Tag Archive for 'errori'

Soccer referee and psychology

We know that the stress of refereeing is negatively correlated with the referee’s concentration, self-confidence and overall well-being. This should not surprise us since this occurs in relation to any professionally performed activity.

We also know that just as athletes need psychological skills to perform successfully so do referees. Officials must be able to focus their attention, remain cool under pressure, deal with mistakes and adverse situations effectively and set realistic goals.

If these concepts are shared I wonder then, in the case of soccer referees, what is being done by the Italian refereeing organization to provide that stress preparation, especially after serious mistakes, to its members. Usually the referee is kept at rest for a few shifts. What purpose does this serve? And most importantly, how is it helped to overcome this kind of stress? Is time the only medicine? And with whom does the Italian designator consult, with other referees? And why not with a psychologist?

Questions that will not receive an answer. The Italian refereeing organization in the last 21 years has not produced a research on the psychological aspects of this activity. Otherwise, on google scholar under referee psychology there are at least one hundred researches on referees published in international journals.

The mistakes

The difficulty of athletes, but not only of them, to accept mistakes and to practice the saying “you only learn from your mistakes” in everyday life, highlights how much our culture teaches young people that mistakes should be avoided and that they are a demonstration of personal incapacity. With this approach, mistakes are something to be avoided and ashamed of, and when possible, hidden.

More rarely is it taught that making mistakes is part of the game of our lives, like rain and shine. The error should teach us to adapt to events, which in this case are represented by the performance of athletes. The error is the limit with which we are confronted in everyday life and indicates what the next goal of improvement will be.

Without mistakes there is no learning, we would not know in which direction to direct our energies and our intelligence. So let’s thank our mistakes that are our guide towards becoming better.

Confucio and the mistakes

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Confucius, who according to tradition was born on September 28, 551 BC. He was one of the masters of Chinese thought but also of the development of human thought based on an ethical conception that emphasizes the need to build harmony between individuals, developing cooperation between human beings and the variations of nature.

Regarding the issue of error management in sports (and not only), Confucius said: “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.”.

Let’s reflect.

The mistake management: why is it so difficult

In many cultures there are sayings that remind us how important it is to learn to react to negative situations and mistakes. They say, for example, “When a door closes, a big door opens,” while US people like to repeat, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, but how quickly you get back up,” and the Japanese say, “Fall seven times, get back up the eighth.” These statements highlight that in order to be successful, one must develop a full awareness of how common it is to make mistakes and how equally relevant it is to react constructively.

There are no shortcuts, because mistakes cannot be eliminated; you have to make mistakes, like during an obstacle course in which you are aware at all times that you can make mistakes, slow down, make a great effort to overcome an obstacle even if you are well prepared and know the path. So, if this is the way to go, it is necessary to prevent mistakes from becoming an alibi used to confirm to oneself the impossibility of overcoming one’s current limits, with the effect of determining a reduction in commitment, since “There’s nothing to do anyway” or “Yes, there is a lot to do, but I’m not talented enough or I’m unlucky”. It is therefore necessary to build, through daily activity, a work culture that considers error as an integral part of the improvement process.

On the other hand, sport is a context in which the presence of errors is a constant in every performance, very often even in winning ones. In skeet shooting, the world record, hitting 125 over 125 has been achieved 12 times in the last 25 years. On every other occasion, shooters have always made mistakes. In the sports of body coordination in space, there are very few times when an athlete, male or female, has achieved the highest score.

In basketball, Michael Jordan said, “In my life I have missed over nine thousand shots, I have lost almost three hundred games, twenty-six times my teammates have entrusted me with the decisive shot and I have missed. I failed many times. And that’s why in the end I won everything.” Also in basketball, in the EuroLeague only 8.5% of players made 90% of their free throws, 35% made 80%, 32% made 70% of their attempts, and 24% made less than 70% (Cei 2018). In soccer, everyone misses penalties from Roberto Baggio in the ’94 World Cup final to those misses by Messi, Modric and Ronaldo at the World Cup in Russia.

Despite these data, many athletes do not accept the possibility of making mistakes, sometimes they are even surprised: “Because everything was going so well” or “Because I felt so good that I thought I could never make a mistake” while other times the difficulty in accepting them emerges when the athlete is in the opposite situation, so he thinks: “It could not have been worse, that mistake caught me suddenly and I did not know how to react, I got confused thinking about what to do differently and from there it was a ruin”. Both these situations, one positive and the second negative, reported by the athletes quite frequently, highlight the difficulty in accepting the error and not having previously planned a way to deal with what could have negatively affected the performance.

Mistakes: how to manage them

Mistakes are the main content of whatsapps that athletes send. Competitive performance revolves around this issue: how to make fewer mistakes?

It’s a hot topic in sports where, in theory, the perfection of the gesture is sought, from shooting sports to artistic gymnastics and diving to jumps and throws in athletics. However, the same is also true for opposition sports such as tennis or fencing where you win by a few extra points, sometimes just 1 or 2. What about sports where you score a lot of points such as volleyball and basketball but also soccer, where a goal is a rare occurrence, therefore, 1 in 90 minutes may be enough.

Mistakes are made and cannot be avoided but can be fatal.

Sports performance is given by what the athlete/team has done positively minus the mistakes.

How come athletes and coaches don’t put their souls in peace, starting from the knowledge that they will make mistakes?

We’ll talk about this during a free webinar dedicated to error management on Wednesday, September 29 from 7-8:30 p.m.

The mistake management


“Ogni atleta commette errori. Ci si allena duramente per ridurli ma ancora troppo spesso gli atleti dopo un insuccesso guardano da un’altra parte per proteggere la fiducia in se stessi e così rinunciano a imparare. Continuano così a perseverare in abitudini e comportamenti sbagliati a causa della paura dei rischi in cui si potrebbe incorrere decidendo di cambiare. E’ certamente meno impegnativo lasciarsi dominare dalla voglia di lamentarsi: “Lo sapevo che sarebbe andata a finire in questo modo”, dando la colpa all’avversario che era troppo forte o alla sfortuna che si è accanita contro di noi. 


Obiettivo di questo webinar è di fornire indicazioni concrete su come orientare il ragionamento e le azioni degli atleti e degli allenatori verso l’idea che l’unico modo per migliorare è di accettare gli errori, che vanno compiuti per migliorare e avere successo. 


Clicca qui per iscriverti 

Be able to cope with small problems

In competition, you have to deal with small problems before they get too big and complicated.
Three examples.

  1. A guy in table tennis is up 5-2 during the first set, loses some points and goes 5-8 and then loses the set. The same in the next set is winning 9-6 loses a point and finds himself 9-10 to his opponent.
  2. In tennis a girl is not able to answer to the serve of the opponent and so she loses 15 points repeating always the same error (ball to the net). Then she decides at least to throw it into the opponent’s court, she succeeds and after a while she responds effectively to the same serve that had put her in trouble.
  3. In trap shooting a guy starts to slow down his action but catches the clay pigeon with the second shot, continues in this way in the next clay pigeon and the third clay pigeon does not hit him because he has slowed down too much.

Three different difficulties in three different sports but the same mind mistake. Instead of responding immediately to the error they suffered the mistake, without changing immediately and so a small obstacle became much more serious. They possess the skills necessary to correct themselves but did not do so immediately.

So their goal for improvement in future races is to respond immediately to a small mistake before it becomes too big.

The 3 pillars of my job

These the 3 pillars of my work.

  1. “What any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn if provided with appropriate prior and current conditions of learning” (Bloom, 1985).
  2. Performance is not a theoretical construct but a measurement: each observed score (Performance) on a measurement is equal to the true score (Skills) corrected for the error (deviation of the observed score from the true score or deviation of Performance from Skills). Performance = Skill + Error (Aoyagi, Cohen, Poczwardowski, Metzler and Statler, 2018).
  3. You must accept the error, rather than consider it as something to avoid, because it will always be present in every performance. You must learn to reduce its frequency and severity, to maintain the effectiveness of the performance at the highest level of personal competence. It is necessary to allow mistakes to be made, in order to obtain the information that will be useful to improve/upgrade skills, increasing the probability of providing performance in the future more and more corresponding to the level of skill acquired (Dweck, 2006).


Three golfers’ mental mistakes

Three typical golfers’ mistakes
  1. The ability of golfers to direct their attention to the shot to be executed is often taken for granted. The fitter you are, the easier it is to fall in this trap..
  2. The fact of being physically fit, of performing routine gestures mechanically does not mean being focused, the mind must always be activated, obviously in the right way.
  3. Focusing or recovering a correct attention focus after making a mistake is difficult even for experienced players, how long do they train to do it quickly?


We learn only through our mistakes

Jason Brown (@FundyTD) | Twitter