Tag Archive for 'coronavirus'

Research: the athletes’ life during corona virus

Applied research is an important aspect of promoting the profession of psychologist.
In relation to what we are living in these weeks, it is relevant to know how athletes are facing this moment of long crisis never experienced before in these extreme forms.
Below is the invitation to participate in this survey, through the compilation of a questionnaire on the web.

Hello everyone,
Together with a group of psychologists and experts in sports psychology we are investigating the consequences caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on the everyday life of people for whom sport is essential.
We decided to structure a research to understand the impact that the current situation is generating in the lives of Coaches and Athletes. We are investigating not only their sports habits, but also how they are experiencing this period, the emotions and stressful events they are experiencing, as well as the strategies they are putting into practice to best manage it.
That is precisely why we need your help, indeed the help of the whole sporting world.
In fact, we invite you to complete the following QUESTIONNAIRE (which can also be completed by smartphone and tablet) and to spread this initiative to as many athletes, coaches and clubs as possible. It will be thanks to you that we will be able to better understand how to face this situation and to build resources for the future to the resumption of sports activities.

https://bit.ly/sportestop

You can also follow us on www.facebook.com/sportecovid
Thank you

Thinking of these days: feel united

The thoughts of athletes can be useful to us to continue to reflect on our experience in these days. Thinking is useful to keep a reality oriented mentality not destructive or fatalistic and not even optimistic in a superficial way. These interviews concern athletes who run in the mountains and demonstrate the importance of feeling united, oriented towards the future by following the rules of the present. You can read the entire text on the World Mountain Running Association

“With the current COVID-19 crisis having such an effect on races and runners worldwide we wanted to reach out to athletes in different countries to see how they were affected and how they were coping with the situation. Many athletes in the worst affected countries, such as Italy and Spain, are very limited in being able to run, whereas for others the key restrictions are a lack of group training and obviously a lack of races. But wherever the athletes we spoke to were, what united all of them was a feeling that this crisis puts running into perspective and that we will get through it by pulling together and looking out for each other.

Francesco Puppi also feels that it’s a time to reflect, “Do we really miss the routine we constantly complain of and that the virus forces us to rethink? How badly do we miss friends, relatives, people, in a society where our network of relationships plays out in a virtual square, where our connections gives us the illusion of a human contact, a hug? Silence will help me answer these questions I keep asking myself.”

And what if you’ve targeted a particular race and it’s been cancelled? Social media is full of angry runners who’ve had their A races taken away, but the athletes we spoke to have a much more positive take on the situation. “Training every day has been a part of my lifestyle for 20 years now (wow, I’m getting old!), so regardless of racing I would be putting in the time to train and workout. What keeps me positive is knowing that all of my hard work is not for naught. When the time does come to race, you can do so confidently because you have been given the opportunity to focus on training so that you can be as prepared as possible. Think of this time as just putting money in the bank; you may not be using it now, but it sure is going to come in handy later on when you make the deposit either in the fall or next year.” says Maria Dalzot.

Likewise Francesco Puppi’s spring season (including the Rotterdam Marathon ) has been turned upside down but he is philosophical about it: “it doesn’t mean that all the work I did has been wasted. I am still proud of what I managed, of the big effort I put into those 110-mile weeks, the sore legs, the long workouts. Of the improvements and setbacks I experienced in this journey. It’s just a matter of re-thinking our goals. Keep on running because this something we love and makes us feel good, even in the worst situation. This should be the main reason behind it.”

Max King sees race cancellations as an opportunity to do other things, “I’m looking at the positive at some races being cancelled so that I can tackle other projects such as FKTs, or getting a good solid base of training in for the summer race season if we’re able to have it. There’s so many ways to stay positive and look on the bright side when something like a race gets cancelled. Sure, it’s a bummer but there will be other opportunities soon enough.”

But as a race director (of the recently cancelled Bend Marathon) he also asks runners for their understanding in these difficult times: “people just don’t understand how hard that is for a race director. We’re not given a choice about cancelling and it’s not always possible to give everyone’s money back and still be able to have a race next year. We’re small businesses most of the time and we’ve worked all year to bring racers a unique experience. It’s not like all the work and expenses are on one weekend. I think people need to understand that.”

The overwhelmingly uplifting response we got from the runners we contacted speaks volumes about our community. Nancy Hobbs points out that we need to look out for each other at this difficult time. “One of the most important things is to check in with your running friends, it’s crucial to support one another”. Andrew Douglas warns that “it can be easy to become overly anxious looking at your social media feeds with the sheer volume of posts about coronavirus; so I try to make a conscious effort to limit my access”. Looking after ourselves and each other will help us through this.”

Coaching in these difficult days

These days it is not always possible to train as we would like because the sports center could be closed, in many sports you need to train with someone else and there is not always this opportunity, because the coaches could have personal problems and so on. Especially younger athletes than senior national team athletes may encounter these difficulties more.

For those at home I would like to give some suggestions to train anyway, even if in a different way than usual.

Set goals - It is necessary to have goals on which to orient the daily commitment, in many sports can relate more to physical and mental preparation, easier to perform at home or in spaces other than the usual training environment. So set what to do, when and for how long.
Physical Preparation - Have your coach send you the physical preparation program you can do at home. Follow it and exchange results, thinking and difficulties with him/her.
Mental Preparation - Use this days to focus more on this type of training. You can train 4 psychological skills: self-control through breathing, concentration on task and performance, imagination of your performance, and have a constructive self-talk. Do it on a daily basis, if you work with a sports psychologist, work together for this program that is good to do on a daily basis. If you would like to use this time to start such a job, you can contact a sports psychologist or write to me through the blog and I will reply.
Videos - Watching videos of other athletes’ performances is useful to understand how they face competitions, moments of difficulty, style of play or anything else that may interest you. Watch videos driven by a specific target and not like a fan.

The mindset of the people who do not respect the rules

As long as I breathe I hope,” Cicero said, today we could translate it into “as long as there is life there is hope,” more brutal but equally true. The coronavirus affects precisely this capacity that is at the basis of the physiological and psychological needs of living beings. You may not drink or eat for a few days, but you can’t breath for a few minutes if you are not a champion of underwater apnea. Correct breathing is at the base of self-control and the stresses of our daily life determine as a first negative effect our own breathing problems. Fear makes us block our breath, anger hates it to allow us to scream at someone, sadness reduces it to a trickle of air that goes in and out and anxiety makes us breathe in a shallow and superficial way. Breathing reflects our level of physical fitness and well-being and one of the effects of this new virus is to block it, making assisted breathing necessary in many cases. Mario Garattini, founder of the Mario Negri Pharmacological Research Institute, MIlano, said that “everything will depend on us, on our ability to avoid contagion. Let’s adhere to the dispositions. If everyone had adequate lifestyles and there was adequate prevention, perhaps we would be more resistant”.

This awareness, combined with the worldwide spread of the coronavirus and its devastating effects, should have frightened people enough to never leave their homes again, motivating them to respect the rules that have been spread and whose implementation is mandatory. Nevertheless, thousands of people have continued to travel throughout our country and the police have fined more than 2000 people for violating the restrictive rules of the government decree. What are the reasons for this behaviour? Superficiality, too positive approach to the problem, anxiety and a lack of habit of following the rules. Superficiality is a kind of magic thought, in which people think that the coronavirus is a problem that affects others, such as the elderly and sick, is a way to protect themselves from feelings of sadness in the short term. These people deny the existence of the problem and, therefore, engage in behaviour to escape from their reality. A second type of attitude is people who have an approach not mediated by reality and that is too positive, such as those who thought at the beginning of the spread that it was little more than a flu. They are individuals who live under the illusion of positive short-term solutions. A bit like those who start a diet or want to quit smoking and are confident that they will succeed just because they have made this decision, they are illusory forms of thinking so that at the first obstacles people give up following the new rules they have given themselves because it is too difficult. In the case of the coronavirus the problem manifests itself in the difficulty in maintaining the rules of physical distancing from other people and then they go out, take a walk with friends and take their children to play in the gardens. Similar for the effects but different in reasons is the approach of those who feel angst in staying at home. They perceive themselves as prisoners, feel violated in their freedom of movement and live this condition in a claustrophobic way. To overcome it the only solution in going outside. Finally, there are those who live reactively to the rules, have an attitude of eternal adolescents fighting against the norms of the adult world. They find it difficult to make the rules their own, which in this case are mandatory, and to develop a pluralistic concept of social coexistence, based not only on their rights but also on their duties towards the community.

These are some possible interpretations of behaviours that in a period of world crisis like the one we are experiencing and of upheaval of our daily life can explain the actions of the many who seem not to want to adapt to the new rules.

Our goals during coronavirus

At this time we are facing totally unforeseen situations that put great limits on our freedom. As we know they are necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to give us a high probability of not being affected.

In order to accept these new rules we must establish that our aim is to take the health problem seriously and to take care of ourselves and the health of other people.

We must be committed to achieve this goal, having confidence and follow the advice of experts and scientists.

Develop new daily routines! They have to be effective for this new kind of life, which for many concern the quarantine and for the most part a reduction in social life at work, school and leisure.

We must quickly learn to avoid any distractions that get us away from this new way of life.

Let us maintain a constructive dialogue with ourselves, because even with these limitations it is more satisfying to have days organized on the activities in which we are involved than to be depressed by the misfortune of living this time.

Let us all begin to live following this approach and we will manage better our present time and to understand deep down that these limitations can be an opportunity to know ourself better and to discover other ways of living.

We have to learn from the Hoplites to stick together

The term oplita indicates Greek heavy infantry soldiers equipped with the characteristic shield called oplon.

During the 8th century b.c. the hoplites in battle operated in tight ranks forming a metal wall from which the long spears emerged and this formation was so effective that the role of light infantry, cavalry and war chariots was greatly reduced in Greece. The war philosophy of the oplite was based on moderation and mutual aid and not on the valorous feats of a hero, in fact there are no holograms in Homeric poems.

Today we should do the same thing, finding courage to stand together and move forward.

La falange oplitica, la (quasi) invincibile fanteria greca

Barack Obama: listen to the experts

Leader’s characteristics when the country is under stress

True leaders become particularly important in times of increased stress. What we are experiencing, with the spread of the coronavirus, is one of these times when those in positions of responsibility acquire greater visibility, must be perceived as authoritative and must make decisions that are useful to the common welfare, showing understanding of the situation in the country.

Leaders are individuals who should be comfortable enough to face difficult days such as those they put at risk:

  • the well-being and health of people for whom they have direct (in the case of companies) or indirect responsibility (in the case of representatives of public institutions, public health and local authorities),
  • the geographical and social environment in which they operate,
  • the sense of social responsibility and the values on which the organization they lead and the interests of all those who support it are based.

Leaders then take decisions in accordance with these three factors, in agreement and sharing them with public institutions and those relevant to him. This requires leaders to have specific knowledge of the present reality, the ability to collaborate with representatives of the other organizations involved, awareness and sense of responsibility of the social value of their work in these moments, to know how to explain the meaning of their decisions and to have knowledge of the results they intend to achieve with these decisions.

Every leader must take decisions, even difficult ones, knowing they must be inspired to keep united the social environment for which they are responsible in their field. These days it is not enough to think before talking. Even before that, it comes: to document and share their ideas with those who have expertise and play a specific role on public health issues.

This is not theory, but enables socially responsible leadership.

 

The Italian Football championship had to be stopped

Competitions are situations in which teams and athletes are confronted with the guarantee that they are organized to allow each participant to compete in a context of equal opportunities for all. Otherwise, beyond the skills expressed on the field by the teams, some will be facilitated while others will be disadvantaged by the changes made in the organizational context.

In Italy, due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Lega Serie A and the Federazione Gioco Calcio have had to take decisions in relation to the conduct of the matches, being able to choose between different options.

It was decided to postpone some matches until mid-May, in the geographical area most affected by the virus and to allow the others to take place. I am not discussing the need not to let them play, at cause they would have put at risk the health of citizens in the affected areas, this is a choice that is up to the football managers on the basis of expert advice (Ministry of Health).

The football managers’ choices to postpone certain matches do not guarantee equal opportunities for the championship because the level of preparation of the teams today is certainly not what they will have in more than two months’ time, so that the advantage of being at the top of the league table or chasing them will not be real but will be conditioned by waiting for the results of the postponed matches, because it is very likely that the teams involved will have to play a large number of matches in May which will affect their performances, because the results of the international cups will affect the teams’ attitudes on the pitch.

In my opinion, the football executives have made the worst decision they could have made, further increasing the climate of suspicion that still continues to be present in Italian football. It would have been more appropriate, in order to guarantee the regularity of the championship, to suspend it for one or more weeks until the health situation had returned to be safe.