Tag Archive for 'pensiero'

How the positive thinking can destroy our performance

How many times we have heard we must be optimistic, that we have to believe we can win, or that “with everything we’ve done we deserve to achieve a great result.”

There is apparently nothing of wrong to have this thinking, “That’s the way to push ourselves” many people say.

They also add: “What should I tell: to lose? Nobody start a competition with the goal to lose, therefore, you must start the race with the will to win it, because if you don’t even think it, how will you get it?”

In short, “think positive and you will see that it will happen what do you want.”

Well, all these good thoughts are useless and they can become harmful, because at the first difficulties and errors during the race, the athlete will not be ready to react immediately because he expects to win, that is to say that she is focused on the result and not on what to do to get it. “I was ready … and then things didn’t go as I had expected.”

These are often the words of those who start with a too trusting attitude and then at the end of the performance they attributes the result to something out of themselves, without taking responsibility for what it has happened.

These thoughts, which represent the athletes’ expectations about the race, can really be considered as the performance killers. They are amazed by their own mistakes and the difficulties they face in the race and they have not prepared a plan to react effectively to these situations.

Marathon psychology

It’s started the season of marathons, here are some tips to deal with this race in the best way.

Because of the physical effort and the length of the race, running a marathon is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges that a person may face in sport. In addition to undertake a grueling race from the physical point of view, the runners have to deal with the need to manage the thoughts that flow in the mind during the long journey and which may affect the muscle aches felt and the concerns about the risk of not get to the end and do not achieve their goals. Since the marathon requires specific mental skills, sports psychologists have devised a series of mental training techniques that can help athletes of various skill levels to make the experience more rewarding and overcome their limitations. From these techniques are drawn tips that every runner can apply to successfully in training and competitions.

Maintain high levels of motivation and commitment to the long training periods can be a very difficult task. This is why it’s useful to structure a workout plan with a certified coach. If it’s not possible the runner  books and talking with those who have more experience to establish personal goals, realistic and specific, as to run a certain number of miles a week or maintain a steady pace. It’s important that these goals are written in detail and some psychologists recommend placing them into slogans or psych-up sentences that are always visible at home so as to keep constant attention on them. Once defined, the goals have to be carried out with perseverance, because they help the athletes to increase the confidence and to establish more ambitious goals. However, it’s counterproductive to set goals too challenging or have too many, while it’s useful to maintain an calm attitude, waiting for the moment of the first success. During the training sessions, the runners can prepare temselves mentally, through routines to be included in the warm-up, making simulation exercises of the race, and developing a plan for mentallly dealing with the marathon. Simulate the race during some phases of training also means exercising to stay focused when the fatigue and  muscle will be perceived. For this reason, the sports psychologists have studied the runners’ cognitive strategies distinguishing associative by dissociative strategies. In the first condition the athletes focus on the sensations coming from their body and the runners are aware of the physical factors critical to that kind of performance. In the strategy of dissociation, however, the athletes’ thoughts are focused on anything, except on bodily sensations. Some research has shown a trend of more skilled runners to use an associative strategy, while a preference for dissociative strategy by mid-level runners. Other studies have emphasized the opportunity to use a more flexible during the marathon, and in particular to use that associative in the beginning and final phases of the race and the dissociative in the middle phase. Another technique suggested by sports psychologists is the voluntary use of mental images in which the athletes try to recreate the scenario of the race. They imagine to successfully address some stages of the path and overcome obstacles and difficulties encountered in the path  up (for such a climb, a moment of particular difficulty or adverse weather conditions) to the finish line. One of the most useful psychological techniques to be introduced in their training is the use of positive self-talk, consisting in the repetition of mentally positive keywords  that can help to stay focused on the task, avoiding instead of dwelling on dysfunctional thoughts like “No, I’ll never finish”,” I feel bad “,”I’m slow “,” My legs are so heavy.” The athletes have to choose phrases expressed positively, inducing confidence about their own ability (“I can do it” – “I’ll make it” – “Still one kilometer”) or single words that can represent somthing of positive (“Fluid ” – “Easy” –  ” Go! ” – ” Finish”). It’s important that the runners’ practice this technique during the  dworkout , chosing the words and phrases more useful for them.

The day of the competition to pay attention to a few simple rules it will reduce the amount of mental energy nerve valuable to better address the competitive engagement. For example, to prepare all the necessary material the night before, identify and prepare the remedies for the problems that might occur, get to the departure extensively on time, arrange in advance the return home after the race and, above all, think to live an enjoyable day.

It’s also useful to know the place and the event track, taking advantage of the material that comes before the race and imagining the path even if you do not know well.

The more experienced runners are able to recognize the feeling of “hit a wall” that they feel during the toughest moment of the race as a mental component and therefore they consider to have the power to break down this barrier. The important thing is to recognize the body signals of fatigue without trying to avoid them, accepting them and interpreting them as indicators of imminent crisis or inability to move on and do well. During these moments is easy to feel a state of panic, which further it will increase the feeling of fatigue and you face alive in the athletes’ minds the word “Stop!”. In these moments the self-talk experienced in training will be very useful replacing the dysfunctional thoughts. The athletes should focus on their stride, breath, light feet on the ground. Only after these check-in it can be useful to use a dissociative strategy leading the athletes to focus on the feeling they will prove after the finish, to think of the award they will receive or even content that have nothing to do with the marathon and which have the function to distract from the fatigue.

Even during the race, as in training, it’s important to divide the effort of placing sub-goals which, once achieved, will push to get to the end. For example, it’s useful to focus from time to time over the next five kilometers or the next half hour of the race, because mentally deal with the 42 km can be perceived as something difficult to achieve.

In the life leave a positive trail

Collegamento permanente dell'immagine integrata

Positive thinking is an art

Non è di certo superficiale per un atleta/allenatore pensare in positivo, anzi si è troppo banalizzata l’importanza di avere un atteggiamento di questo tipo, etichettandola spesso come un’americanata o un modo di vivere senza porsi i veri problemi. Nel mio lavoro vedo invece l’esatto contrario e cioè quanto sia facile abbattersi per un allenamento andato male, per la difficoltà nel migliorare, per accettare che il lavoro quotidiano non è una passeggiata verso la gloria, ma che invece bisogna metaforicamente sporcarsi le mani con le proprie insicurezze e timori. Sono proprio le difficoltà che vivono gli atleti che rappresentano l’unica occasione, anche questa positiva, per mettere alla prova il proprio valore umano, la propria voglia di fare bene nonostante oggi non si sia soddsfatti. Questo è l’allenamento accettare i propri limiti e lavorare positivamente per ridurli e superarli. Quando si acquisisce questa mentalità si apre la porta al pensiero positivo.