idea is increasingly spreading from the BBC and newspapers. In reality, the issue is more complex than as disclosed. Meanwhile, it is necessary that these hours are distributed in a long period of time. Talking about young people (as in the case of sports and musicians) are also needed at least 10 years. Since the beginning  the young will spend a reduced time of about 300 hours a year, that for young of 15/16 years become 600/700 hours, 900 at 18/19 years and 1,200 in subsequent years, and so until the end of the career. The distribution in the long term of time spent on an activity  is essential, otherwise the training or any other form of learning activity would be merely neurotic and alienating. In addition to becoming experts are needed excellent teachers and not just the application. No one learns alone and excellence is achieved with only high-level teachers, in terms of ability to guide young people and keep their motivation high. Family i another key component in the career, providing not only financial but also emotional support. We know well that there are parents particularly harmfuls and oppressives, the fact remains that a stable social environment is a factor that athletes become adults, recognize that it was important for them. Finally it must be said that 10 years may not be enough, for example be member of  U.S. Olympic team needs 12/13 years since they started to practice their sport. In other words, we adults must never forget that the commitment of a young person is a long-term process. Therefore, to think about having a champion at home when a boy/girl is at the beginning of adolescence is only used to determine unnecessary illusions that almost certainly will collapse by reality, resulting in a negative impact on the confidence of the young  in his/her skills.

To have the right toughness to start again is not easy

For an athlete who in his career has reached the absolute top, be in a position of having to go back to work on his technique and on a different race management, because the rules of his sport have been changed is not an easy task. Especially if it happens in the post-Olympic period in which the majority of athletes tend to take some time to recover from the Olimpic stress. The combination of these aspects, rules changes and the need to maintain the commitment at the highest level, can lead to a condition of mental stress in which the athlete would not want to be in this stage of his career. In addition, the young athletes of the same sport perceive the post-Olympic period as an opportunity to gain experiences at the international level and therefore they are motivated to make every effort to be noticed by the national coach. There are so many reasons that prevent from living this year so undemanding but instead push in the direction of a fastf adaptation to new technical rules and competition changes.

Balotelli, the respect and the referees

Article by Paolo Casarin, former Fifa referees, published on Corriere delle Sera, April 30.

Balotelli says “I take one hundred fouls per game, which does not come called, but as soon as I say something I am warned.” Balotelli speaks as a  solitary-man, rather he plays football together with 21 other players and the presence of a referee, at least. All are related too the game: Balotelli to score, the other team to stop him, the referee to see if everything is done in fairness. Mario makes technical errors, the defenders bring a lot of strength, the referee judges not always accurately, but in First Division the errors are significantly lower than the well-made things, from all three. Football is a physical work group, a contest between two teams, when they are of high level, end up beating each other, within the limits of healthy competition, with each other. The duels are measured with respect for others, ready to close the confront with a handshake. “Next time do more attention,” I’ve heard a thousand times between them. The big players have no need of the referee, except to ask how much is remaining. The players competing for the first newspaper pages, first of all, must know the game of opponents, study their moves and try to overcome them. In fairness, without falling to the ground by a gust of wind. With this behavior increases the estimate between samples and aspiring champions, looking right at the “card player” with admiration, even if it is the opponent. For this exchange the shirt at the end. Mario also said that the referees do not speak with him, during the game: they prefer to avoid it and deny it, therefore, any dialogue. Balotelli has the right to be heard, like everyone else: let us remember, however, that the big players cultivate the relationship with the referee with measuring solidarity with almost no waiting.

I like this article for the idea of ​​respect and solidarity without expectations that a player must have with the referee. Balotelli will make a leap forward in her psychological maturity when you do not feel more isolated or discriminated against but as a part of the game that requires the presence of 22 players and the referee to be able to play a game. All are bound to all and respect and solidarity without expectations are necessary because the meeting does not turn into a fight.

It’s usual to think to drop out but not to do it

In those days when we think that the workout is so hard and our mind goes to drop out of running, swimming or any sport we’re doing, let’s not serious because it also happens to the champions to think it.

Lolo Jones, 100m hurdles and bobsled athletes for US team yesterday twitted: “Today’s running workout was so hard I thought about retirement. R U READING THIS COACH?! Or R U busy planning my next workout w the Devil??!”  and again “Coach Shaver had me run with 6 guys, All world class Track Athletes. I was like a dog trying to keep up with a Wolf pack.”