Tag Archive for 'giovani'

Youth distress caused by adult incompetence

The issue of anxiety and depression among many young people is obviously dramatic, and it seems to me that there is a tendency to solve this issue through the bonus for psychotherapy and the introduction of the school psychologist. However, this picture is missing the consideration of an important piece: the psychological training of teachers. Indeed, I would say of adults who work with young people. So this enlargement also concerns parents and coaches. I do not know what the psychological and pedagogical preparation of school teachers is, but I know very well that of coaches, and I am convinced that with little, much more could be done to improve their skills.

When I tell this to the managers of sports clubs, they usually explain to me that they cannot imagine how many problems they have to solve on a daily basis and that even if they wanted to, they could not afford additional expenses. Unfortunately, it is the same answer they have been giving me for 30 years and it reflects their idea of sports: training, competitions and pay everyone little. I remember when with Barbara Benedetti, secretary of the youth and school sector of the FICG, now 20 years ago we managed to make the figure of the psychologist compulsory within soccer schools. It was written in the document that went to the clubs that the psychologist had to have five meetings a year with parents and coaches. The first few times that some psychologists began to offer themselves for this role in the clubs in lieu of compensation they were told that they would receive a club uniform and be invited to the Christmas dinner. Obviously, in the face of the refusal of this exchange, the payment for this consultancy would be finalized. At that time I also drew up a list of activities that, in addition to these meetings, included other actions to be carried out in that area specifying their respective compensation. I used to give them to colleagues so that they could move in that environment in a more professional way.

To many sports clubs I also proposed to increase the cost of membership by 10 euros per year, the difference that was obtained could be the cost of the psychologist. I didn’t want to be told we can’t do that because of economic problems.

This story serves to make the point that the sports environment, and I imagine the school environment as well, is a place where changes, innovations are seen as threatening. Today that many coaches have degrees in exercise science, the basic situation has improved because they studied psychology in college but still do not do internships on how to teach in the various age groups, and there are no federal courses that we have this specific application orientation. In addition, the job of coaching is largely underpaid and, therefore, alienates many from wanting to train further while it is used by others to justify their shortcomings and their proceeding according to their ideas without ever checking them.

On this basis, it is difficult for young people who show psychological difficulties to find adequate psychological support from these adults. Many parents in turn tend to defer the total psychological training of their children to school and sports, hiding behind the rhetoric of “I did not study to become a parent.”

On this basis and the slavery induced by the use of social media, it is difficult for young people who manifest psychological problems to find solutions. Easier to pass off their discomfort as illness so experts will deal with it and other adults who interact with them will finally breathe a sigh of relief.

How many Italians are reading and who are they?

ISTAT data from 2020 help build a picture of the situation.

  1. Readership has been declining since 2010; in 2020 only 41.4% of the population has read at least one book in the past year.
  2. The female population shows a greater propensity to read as early as age 6: overall 47.1% of women, compared to 33.5%  of men, have read at least one book during the year.
  3. More young people between the ages of 11 and 14 (58.6%) read more than all other age groups.
  4. More women (46.4%) read than men (36.1%).
  5. The audience most fond of reading is girls aged 11 to 24 (more than 60% have read at least one book in the year). The share of female readers falls below the national average after age 60, while for males it is always less than 50 percent except for boys aged 11 to 14 years slightly higher.
  6. Reading is linked to educational level: 72.8% of college graduates read, 49.1% of high school graduates read, and only 26.8% among those with an elementary school diploma.
  7. Territorial gaps persist: fewer than one in three people read in the southern regions (29.2%), while those in the northeast reach the highest percentage (44.3%) and 48.5 in the northwest and 44.3% in the center.
  8. Less than half of the readers (44.6%) say they have read at most three books in the 12 months prior to the interview; these are the so-called “weak readers” among whom are just under half of male readers (48.5%) and people between the ages of 11 and 14 (47.2%). 15.2% count themselves among “strong readers” (with at least 12 books read in the past year). Women’s greater propensity to read is also found in the intensity of reading: 16.7% say they read an average of one book per month compared to 13.3% of men.
  9. In 2016, about one in ten households had no books at all in the home, a figure that has now been constant for almost two decades.
  10. Among those with both parents who are readers, 78.1% of 6-18 year olds read; it stands at 64.5% if it is only the mother who has the reading habit and 63.8% if it is only the father. In contrast, the share of 6-18 year olds reading drops to 36.3% if both parents are not book readers.

Breathing coaching

These are the topics of my workshop titled:
Development of psychological skills in high potential athletes: 
breathing as a key tool to build mental skills programs
Online European Conference Psychology of Elite Sports Performance - November 21-22, 2020, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Self-control
  • The breathing: a long story
  • Breathing and human basic motivation
  • Breathing during the competitions
  • Breathing and cognitive processes
  • How to improve self-control through breathing
  • The breathing into the training programs
  • The practice

Be aware of our strength points

One difficulty of the athletes, and to a greater extent the younger ones, is related to talking about their strengths, while they are much more focused on talking about their mistakes.

Certainly it is not wrong to be aware of the mistakes and to be focused to overcoming them with training.

The opposite is valid in competition. It’s more useful to focus on what to do to compete at the best and this only happens by putting the best skills in action.

Athletes often say: “I’m very focused on improving myself and I think little about what I’m able to do.”

The objective should be twofold: to train to improve but also to be aware of our skills (physical, technical-tactical and mental).

For example, we can start from the performance goals and stimulate athletes to identify the skills they need to achieve them, in other words, stimulate them to reflect and write down what their strengths are, what they do when competing at their best, so as to put in their mental desktop the skills to use in the race and especially those that want to use more when they are under pressure.

Maureen Weiss #youth #development #experts

40 years ago Maureen Weiss  has been one of the founder of the research focused on sport and physical activity as a context for promoting youths’ physical, social, and psychological development. She writes: “My work takes a developmental theoretical perspective, by considering youths’ cognitive, social, emotional, and physical abilities in describing and explaining variations in behavior related to motivation, self-perceptions, social relationships, moral development, and observational learning.”

Since 2009, Weiss’s most fulfilling work has been with Girls on the Run, a physical activity, positive youth development program designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional, and physical development using running as a vehicle.

She attended at ISYS 40th Anniversary and provided some excellent suggestions to young who want to become experts in a specific area of interest.

The psychologist with the Italian youth futsal team

Emiliano Bernardi, sport psychologist working with Cei Consulting, he’s consultant with the Italian youth  futsal national team during the camp in Rieti.

The soccer school organization: team Ah and team B

Today too often we speak of attorneys for children under 10 years, selection and research in the soccer schools  of the perfect … but we are not talk about premiere league. I speak instead of children soccer where is frequent the subdivision into Team A and Team B . What does it mean?

The answer, unfortunately, is universally recognized: the best and the not so good.

The adjective good is already generic and superficial, and if it’s aimed at children aged 6 to 10 years who are at their first steps into the world of football becomes meaningless.

I realized over time that the adjective good for coaches include: the better children “at the moment”: faster, without behavioral problems, easy to manage, and preferably  with some attitudes of adult soccer (fall on fouls, cheer pulling up her shirt, and so on). These characteristics lead to the breakdown of the teams? And what is left out of this argument? It stays out of the consideration the learning among peer, it stay out any concept related to the inclusion, it remains out any thought related to the development and change, it lacks any future prospect for the benefit of “all and now”. That “all and now” is the victory.
European research shows that almost 70% of children who started one sport at early school age (5-6 years), leaves it within 12-13 years of age. Investigations carried out to understand the origin of abandonment report that children who leave have the belief “not being good enough.”

Once again, the adult world breaks down barriers in the world of children taking ownership of their language and convincing the small players that they are not good. In this case the error of the coaches is to fall shattered their personal expectations and their management difficulties on the small players, depriving them of the chance to live this opportunity.

The use of the adjective “good” points out  the lack of competence of those who use this language by choosing the easy way as a coach and the little benefit for each child. Unfortunately in youth soccer lacks a long-term project and the clubs do not accept the difficulties of today for the benefit of tomorrow. It is often ignored the importance of learning among peers and also the chidren advantages to have heterogeneous groups, in favor of the construction of homogeneous groups based on the skills possessed at the time. The choice of the homogeneity hides a selfish choice and deprives children of enrichment resulting from their differences.
“What children can do together today, tomorrow will do by yourself “(Vygotsky).

(by Daniela Sepio)

Wanted talents? No, it’s the wrong country

While the world’s major companies leading among them for years a war to have inside the best talents and into Google are dozens thepages by selecting “talent war”,  we live in a nation where those two words evoke little interest.  It’s what showed from a study conducted by Bruno Pellegrino, University of California, and Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago, according to which the Italian entrepreneurs, thankfully not all, prefer to have “yes manager” as collaborators, ready at any moment to please them in their choices at the expense of independent and competent men and women. It confirms the reluctance of the Italian business to the performance culture, combining the ability to take risks and innovate with the need to keep a profit budget and in its place spreads the anti-ethic familism, which selects individuals for co-optation. In this way  it’s left the road allowing the pursuit of success as the highest expression of quality business and it will start that one where favoritisms and patronages become the dominant factors of success. The Italian world of professional football once again is the mirror of this country and of this type of entrepreneurship: many low level foreigner players and a few young Italian talents. In fact, in most of the teams there are few Italian players and only this year have been introduced 84 new players, which further restrict the access to our young talents. The damage that it has been created is very serious. Hindered by the fact the young Italian to play, it spreads the idea that it’s useless to have youth activities, the best players will not find clubs willing to have them in the team, therefore they are obliged to go abroad as is the case of Immobile, Cerci and Verratti. Finally, the clubs spend money unnecessarily for foreign players who are not of value and the teams lose more value because they cannot count on players who want to win and tenacious. There are not explanations allowing to understand this phenome  so destructive for the clubs. Certainly the professionalism of the football managers  is defeated by this approach and the fact that this practice is so widespread evidently not worried indeed it emerges strengthened. Of course there are Italian companies and teams that are based on the culture of performance. Let’s follow them because they are an important piece of the solution of our problems.

(read it on http://www.huffingtonpost.it/../../alberto-cei/)

Hard work must become a way of life

Some athletes have responded to the blog I wrote about the need to be the best fan of ourselves, saying that it’s really hard to do it, because the mistakes as are the negative performances too harshly test this belief. I agree and in fact I consider the self-confidence as the culmination of a process of psychological maturation and certainly not the starting point. This does not mean that we have not to do everything must be done to become self-confident, without which we cannot sustain the commitment needed in sport, school or job. Who wants to excel must be prepared to strongly support the commitment through any kind of difficulty. In this sense, we can say that the hard engagement must become a lifestyle, not something to show only when all goes well. In fact, we should know that we must be prepared to spend more hours than that in the beginning we had planned.

In the pitch together: coach and psychologist

Some football schools have already opened their sporting year while others will open this week. I hope that more and more clubs have welcomed the sport psychologist in their staff, appreciating the added value provided by a skilled professional.

Listening to some of my colleagues I find that often the coaches are the main obstacle to work in a club.  They areworried about losing their central role, but often it happens that even if there is the psychologist, the coaches do not know what to ask and how to be helped.
I have always believed in the integration of various professionals in every sporting and in particular football schools. Here are interwoven so many different aspects, involving the technical, physical and psychological  growth of the young and for this reason, the integration of different professional skills becomes essential.

I asked a football expert with whom I worked for many years, to make a list of things you asked me and those who, with his experience of integrated work with the psychologist may suggest to ask . I publish it to share with psychologists and coaches the point of view of a coach who has learned to use the opportunity given by “teamwork”.
What ask the coach to the sport psychologist

  • How to facilitate understanding
  • How to get more attention
  • How to manage misbehavior
  • How to manage group conflicts
  • How to motivate
  • How to provide adequate models
  • How to deal with inappropriate behaviors / inadequate; comparisons with other teams
  •  How to reinforce / reward adequately
  • What teaching method to use and how to put it into practice
  • How to correct misbehavior without to punish


(by Daniela Sepio)