Tag Archive for 'motivazione'

Coaches’ key role to empower youth in sport

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Xiaoxia Zhang, Joonyoung Lee and Tao Zhang (2021). Perceived coach-created environment directly predicts high school athletes’ physical activity during sport. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 16(1) 70–80.

Sport participation is an important means for adolescents to achieve moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), yet most high school students including athletes do not achieve the 60-minute daily MVPA guideline. As psychosocial factors influence athlete engagement and physical activity during sport, the perceived environment created by coaches could play a role in this influence. Guided by self-determination and achievement goal theories, this four-month prospective study examined the direct and indirect effects of perceived coach-created environment on high school athletes’ MVPA and sedentary behavior (SB) during sport. During the third to fourth week of a sport season, 225 high school athletes (Mage 1⁄4 15.24 years) completed a survey assessing perceptions of coach-created empowering and disempowering climates as well as psychological need satisfaction and frustration. Four months later, their MVPA and SB percentage times (%) during sport were measured using accelerometers. Path analyses partially supported our hypothesis, indicating significant direct effects of a perceived empowering climate on need satisfaction (b 1⁄4 .41) and need frustration (b 1⁄4 –.29), and direct effects of a perceived disempowering climate on need frustration (b 1⁄4 .38) and MVPA% (b 1⁄4 –.28). No significant indirect effects on MVPA% or SB% were found. Findings support and provide new insights into the important role of disempowering beyond empowering climates in predicting high school athletes’ PA. Specifically, when coaches display ego-involving and controlling behaviors, high school athletes may disengage during sport and achieve less overall MVPA. Further examination of these relationships using a longitudinal design across more diverse samples is warranted.

New sport season, renewed motivation

The American former sprinter Michael Johnson, Olympic winner of five gold medals and eight-time world champion, summed up the importance of motivation:

“My best motivation is always coming from the pure joy of running and racing, is the same thrill that I had as a child of 10 years. Have you ever met a 10 year old child sickened by what he does? You have to find their initial motivation for this reason you will become an architect. This is the secret of perseverance.”

Sport should allow the emergence of an attitude that can be summarized in the following sentence: “It’s thanks to my commitment and the pleasure I feel that I became increasingly good at what I do.” Performance motivated by an inner strength are based on the subjective perception of satisfaction coming from performing a specific task. Therefore any outside intervention to reduce this athlete’sperception will negatively affect their motivation. This is the case when the athletes perform only to receive a reward. Sport performance represents only a means to another purpose that becomes, instead, the true purpose: the young do not act for their pleasure to practice sport but to receive a certain recognition. Therefore, the external reinforcements encouraging the athletes to perform for external reasons reduce their internal motivation. The coaches should not make use of reinforcements that can be perceived as most important of the same sport participation, but they should provide helpful tips to increase the athletes’ feeling of satisfaction.

If the sports results will be perceived as the result of internal factors personal, such as the ability, dedication, commitment rather than external factors (luck, reduced ability of opponents, refereeing decisions) the athletes will feel satisfaction and pride.

The external reinforcements that the athlete receive  can also play a positive action. For example, children who have not yet had an experience sports or with adults who have reduced sports experience. In this case external reinforcements for the supply of sports equipment or gadgets, or social support derived from practice can encourage participation. The same applies to the financial rewards obtained by high-level athletes in recognition of their sporting value.

Every coach knows that setting targets is essential to enhance the motivation and improve performance. At this regard:

  • Working on goals defined and accepted helps to improve the emotional climate of the workout. YThere will be a reduction of problems related to delays, laziness and lack of discipline.
  • Athletes, even the youngest, strengthen more and more their autonomy and learn to take responsibility for their choices. In these cases the determination to achieve the objectives and to maximize their potential will increase.
  • The coaches’ leadership is accepted by athletes through the increase of their personal credibility.

Finally, despite the importance that the choice of tgoals plays in increasing the performance, there is also another reason that makes it necessary on the part of the athletes. In fact, if the sport and competition have a social value, so each individual has the right to succeed. Certainly in the top sport, the struggle for success is for the podium and who can aspire to this kind of result is  aware of the difficulties he/she will encounter along the way. Then, there is the success of all of those who have set their goals properly and are committed to achieving them. Every person involved in sport has the responsibility to obtain the personal success. It’s the case of those who want to run a marathon in 4 hours, if they reach this  goal they won they race. The observation of children engaged in sports activities not organized by adults should teach something very important: and if they do not reach the goals they have set, the hildren lower the level, learning from mistakes and trying again and again. After a series of adjustments and trials the success is guaranteed. The opposite happens when instead they are successful, they increase the level of difficulty. In other words, this means that spontaneously young people change their goals by moving them to the limit of their capabilities. In this sense, the mistakes are used as an integral part of the learning process and are not interpreted as a failure.

The motivation to start the new sport season

In many sports this time of year is usually a period of restart, I am referring to team sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball and many individual sports.This happens again this year with a variant, in different disciplines is from February that the athletes do not compete or have competed but only in races held in Italy, often without the appeal of the comparison with the best athletes. It is not easy then to restart the training, when you have not done anything else for months or you are competing in races that until a few months ago athletes of absolute level considered secondary.

In these days I have been talking to athletes who experience this situation and their training and daily lives suffer from it. It is in these moments, that we all realize the importance of competitions. Not only because they represent the test in which to demonstrate one’s value as an athlete, but above all their absence determines a disaffection from training, from the desire to correct oneself. We are talking about athletes who train about 1,400 hours a year. This commitment is aimed at providing performance at their best, but if the opportunities are missing, it is not so easy to find every day the right motivation.

The work with the sports psychologist can be very useful to support the athletes in this commitment and in establishing objectives and evaluation systems within the training cycles that allow them to maintain at the highest level the quality and intensity of training.

Marathon runner motivation and coaching

In the next issue of the Journal of Italian Track and Filed Federation.

The secrets inside the motivation

The understanding of motivational processes is undoubtedly one of the topics that has always aroused the interest of sports psychology scholars.

Once they asked the great mountaineer George Mallory (1886-1924) why he wanted to climb Everest and he answered “Because is there.”

In few words he explained the inwardness and intensity of the motivation but it will take decades to begin to understand what it is; what it is “this hypothetical construct used to describe the internal and/or external forces that produce the beginning, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior” (Vallerand and Thill, 1993).

To reflect, what is your concept of:

  • Commitment
  • Difficulty of the task
  • Impossible is nothing! Is it true or not? And why?
  • How do you learn to set short and long-term goals?

The team rigid mindset is the reason for the defeats

The most serious problem for a team and athletes is to think they are good.

This belief immediately puts people in a condition of greater satisfaction and fuels the expectation that everything will go well as they expect, so we will win.

Feeling fit and being aware of your personal and team skills is certainly important. Often teams think that this condition is enough to achieve success. They don’t understand that it is necessary but not enough.

To play at a high level, you have to have the skills of a high level team. Then you have to prove it on the pitch.

Arrigo Sacchi says that the motivation must be exceptional, because on this basis the player is constantly striving to improve himself. That’s what Carol Dweck has called a growth-mindset. Those who don’t demonstrate it are destined to have what the coaches say: a mental block. In other words, these players have a rigid mentality that leads them to think that their talent and fitness are enough to be effective in their work.

Serious mistake. They will strategie the match without the motivation to play at the best. They will enter with the conviction that they will play well so spontaneously, and when faced with the difficulties of the match they will not be ready to adapt, because they hadn’t foreseen it.

Motivation? Ballet barefoot on concrete while raining.

One of the most shared videos in the last few days features a boy from the Leap of Dance Academy, a Nigerian dance school. In the video we see him continuing to practice his pirouettes despite the incessant rain.

Barefoot and completely wet, his obstinacy has become a symbol of how much a dancer can sacrifice to follow his dream. “Behind those fanciful and elegant costumes there is hard work” – reads the caption of the video – “Even with very few resources our students continue to train to give the best. We don’t want to discourage anyone, but it is important to show the level of their commitment and dedication. Who wouldn’t be proud? They are ready to dance under any conditions”.Si allena scalzo sotto la pioggia: questo giovanissimo ballerino ha conquistato tutti

Motivation and training during coronavirus pandemic

Today online seminar at the University on current topics on the psychological aspects of training in the corona virus period.

Be aware of your motivation

We often talk about athletes’ motivation but not always with the same frequency we teach how to understand their personal motivation.

I want to propose two useful exercises to reflect on this point in a constructive way.

First exercise

Sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes, take three deep breaths and think about the difficult moments you encounter during training and racing, the fatigue, mistakes and defeats experienced, and assess whether you’re willing to face other difficult moments and be committed to overcoming them.

Second exercise

Sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes, take three deep breaths and think about the successes you can achieve and the races you can win, the joy you can feel after a brilliant performance and all the positive things that can happen thanks to the quantity and quality of your training. Evaluate whether they are enough to keep your motivation high.

New Zealand: one project to change the youth sport approach

Youth sport, the need for multi-sports practice, the drop-out causes, the increase in injuries and the parents, coaches and managers role. These are the themes of one project developed in New Zealand to reconsider the approaches used up to day. It is an approach not used in Italy but I suppose that is the same in many others European countries. We need to be more responsible of the sports proposal we offer to our children and adolescents. We need to reduce sport drop-out  in order to promote their well-being, sense of belonging and good life habits.

Reading the following article will certainly be useful to open our minds to the problem of sports practice and drop-out and to receive good insights..

Sport NZ and five of the largest participation sports in New Zealand – Rugby, Cricket, Football, Netball and Hockey – have launched a major public awareness campaign calling for enablers of youth sport to reconsider their approaches. But why is the call to action so urgent?

The collaborative ‘Keep up with the play’ campaign zeroes in on the issue of why teens are walking away from sport in increasing numbers. Evidence gathered over time in Sport NZ’s Active NZ national participation survey shows that when comparing 12-14 year olds with 18-24 year olds, hours per week engaged in physical activity drops from 12 to 5. In addition, the number of activities drops from 6.4 to 2.5 and weekly participation drops substantively from 98% to 75%. The campaign calls on everyone involved in youth sport, specifically parents, coaches and administrators, to help turn this around.

Furthermore, Secondary School Sport census data shows that although school rolls have increased over the last three years, participation has dropped in inter-school sport. For Sport NZ this is disturbing, because habits formed in the teen years transfer to the adult years. Basically inactive teens become inactive adults.

Although some of the drop-off can be attributed to the inevitable changes that occur during the teen years including motivation, contention on time and the impact of technology, there are other factors that exacerbate this decline.

Sport NZ says that years spent studying the subject, and examining overseas models, shows young people are best served when their needs are put first. And the main motivation for young people to play sport is to have fun (76%) followed by hanging out with family or friends (44%). The fact is that sport is seen by many teens as another way to connect with friends and have a good time. And if the fun goes, because the pressure and time demands rachet up, they’ll be likely to follow.

Though some parents might be tempted to let their kids specialise early in one sport, perhaps encouraged by a coach or club administrator, the statistics show this is probably a bad idea. Australian studies demonstrate that the transition rate from being identified as youth talent to becoming an elite athlete is less than 10%.

And it won’t necessarily be worth it. Over training and over playing can lead to injury and burn out in young players. ACC statistics have shown a 60% surge since 2008 in sports-related injuries in 10-14 year olds – double the increase of any other age group. There are a number of reasons for the spike, but a growing concern is that too much of one sport can be just as harmful as not enough exercise.

For those looking for a helpful guide, ACC encourages the one hour for every year guideline, where the amount of organised sport per week – both training and competition – should not exceed the child’s age. Exceeding recommended hours increases the odds of a ‘gradual onset injury’.

All in all, the stats are sobering. And though every parent wants to support their child becoming a star on the sports field, too much too soon may have just the opposite effect.”