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Italian sport psychologists talk about their job

New trends in Sport psychology, special issue of the Italian Journal, Movimento, 3, 2018

17 Italian sport psychologists talk of your job in sport answering at four questions:

  • What motivated you to start the career of sport psychologist?
  • What do you like of this job in SP?
  • Which are the SP areas where you like to work.
  • Describe your current job in PS.
The experts involved are the following:
Giovanna Barazzutti, Emiliano Bernardi, Sara Biondi, Gladys Bounous, Edoardo Ciofi, Cristiana Conti, Sarah Corazzi, Sergio Costa, Sara Landi, Sammy Marcantognini, Stefania Ortensi, Barbara Rossi, Daniela Sepio, Flavia Sferragatta, Matteo Simone, Cecilia Somigli e Graziella Zitelli.

+ wellbeing with 5minutes of movement each work hour

This research showed that it’s better to move 5m each hour of work. The benefits are evident and improve the global wellbeing.

Audrey Bergouignan et al. (2016). Effect of frequent interruptions of prolonged sitting on self-perceived levels of energy, mood, food cravings and cognitive function. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13:113

While physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive performance and well-being, office workers are essentially sedentary. We compared the effects of physical activity performed as (i) one bout in the morning or (ii) as microbouts spread out across the day to (iii) a day spent sitting, on mood and energy levels and cognitive function.

Methods

In a randomized crossover trial, 30 sedentary adults completed each of three conditions: 6 h of uninterrupted sitting (SIT), SIT plus 30 min of moderate-intensity treadmill walking in the morning (ONE), and SIT plus six hourly 5-min microbouts of moderate-intensity treadmill walking (MICRO). Self-perceived energy, mood, and appetite were assessed with visual analog scales. Vigor and fatigue were assessed with the Profile of Mood State questionnaire. Cognitive function was measured using a flanker task and the Comprehensive Trail Making Test. Intervention effects were tested using linear mixed models.

Results

Both ONE and MICRO increased self-perceived energy and vigor compared to SIT (p < 0.05 for all). MICRO, but not ONE, improved mood, decreased levels of fatigue and reduced food cravings at the end of the day compared to SIT (p < 0.05 for all). Cognitive function was not significantly affected by condition.

Conclusions

In addition to the beneficial impact of physical activity on levels of energy and vigor, spreading out physical activity throughout the day improved mood, decreased feelings of fatigue and affected appetite. Introducing short bouts of activity during the workday of sedentary office workers is a promising approach to improve overall well-being at work without negatively impacting cognitive performance.

Carlo Ancelotti’s work philosophy

Carlo Ancelotti is the new coach of Napoli, his goals and how he will work are  already fairly well described in his philosophy of work and which differentiates it significantly from Sarri:

  • Educate the team to pursue victory through a creative and offensive game
  • Encourage the development of a positive work environment
  • Build a strong team spirit by stimulating a large capacity for sacrifice and mutual commitment
  • Support the individual sense of responsibility (assessed on the basis of the actions and behaviors)
  • Protect the tradition and the principles of the club
  • Work to give continuity to the successes of the club
  • Compete for all important trophies
  • Build a clear identity and a style of play which take account of  the club’s tradition
  • Build good relationships between the various work teams
(by Carlo Ancelotti, Il mio albero di Natale)

The culture of mental toughness

The development of mental toughness has often been regarded as a strictly individual factor and we have few information to understand how the sport organizations show and build their culture of toughness and how this promotes the athletes’ toughness .

The article by Eubanks, Nesti e Littlewood (2017), A culturally informed approach to mental toughness development in high performance sport, IJSP, 48, 206-222, revived some new insights about this topic.

The purpose is to explore the importance of culture in the development of Mental Toughness (MT). This is done by means of a critical review of the current literature that exists in relation to the conceptualisation, definition and development of the concept. We argue that despite recent advances in our understanding, most research into MT has focused on the characteristics of mentally tough individuals. Although important and useful, the role of the environment, culture and context, and how these impact MT and its development has been given somewhat less attention and is perhaps not well integrated into practice.

The notion of Mental Toughness (MT) being broadly represented by “the ability to achieve personal goals in the face of pressure from a wide range of different stressors” (Hardy et al., 2014).

One of the criticisms frequently levelled at psychology as an academic discipline is that it often focuses on the individual, and forgets, or ignores the environment within which the individual exists.

Culture may be best seen as the hidden yet influential force, involving core values, beliefs, and traditions that operates as a type of soft power, which shape the working practices, ideas, strategies and philosophies of groups and individuals.

Weinberg et al. (2011) focused on the views of ten National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches, who reported that a tough physical practice environment, a positive men-tal environment and an environment that provided mental toughness awareness and learning opportunities were fundamental to MT development.

The authors said that is clear that the optimum environments to build MT are those that are imbued with a challenging and stimulating culture, where personal responsibility is emphasised in all things.

 

In Italy master in PS don’t help to find work

In Italia la questione della formazione in psicologia dello sport degli psicologi continua a essere un problema non risolto. Tralasciando quelli il cui solo scopo è di fare lavorare i formatori che v’insegnano, anche quelli meglio strutturati hanno notevoli limiti.

Vediamo quali sono a mio avviso:

  1. La quasi totalità propone una formazione centrata a insegnare competenze che dovranno servire per lavorare nell’ambito della prestazione di livello assoluto ed essenzialmente con gli atleti, ignorando la consulenza con gli allenatori o l’organizzazione sportiva. In tal modo molti aspetti del mondo sportivo di alto livello non vengono considerati e i giovani laureati avranno, di conseguenza, difficoltà a interagire con una parte fondamentale (gli allenatori, i dirigenti) dell’ambiente degli atleti.
  2. Due ambiti importanti di lavoro vengono tralasciati nella formazione in psicologia dello sport. Il primo riguarda i programmi di avviamento allo sport (6-12 anni) e l’età dell’adolescenza. Questo ambito, è tra l’altro uno di quelli più facilmente aperti agli psicologi ma in cui è necessario avere delle competenze specifiche mentre quelle riguardanti l’alto livello non sono spendibili se pensiamo all’infanzia e vanno comunque adeguate anche nelle diverse età dell’adolescenza. In queste fasce di età, inoltre, il rapporto con i genitori rappresenta un altro fattore con cui si deve interagire in modo costruttivo. Il secondo ambito importante riguarda, lo sport come diritto di cittadinanza e come fattore di benessere. Anche in questo settore gli psicologi non acquisiscono competenze, se non una generica convinzione che lo sport è un fattore essenziale per la vita di ognuno e della comunità.
  3. Un campo in cui gli psicologi non hanno competenze specifiche riguarda la metodologia dell’allenamento e l’insegnamento sportivo. Com’è possibile interagire con gli allenatori (molti dei quali oggi sono laureati in scienze motorie che hanno sostenuto diversi esami di psicologia) se non si conosce il loro mondo e se non si ha consapevolezza di come s’imparano i gesti sportivi, di cosa sia l’apprendimento motorio o di quale sia l’interazione fra preparazione fisica e psicologia?
  4. Un ulteriore aspetto limitativo dei master odierni è la mancanza di un tirocinio supervisionato per un tempo adeguato (almeno di quattro mesi) presso un’organizzazione sportiva. Ciò che è comune in qualsiasi altro tipo di master, è invece pressoché assente nei master in psicologia dello sport.
  5. Un ultimo aspetto limitante le proposte formative attuali, riguarda l’assenza di come lo psicologo dovrebbe proporsi nell’ambito territoriale e professionale in cui intende svolgere la sua attività. Il tema è quello del marketing di se stessi, essenziale, poiché bisogna sapere come proporsi, come costruire il proprio network professionale, come scrivere un progetto e negoziare un budget, come interagire con i dirigenti di un società sportiva che probabilmente hanno un’idea generica di quali servizi lo psicologo dello sport potrebbe offrire.
A mio avviso, la mancanza di questi ambiti formativi riduce notevolmente le opportunità di promozione e diffusione di questo ambito lavorativo, lasciando lo psicologo in una condizione di minorità rispetto alle altre professionalità che da tempo operano in modo consolidato nello sport.

Happiness

“Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.”

Luca & Francesco Cavalli-Sforza

 

Be creative needs a lot of work

Today an interesting article by Carlo Rovelli published on laRepubblica talks about the scientific creativity. He says that comes from the total immersion in the current knowledge. “To get it intensely, to live immersed in it.” Being into the problems until you find the door that nobody noticed until that moment, and open a door toward a new knowledge. In other words, new ideas come only to those who have worked very hard. It’s the claim that the Nobel prize Subrahhmanyan Chandrasekhar expresses to Rovelli during a dinner: “To do good physics is not necessary to be particularly intelligent. What it needs it’s a lot of work.”

It’s strange, says Carlo Rovelli in another article- but perhaps the most beautiful description of how science works, and its a long time, has given Plato, in his “seventh” letter, sent to Dione family in Syracuse, when he describes the activity of the true “seeker of truth”: “After much effort, when names, definitions, comments and other sensitive data, are brought into contact with the bottom and compared with each other, in the course of scrutiny and a friendly but stern examination done by men who proceed by questions and answers, and no ulterior motives, at the end with a sudden flash shines, for any problem, understanding, and clarity of intelligence, the effects of which, express the extreme limits of human power.”

The same think Alain Connes, mathematician, always reported by Rovelli in his article: “You study, study, study again, then one day, studying, there is a strange feeling: « but not, it cannot be so, here there is something else again.» “From that moment, you’re a scientist.”

Each of us should reflect on these words from Plato to today are repeated with conviction, wondering if sometimes our disappointments and our results below the expectations not derive simply from not be very well prepared.

Stress job related is growing in Europe

Performance anxiety , agitation, nervousness are sensations that affect 40 % of Italians in the workplace. Problems that arise from stress, the second among the work-related health problems. Stress due to the competition, to the fast-paced, fear of making a mistake and for the many precarious even the fear of losing their jobs. In the European Union, the work-related stress affects nearly one in four people and costs 25 billion euros, in part because more than half of lost working days are caused by stress

For seven out of ten Italian workers the most common causes of stress are related to the job reorganization or the workload and working hours. Alarming figures coming out from a study of the national council of the psychologist roster, published in the book Risk work-related stress.

It is apparent that more than six out of ten Italian workers indicate one of the causes of stress also the lack of support from colleagues or superiors and unacceptable behavior such as bullying, harassment or at unclear roles and responsibilities.

Among the groups most at risk are nurses, staff call centers or offices complaint employees, drivers. “Adopting the right approach – says Giuseppe Luigi Palma , president of the national council of psychologists – the workers and the companies can win the battle against stress, is preventable and shared actions can be very effective.” The book presents a large risk of work-related stress cases. Nearly half of workers in Europe (51 %) believe that work-related stress is common in the workplace . Women workers are more likely to consider a common phenomenon (54 % vs. 49%). The perception of work stress also varies depending on the sector, the first sector to indicate cases of work-related stress as a common phenomenon is that health community  (61% , including 21 % who felt that such cases are ” very common ” ) .

Gilles Villeneuve: the relevance to do what you like

“I race to win, of course. But even before to win, I run to run. The fastest possible” (Gilles Villeneuve).

It ‘s always useful to reflect the thoughts of a champion that emphasizes how important it is to practice sport first of all because like carrying out that activity. “I run to run.” This approach should be an inspiration to coaches and young people, who often do not live their sport in this way, but only as a job to do every day. I run for the pleasure of running, says Villeneuve, in other words, it’s an intense inner motivation that drove him to do what he did. Who trains the young should thus organize training sessions based on this principle, young people should feel committed to discover and nurture their own pleasure to play that particular sport and parents should encourage their children’s choices and not force them to practice what they as adults prefer.

Psychologist job perspective in US

The request of psychologist will increase in US in next ten years, and from the United States Department of Labor we have the following information (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-6).

“Overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.

Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is expected to grow 22 percent, faster than the average for all occupations. Greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies should drive employment growth.

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as people continue to turn to psychologists to help solve or manage their problems. More psychologists will be needed to help people deal with issues such as depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, job stress, and addiction. Psychologists also will be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Through both research and practice, psychologists are also helping other special groups, such as veterans suffering from war trauma, other trauma survivors, and individuals with autism.

Demand for psychologists in the health care industry is also expected to increase, because their work on teams with doctors, social workers, and other healthcare professionals provides patients with comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatments. In addition to treating mental and behavioral health issues, psychologists work on teams to develop or administer prevention or wellness programs.

As the overall number of students grows, more school psychologists will be needed to work with students, particularly those with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Schools also rely on school psychologists to assess and counsel students. Additionally, school psychologists will be needed to study how both in-school and out-of-school factors affect learning, which teachers and administrators can use to improve education.

Employment of industrial-organizational psychologists is expected to grow 35 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations, as organizations use these psychologists to help select and keep employees, increase productivity, and identify potential workplace improvements. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast employment growth will result in only about 800 new jobs over the 10-year period”.

We also learn that the average salary will be  from $45,000 to $80,000 (http://psychology.about.com/od/careersinpsychology/tp/psychology-career-trends.htm).