Tag Archive for 'errori'

To learn from mistakes: a very demanding change

Wanting to learn from mistakes is a positive and necessary desire, but it’s also truly challenging to put into practice. A first obstacle lies in maintaining this motivation continuously during the competitive season.

A second aspect concerns maintaining it even when the athlete feels prepared and fit and would expect to perform at their best because of this condition. Forgetting that the environment of the competition, the opponent, and the importance of the competitions are other factors that influence how they will compete.

A third aspect, closely related to the previous one, lies in the presumption of thinking that since one is in good shape, it will be assumed that they will make few mistakes and everything will go well. Being surprised if this doesn’t happen. Thinking about winning rather than thinking about how to play at one’s best is considered to be a performance killer.

A fourth aspect refers to the emotional component triggered by the mistake. The athlete knows the reasons for the mistake and would know how to change, but they allow themselves to be dominated by the frustration of the mistake and emotions of anger, disappointment, or guilt instead of encouraging themselves. In this way, even if they think correctly, the negative mood towards themselves prevents them from effectively implementing their choice.

Mental training should focus on teaching the young athlete to overcome these negative mental states, stimulate constant forms of encouragement, and develop a positive self-dialogue.

Those who learn from mistakes succeed

One of the reasons why athletes fail to give their best regardless of the outcome is that they don’t engage in mental training. This means that, in addition to exercises that put them in good physical condition, they don’t practice exercises that can help them mentally. For many, mental performance is considered nothing more than an extension of physical performance, without any dedicated attention.

Unfortunately, this belief is often deeply rooted, and athletes, when faced with their mistakes, instead of reacting with more attention and determination, feel guilty and demotivated. This is particularly common in the social media era, so it’s important to train athletes to be more aware of the reasons for their mistakes, which can be used as opportunities to do better. This is not easy, but athletes should use psychological techniques to overcome these difficult moments.

This type of interpretation differentiates successful athletes from others: those who do not accept and learn from their mistakes will be unable to fully develop their resources.

How to teach learning from experiences

A teacher can play a fundamental role in teaching their students how to learn from experiences and mistakes. Here are some strategies that a teacher can adopt:

  1. Build a nurturing environment – Students need to feel safe in making mistakes and exploring new ideas. A teacher should promote an environment where students do not fear judgment or punishment for their errors.
  2. Encourage reflection – Invite students to reflect on their experiences and mistakes. Questions like “What have you learned from this experience?” and “What could you have done differently?” can help them develop awareness of their errors and ways to improve.
  3. Promote a growth mindset – Teach them that error is not an obstacle but a normal part of the learning process. A growth mindset teaches that improvement happens through hard work and dedication and that failures are opportunities to grow.
  4. Provide constructive feedback – Offer feedback that is specific, objective, and geared towards improvement. Help students understand what aspects they need to improve and how to do so.
  5. Encourage experimentation – Encourage students to experiment, explore new ideas, and take calculated risks. This promotes creativity and learning through experience.
  6. Incorporate stories of success and failure – Share stories of successful individuals who have faced challenges and failures. This can inspire students to persevere and learn from their experiences.
  7. Teach problem-solving strategies – Provide tools and strategies for your students to address problems and overcome obstacles. This may include learning methods for analyzing problems, planning solutions, and evaluating outcomes.
  8. Promote personal responsibility – Teach them that they are responsible for their own learning and personal development. Personal responsibility will motivate them to learn from their mistakes and seek ways to improve.
  9. Cultivate patience and perseverance – Help students develop patience and perseverance, encouraging them not to give up in the face of obstacles or mistakes but to persevere in their efforts.
  10. Support self-esteem development – Assist students in developing their self-esteem and well-being, so they feel confident enough to experiment, fail, and learn without fearing the judgment of others.

Teaching students to learn from experiences and mistakes is an ongoing process that requires patience and consistent encouragement from the teacher. However, these skills are valuable for personal growth and long-term learning.

One fundamental sports rule

Sports follow a simple and clear rule that climbing the world and national rankings means emerging victorious by comparison with those who have a better ranking at that time. In other words, you improve your ranking by beating those ahead of you in the rankings .

Many athletes do not have this awareness and, instead, experience the comparison with those better than them at that moment as bad luck or something that should not happen. The lack of this mentality is a major limitation that must be overcome or it will be difficult to build a successful and personally rewarding sports career.

Obviously, to win you have to put that idea aside and focus on what you want to do to express your competitive qualities to the best of your ability in that race. This step is not easy and should never be taken for granted. It must be a specific goal each time that you set yourself, aware of the difficulty you are going to face. Sometimes athletes are blinded by the possibility of winning or think that since they feel fit they will deliver a winning performance.

In this way they do not prepare themselves for the difficulties that the race may hold in store for them, and this too often leads them to not accept mistakes and to find themselves in trouble. Wanting to win is a powerful thought but one must always know that it will not be easy and that the difference in the end will be in how they accepted and reacted to the mistakes.

The question that coaches and athletes should answer is: how willing am I as an athlete to act in this way and in the case of coaches how often have I coached to overcome these obstacles?

Mistakes coming from a poor awareness coaching

If your athletes commit any of these mistakes, it means that you have not taught them to give value at their commitment in training:

  1. When you ask them to take a deep breath, they snort or sigh
  2. Without no reason they modify times and ways of the warm-up
  3. They say: “But I thought I was ready while …”
  4. They get angry or easily disappointed even in training
  5. In training they have result outcomes  and less frequently process outcomes.
  6. They are focused on the results of their performance and not on how to perform effectively
  7. They are only partially aware that it is how you prepare yourself that determines the quality of the performance
  8. They think: “I have the technique therefor I know how to compete
  9. They are deluding themselves to do well only because they have done it before and they are not aware that every time it is different and the commitment must be consistent
  10. Usually from their favorite champs they take only the most superficial and most glamorous behaviors

Developing athletes and coaches with a growth-oriented mindset

In sports, it is necessary to learn to react immediately to mistakes, building a work culture that views failures as an integral and non-eliminable part of the improvement process. However, it is not easy for athletes and coaches to accept this assumption even though everyone knows that mistakes are a constant in every performance. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect performance but only the one that is provided at a given time, an expression of personal or team limitations and how the typical as well as unforeseen obstacles present in every competition are dealt with. The relationship between performance, skill and error is investigated, in which the first factor depends on the interaction between the other two factors. To predict what the reaction to error or failure might be, it is important to know what an athlete’s motivation for skill is and what personal beliefs it is set on.

Does the athlete exhibit a growth-oriented approach to competition or has he or she developed a fixed conception of his or her sporting qualities? These two different approaches affect the reaction to an unsatisfactory performance in different ways. Those who exhibit a growth-oriented mindset are more likely to decide to try harder, spending more time and experimenting with new strategies. Athletes with a fixed conception of their mindset, on the other hand, will be more concerned about showing their shortcomings again and will engage less. Practical implications and how to orient athletes toward a growth-oriented mindset are discussed. In many cultures, there are sayings that remind us how important it is to learn how to react to negative situations and mistakes. For example, it is said, “When a door closes, a door opens,” while Americans like to repeat, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, but how quickly you get back up,” and the Japanese state, “Fall seven times, get up the eighth.” These statements highlight that in order to succeed, one must develop a full awareness of how frequent it is to make mistakes and how equally relevant it is to react constructively. There are no shortcuts, for mistakes cannot be eliminated; one must necessarily make mistakes, as during an obstacle course in which one is aware at all times that it is possible to make mistakes, to slow down, to make a great effort to overcome an obstacle even if one is well prepared and knows the path. Then if this is the way to go, one must prevent mistakes from becoming alibis used to confirm to oneself the impossibility of overcoming one’s current limitations, with the effect of leading to a reduction in commitment, since “There is nothing to do anyway,” or “Yes, there would be a lot to do, but I am not talented enough or I am 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  shooting, the world record, hitting 125 out of 125 has been achieved 13 times in the past 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 more than nine thousand shots, I have lost almost three hundred games, twenty-six times my teammates entrusted me with the decisive shot and I missed it. I failed many times. And that’s why in the end I won everything.”

Also in basketball, in the EuroLeague only 8.5 percent of players make 90 percent of free throws, 35 percent make 80 percent, 32 percent make 70 percent of attempts, and 24 percent make less than 70 percent (Cei, 2018).

In soccer, everyone misses penalties from Roberto Baggio in the ’94 World Cup final to those missed by Messi, Modric, and Ronaldo at the World Cup in Russia. Despite this data, many athletes do not accept the possibility of making mistakes, in fact sometimes they are even amazed by them, “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, whereby he or she thinks, “It couldn’t have gone worse, that mistake caught me suddenly and I didn’t know how to react, I got confused thinking about what to do differently and from there it was a downfall.”

Both of these situations, one positive and the second negative, reported by athletes quite frequently, highlight the difficulty in accepting the mistake and not having planned beforehand a way to deal with what could have negatively affected performance.

Be ready to cope with incertitude

Working with athletes I realize that often their main limitation is not knowing how to deal with uncertainties, indeed it is precisely these situations that highlight our vulnerability. So we suffer thinking that the world is there with us or even that we are insecure people who do not know how to find the right solutions.

Both cases reveal that we have put ourselves in a situation where we will continue to suffer what happens without finding any form of resilience.

Training is also often one of the causes of this way of thinking. A lot of time is spent on improving technique and very little time on teaching how to be determined. We think a lot about knowing how to do the right thing but little about developing the determination that then manifests itself through technique.

The result is that many do the right things at the wrong time while others do them in a way that is not very determined. The result does not change and is negative.

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.