Tag Archive for 'mindset'

Grit: winning athletes’ mindset

“Grit” is a relatively new concept used to describe a particular attitude or mindset that combines determination, perseverance, passion, and inner strength.

Here are some key elements associated with grit:

  1. Determination - Grit is often characterized by a strong commitment to pursuing a long-term goal, without being discouraged by difficulties. Those with grit are willing to work hard and overcome obstacles to achieve success.
  2. Passion - Grit often arises from a deep passion for what one is trying to achieve. When a person is passionate about what they do, they are more likely to make the necessary efforts to succeed.
  3. Resilience - Grit also involves the ability to withstand adversity and failures. Those with grit don’t easily give up when things go wrong but instead look for ways to overcome obstacles and continue to make progress.
  4. Focus - Grit often entails intense concentration on goals and the ability to remain focused despite distractions. Those with grit are determined to stay on the path to success.
  5. Intrinsic Motivation - Grit is often driven by intrinsic motivation, meaning an internal desire to achieve something meaningful for oneself through one’s efforts.

In summary, grit is an attitude characterized by determination, passion, and resilience in pursuing goals. It is a quality that can be extremely useful for overcoming challenges and achieving success in various areas of life, including work, sports, and personal growth.

More info:

Frontini, R., Sigmundsson, H., Antunes, R., Silva, A. F., Lima, R., and Clemente, F. M. (2021). Passion, grit, and mindset in undergraduate sport sciences students. New Ideas Psychol. 62, 100870

Lee J. The Role of Grit in Organizational Performance During a Pandemic. Front Psychol. 2022 Jul 7;13:929517.

Tour de France: Pogacar and Vingeggard mindset

Tadej Pogačar mindset
Tadej Pogačar is a Slovenian professional cyclist who gained international prominence by winning the Tour de France in both 2020 and 2021. Pogačar’s success can be attributed to various factors, including his exceptional physical abilities, strategic race planning, and his mindset.

Pogačar’s mindset is often described as determined, focused, and disciplined. He possesses a strong work ethic and a relentless drive to achieve his goals. His mindset allows him to stay motivated and push himself to his limits, both in training and during races.

One aspect of Pogačar’s mindset that stands out is his ability to remain calm under pressure. In the 2020 Tour de France, he was trailing the race leader, Primož Roglič, by a significant margin heading into the penultimate stage, a time trial. However, Pogačar maintained his composure and delivered an outstanding performance, surpassing Roglič’s time and securing the overall victory.

Pogačar’s mindset also includes a strong belief in his abilities and a positive outlook. He approaches each race with confidence, knowing that he has put in the necessary training and preparation. This positive mindset helps him overcome challenges and setbacks during the race, allowing him to stay focused on his performance and make the most of his opportunities.

Additionally, Pogačar demonstrates a willingness to learn and adapt. He analyzes his performance after each race, identifying areas for improvement and adjusting his training accordingly. This growth mindset enables him to continually evolve as a cyclist and strive for even greater success.

In summary, Tadej Pogačar’s mindset plays a vital role in his achievements at the Tour de France. His determination, focus, composure under pressure, confidence, and willingness to learn contribute to his success as a professional cyclist.

Jonas Vingegaard mindset 

Vingegaard has shown an impressive mindset throughout the Tour de France. Jonas Vingegaard, a Danish cyclist, made his Tour de France debut in 2021 as part of the Team Jumbo-Visma. He showcased his mental toughness and determination, particularly during the mountain stages, which are known to be grueling and physically demanding.

Vingegaard’s mindset was evident in his ability to stay focused and composed, even in challenging situations. He displayed a willingness to take risks and push himself to the limit, which is crucial in a race as demanding as the Tour de France. His mental strength allowed him to maintain a high level of performance and compete against some of the best cyclists in the world.

One of the standout moments of Vingegaard’s Tour de France performance was his impressive ride in the mountain stages, where he showcased his climbing abilities. He consistently stayed at the front of the peloton, attacking when necessary and responding to attacks from other riders. This demonstrated not only his physical capabilities but also his mental fortitude to make strategic decisions on the fly.

Furthermore, Vingegaard’s mindset was crucial in dealing with setbacks and adapting to unexpected circumstances. In a race as long and challenging as the Tour de France, unforeseen events such as crashes or mechanical issues can occur. Vingegaard showed resilience and a positive attitude when faced with adversity, allowing him to bounce back and continue his strong performance.

Overall, Jonas Vingegaard’s mindset during the Tour de France was characterized by determination, mental toughness, and adaptability. These qualities played a vital role in his success in the race, including his impressive second-place finish in the 2021 edition. With such a strong mindset, Vingegaard has the potential to continue making a significant impact in future editions of the Tour de France.



The different mindset between Napoli e Juve

Knowing the mentality of a collective allows one to predict how a team will react when faced with emotionally intense situations. In this soccer league, Napoli and Juventus represent the two extremes of a continuum in which success and team cohesion are opposed to failure and lack of cohesion. Those who want to understand the reasons for these differences between the teams should analyze the following factors:

  • Organizational quality of the football Club - The organizational system consists of the set of organizational strategies and structures, decision-making system, planning and control system, leadership style, culture, climate and values. The better the efficiency and effectiveness of the organizational quality, the better the ability of the team and coach to play with a winning mentality.
  • The quality of the image of the football club - This refers to the satisfaction of the membership and identification needs of the team and its stakeholders. This dimension is mainly concerned with, the authority of the corporate leadership, its credibility, the personality and professional competence of its key figures, and the results and prestige gained over time.
  • Team goals - This refers to the goals of the current season (winning the championship, ranking among the top four, staying in Serie A) are result goals. Then there are also performance goals (achieving a certain individual and collective performance standard) and process goals (centered on improving individual technical-tactical, psychological and physical skills). It also concerns the development of a team mentality that is able to give itself new goals on the field in relation to the different phases of play in a game. It involves knowing how to use the positive moments of a match to one’s advantage, as well as requiring the presence of a pre-ordained plan for dealing with the negative phases of the game or phases of increased competitive tension.
  • The technical-tactical quality of the team - This refers to the stock of football skills and their integration into team play, which determines much more than simply the sum of the qualities of individual players. The greater the team’s technical-tactical competence combined with an optimal degree of physical preparation, the greater the likelihood that the team will be able to cope with the different, even emotional phases of the game.
  • Collective effectiveness - It is expressed through performances that are superior to those that each could provide individually. Technical-tactical quality is part of collective effectiveness; cohesion and conviction refer to its relational and cognitive-social aspects. So the question that needs to be asked is, “How should players interact on the field for the purpose of showing unity and confidence in their skills as a team?” Napoleon was accustomed to say that he also won his battles with the dreams of his soldiers; this phrase is an effective metaphor for what should be meant by collective effectiveness.
  • Players’ motivational orientation - Players and the team as a whole must manifest a growth-oriented mindset. An example of the application of this concept to soccer may involve the purchase of a soccer player. Generally this is done on the basis of technical and tactical background; thus, it is believed that a player who performs well on one team will manifest the same effectiveness on another. In many cases, this phenomenon has not been repeated, and this can probably be attributed to this static conception of mentality, which does not take into account the different conditions between one club and another and how these affect the players’ adaptation and consequently the quality of their performance.

The mobility styles of Italians

The new Ipsos-Legambiente survey on the mobility styles of Italians has highlighted that we are moving less, but much more on foot and by private car, at the expense of public transportation and cycling. The combination of pandemic, energy crisis and inflation presses on and increases the gaps.

The survey is part of the Clean Cities Campaign, a European network of environmental associations and grassroots movements that aims to radically improve air quality through more sustainable mobility styles, redistribution of urban space in favor of weak users and conversion of transport to electric. Areas of intervention on which, for Legambiente, we need to accelerate the pace with ad hoc interventions and measures: expansion of bicycle lanes, limited traffic zones, and enhancement of mass rapid transit, just to name a few, in order to arrive at a more sustainable mobility system.

Compared to 2019, car use is also increasing in Milan and Florence in percentage terms, but we also move a lot by public transport and even by bicycle. In Turin we move more on foot, while in Naples and Rome we use the car more.

We continue to use the car, even in short stretches and especially outside large population centers. Of the total number of trips, compared to 2019, 28 percent of the sample say they use the car more.

More walking, especially in the city: on total trips, compared to 4-5 years ago, 38% of respondents walk more. In Turin 49% walk more, in Milan and Rome 47-48%, in Florence and Naples 43-44%. Walking trips are also an opportunity to save on fuel or the single bus ticket when the journey is short. With this new trend, the “15-minute city,” the urban redesign that wants to design all essential services-work, stores, health care, education, wellness, culture, shopping and entertainment-in close proximity to the residence, is gaining in relevance. In dense cities it is already, in part, a reality.

The weakest link in mobility is local public transportation, used less by 31% of respondents, compared to 2019. Use increases for only 9%, unchanged for 29-30%, while the remaining 30-31% never use it, because it is too inconvenient or unreachable. Poor frequency of rides and unreliable schedules also discourage.

For short and long distances people use the car, which is on average 12 years old, polluting and with high fuel consumption. The new car is no longer for everyone. The average purchase price has increased by 32 percent in the last decade, from 18,857 euros in 2012 to 24,891 euros in 2021 (Unrae data), and average purchasing power has decreased.

After the lockdown, many Italians are poorer, and the crisis, combined with the chronic shortage of trains and streetcars, is forcing people to move less, even by public transport. People are walking more, but not by ecological choice. Positive signs only in cities that have increased public transportation offerings, promoted season tickets and bike lanes, such as Milan and Florence.

In Milan and Florence, bicycle use has increased in 21 percent. Confirming that where there are policies that direct the new mobility, positive changes are achieved. Italians are well willing to leave their cars at home in favor of scooters or bicycles, if there were safer streets and the maximum speed in the center was limited to 20-30 km per hour; and in favor of public and shared transportation, if there were more efficient, widespread and economical services. In addition, the majority of Italians are in favor of a gradual ban on the circulation of polluting vehicles in built-up areas.

The new Napoli winning mindset

Great game that of Napoli at home to Ajax ended with the score of 6-1. These matches against worthy opponents are won in this overflowing way when a team is not only satisfied with playing well. They are a demonstration of what should be meant by a winning mentality. When the determination of the team is welded with the quality of play and the desire of individual players to want to continue playing at their best until the referee’s final whistle.

The conjunction of these three aspects has a multiplier effect that is far more beneficial than the sum of individual wills. This Napoli new mentality is geared toward personal and team growth, and matches represent challenges generating strategies for improvement that culminate in playing consistently at a high level. In fact, it was these Champions matches played against Liverpool and Ajax that taught the team what its potential was that had hitherto been unexpressed. Matches like these are remembered for a lifetime and, more importantly, they keep motivation and confidence high, so any subsequent high-stress competitive situation will be approached with the belief that they can repeat what was done in these Champions League matches.

It is often stated that in order to win these matches Italian teams should increase the speed of their play and maintain this approach for the entire duration of the match. Napoli’s matches teach us that this characteristic, however, always goes to motivation (I want to do it) and conviction (I do it). In this way you realize what I have often heard Gianni Rivera say, that in soccer you should not run but make the ball run. So speed of play only happens when mind, technique, tactics and team work together for 90 minutes.

Motivation of growth oriented young

Growth- and improvement-oriented youth prefer:

  1. To be recognized for their efforts since they are aware that the source of their success is commitment and intentional practice.
  2. Facing challenges as they provide essential feedback on their abilities and opportunity to learn.
  3. Plan, monitor and adjust their thoughts more in relation to different tasks.
  4. Be aware of what is under their direct control.

What do you do as a coach to foster the development of these attitudes and ways of experiencing sports?

Paralimpic athletes’ mindset

The competence motivation

To know what an individual’s conception of error is, we need to understand what is meant by competence motivation. It is an internal desire directed toward acquiring and exercising skills, whereby a child strives to develop basic motor patterns in order to respond adaptively to the demands of the environment. For an athlete, athletic learnings become a conscious way of evaluating oneself and one’s personal growth. Therefore, the concept of Self is shaped by these evaluations and those that relate to the other significant areas of learning in a young person’s life.

Based on these experiences, “motivation to succeed is fueled by assessment related to skill acquisition (learning goals) and skill validation (performance goals)” (Dweck and Molden, 2005, p.122). From an application point of view, it becomes necessary to understand the extent to which people use these two approaches and whether they give more importance to one over the other.

This way of reasoning depends on the conception one develops regarding one’s personal qualities. Does the individual consider them to be fixed or modifiable? For example, is intelligence a fixed trait? (“I either have it or I don’t.”) Or is it instead modifiable through learning? (“No matter the starting level, it can be modified through training.”). If one agrees with the first statement one uses the conception of the fixity of this quality, while if one agrees with the second statement one believes that skills can be improved through personal effort. The effects of this different approach are particularly evident in four areas: goals, commitment beliefs, explanation of difficulty, and effects on strategies (Dweck and Molden, 2005).

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.

Barcelona: postion, intensity and speed

Xavi returned to Barcelona with several technical and tactical obsessions, two of them above all: finding the free man and minimizing lost balls. Recovering the positional play and the level of intensity needed to get the ball back in the shortest possible time, Xavi crushed Carlo Ancelotti’s Real who, if it hadn’t been for Thibaut Courtois’ saves, would have gone to sleep with an even heavier result on their conscience: “Why did I ask the boys to run even when we were four goals up? Because if it’s true that we were winning 4-0 today, it’s also true that when we’re up by just one goal, in order not to lose, we’ll have to keep running and pressing, helping the full-backs… Losing a ball must make us furious, it bothers me a lot when it happens. And if we are not demanding the results will not come.”

As I was explaining to the psychologists of the Master of Sport Psychology, a match is played on some technical-tactical factors but at the same time they have a strong psychological meaning: position, intensity and speed.

This is what Xavi coached and asked Barcelona to do. How many Italian teams play with this kind of will?