Tag Archive for 'psicologia'

Psychology dominates in soccer, but not psychologists

There is a lot of talk about psychology in soccer and yesterday we heard Antonio Conte’s phrases on the anxiety of his players, Fonseca’s phrases on his team’s 20 minute blackout and Andrea Pirlo’s phrases on the winning mentality that Juventus must have. Some time ago Alessandro Costacurta had spoken about the emotional intelligence that should guide the players.

These phrases show how high is the sensitivity of this sport world on psychology, but the question is that they are less than the fingers of one hand those who work in a soccer club. Who deals with it in the team?The coach is the psychologist of the team, on the one hand it is a function that is quite usual for those who play a leadership role in any group, on the other hand it represents an additional degree of responsibility that he does not share with anyone because within the staff there is no sports psychologist.

This absence, obviously, is not of today but it is a constant with some exceptions. Currently, to my knowledge, only Juventus and Verona have one working with players.
It doesn’t get any better in the youth sport and in soccer schools where they are quite common but often with marginal roles.

We are very far from the role that the psychologist plays in the US club. Robert Nideffer and Kenneth Ravizza have worked for years with many American football and baseball teams. The coach behavior evaluation system in youth baseball was introduced over 40 years ago now. In soccer in the UK, Chris Harwood proposed a soccer academy coach development program based on psychological characteristics, which is now used by soccer clubs and is widespread in the English-speaking world.

In our country we are stuck with the experiences of individual professionals, few in number, and in any case the interest of clubs is scarce.

Psychology of SARS risk continue to be useful

In 2004 the Asian Journal of Social Psychology published  a special issue titled SPECIAL ISSUE ON PSYCHOLOGY OF SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (SARS), by Cecilia Cheng and Catherine So-kum Tang (Eds.)

The subtitle is very interesting, putting the focus on the behaviors related to the background in different culture: The psychology behind the masks: Psychological responses to the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in different regions.

Here I propose a synthesis. I believe it could help us to cope today with COVID-19

In 2002/03 the SARS epidemic alerted the world that public health is no longer a local issue. In this era of globalization, not only people and information but also viruses flow freely without borders. The treatment and prevention of novel, unknown diseases require the joint effort of government bodies and health-care professionals from various countries.

  • Could the current knowledge yielded from coping research help in the understanding of people’s attempts to handle the SARS outbreak?
  • Because SARS affected a number of regions, including people from both Asian and Western cultures, did individuals from different cultures perceive and cope with the crisis in distinct manners?
  • Did people attempt to handle the SARS epidemic in ways that were similar to those with which they attempt to handle stressful daily events?
  • To cope with the outbreak, why did some people engage in preventive health behavior while others ignore the use of preventive measures?

The findings revealed that participants who tended to use wishful thinking (wishing SARS would go away or somehow be over with) were more likely to avoid going to public areas and avoid people who they believed to be affected by SARS. Wishful thinking does not appear to facilitate engaging in critically important health behaviors, such as hand washing and using disinfectants to clean potentially contaminated surfaces

Those who tended to adopt empathic responses (try to understand how the other person felt about SARS) were more likely to undertake measures to prevent SARS, such as wearing face masks and exercising regularly. Therefore they were not only less likely to report avoiding people who may be perceived as potentially having SARS but also more likely to report engaging in precautionary measures and health behaviors likely to be viewed as effective. Hence, those who report using empathic responding in response to SARS appear to use effective precautionary health behaviors without engaging in avoidant health behaviors that were associated with significant economic and societal costs.

Cross-cultural differences in optimistic thinking between the Chinese and European Canadians during the SARS outbreak. The participants were recruited from Beijing and Toronto, and the two samples demonstrated unrealistic optimism, that is, the perception of oneself as less likely than an average person to contract SARS. Compared to their Canadian counterparts, the Chinese participants showed greater unrealistic optimism when estimating their own risks of being infected, but took more preventive measures. The authors concluded that the Chinese dialectical thinking style may have promoted the belief that both negative consequences and positive changes could coexist during the SARS crisis. This belief may have propelled the Chinese to think about their future in a more positive light, and enhance their motivation to adopt a preventive approach to cope with the crisis.

Compared to Singaporean participants who endorsed fewer of the Chinese values (i.e. prudence, industry, and civic harmony), those with a greater tendency to adopt these values were characterized by higher levels of SARS-related fears, greater defensive pessimism, the adoption of more health behaviors, and the experience of more adverse outcomes related to the outbreak.

They tended to perceive most SARS- related stressful events as uncontrollable, and used more emotion-focused coping to handle such events. These findings indicate that individuals had a propensity to be less flexible, both cognitively and behaviorally, in their attempts to handle the SARS epidemic than in their usual practice of handling stress.

Hong Kong high school students in terms of social-cognitive biases after the SARS outbreak. They found that compared to those who practiced SARS preventive behavior (i.e. the practicers), those who did not (i.e. the non- practicers) were more prone to two types of social-cognitive biases: false consensus bias and the actor-observer bias. To elaborate, the non-practicers tended to underestimate the prevalence and importance of prosocial concerns in the preventive behavior that was commonly adopted by practicers during the outbreak.

These findings shed light on how Hong Kong adolescents evaluated prevailing norms and their own motives in the prevention of an emerging epidemic. The authors pointed out that non-practicers of health behavior may believe that their behavioral pattern is widely shared and acceptable in the community, and may thus be less motivated to change their behavior.

The psychology of Covid-19 fear

In general, we fear unlikely, catastrophic events like terrorist attacks more than common and deadly events, like the flu. In the case of Covid-19, assessing risk is especially thorny because our objective knowledge of the disease is still evolving.

Humans have evolved to react poorly to that kind of uncertainty and unpredictability, argues Frizelle, because both make us feel “a perceived lack of control.” “We’re human beings, so we’re hard-wired to respond to threats, to protect ourselves,” she explains. “But it’s really difficult to do … when the threat is so uncertain and potentially far-reaching. That’s where you start to see people take on more unusual behaviors.”

Like, say, panic-buying of months’ worth of essential supplies and of non-essential medical materials. While preparedness is good, going to this extreme is not innocuous: It can deprive frontline healthcare workers of crucial medical supplies, like gloves, respirators, and face shields.

Uncertainty also leaves room for false claims—which, in the middle of an outbreak, can “lead to behavior that amplifies disease transmission,” writes epidemiologist Adam Kucharski in The Guardian. We are uniquely bad at spotting misinformation online, in part because we don’t take the time, or don’t know how, to properly fact-check. But it’s also because our memories play tricks on us, encouraging us to believe things we read repeatedly; to look for information that validates our preexisting beliefs; and to remember things that elicit strong emotions more than things that don’t.

There also seems to be something about fear that drives us to point the finger at others. Because the outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian sentiments and attacks have been on the rise. “When people react out of strong emotion, they can make quick, irrational choices,” explains Alison Holman, associate professor in the school of nursing at UC Irvine and expert in health psychology. “There are people who already are prejudiced, and so something like this just reinforces the assumptions and stereotypes they may have in their minds about a particular group of people.”

…And what you can do about it

Metin Başoğlu, a professor of psychiatry and founder of the Istanbul Center for Behavior Research & Therapy, has studied the emotional and behavioral response of earthquake survivors (pdf) and sees parallels in today’s reactions to coronavirus.

After a major earthquake hit Turkey in 1999, killing 17,123 people and injuring 43,953, Başoğlu says many survivors refused to go back into their homes, choosing instead to live in outdoor camps for months. But his team realized that “if we encouraged people to go back to their homes, they recovered quickly.”

He and his colleagues developed a method of coping with post-traumatic stress called Control Focused Behavioral Treatment (CFBT), which was born out of the observation that exposure to a source of stress can create a sense of control over it—a lesson he says applies to epidemics, which are also uncontrollable and unpredictable. “You cannot control every single risk that comes your way in life, and lead a meaningful, reasonable, and productive life at the same time,” he says. “Extensive, unrealistic avoidance is not compatible with survival.”

These experts recommend doing what you can to reassert a sense of control over your fears, without overreacting and risking contributing to public panic. That includes staying informed without overdoing it, says UC Irvine’s Holman. “Too much media exposure, we know, can heighten one’s anxiety. You get what you need, and leave the rest.”

Commonsense precautionary measures are especially important given the high likelihood of contracting Covid-19. There are “important, very basic things that people can do to take back the power here, and control at least to the extent that you can, your degree of vulnerability to this illness,” says Holman. Those include self-isolating and monitoring your temperature if you get sick; washing your hands regularly with soap and water; and staying away from large gatherings, like concerts or marathons.

A rapidly-spreading epidemic can be a particularly tough time for people with preexisting mental health conditions like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, points out Holman. That’s where social support networks are crucial: “I would recommend that people who tend to be more anxious connect in a safe way with people in their lives who they trust; who can help them calm down; and … who they can turn to for support.”

Above all, health experts say it’s crucial not to let panic take over our decision-making and rational thought processes. Otherwise, says Başoğlu, “the price to pay” could be “much greater than the threat the virus poses.”

The numbers about the psychologists in US and Italy

In 2017, about 3.5 million people in the United States held a bachelor’s degree in psychology.1 Of those:

  • About 499,000 (14%) also held graduate degrees in psychology, with 13% earning a psychology master’s degree and 4% earning a psychology doctorate or professional degree. The overlapping 3% earned both master’s and doctoral or professional degrees.2
  • About 30% held graduate degrees in fields other than psychology, such as education, health and social services.3
  • The remaining 2 million (56%) did not earn graduate degrees.
  • The proportion of psychology bachelor’s degree holders who held a graduate degree was progressively higher from the “ages 24 or younger” group through the “ages 30–34” group, then stabilized, suggesting that the majority of people complete their graduate education by age 30.

In Italy, I found little information available from the web.

The tendency to continue with the studies after the bachelor degree is also evident from the data coming from the Italian Associaton of Psychologists, according to which almost all of the approximately 105,000 psychologists are registered in section A of the register, reserved for those who have in their CV not only the three-year degree but also the graduate degree, plus a year’s training and passing the State examination for professional qualification. Only a few hundred are enrolled in section B, which provides for various limitations on professional practice and which can be accessed only with a three-year degree (bachelor), accompanied by semi-annual training and due state examination. Of the 105,000 enrolled in the register, however, only 60,000 actually carry out the profession of psychologist: there is therefore a difficulty in actively entering the labor market is obvious.

Book review: Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology 

Massimiliano L. Cappuccio (Ed.)

Cambridge, MIT Press, 2018

This landmark work is the first systematic collaboration between cognitive scientists and sports psychologists that considers the mind–body relationship from the perspective of athletic skill and sports practice. With twenty-six chapters by leading researchers, the book connects and integrates findings from fields that range from philosophy of mind to sociology of sports.

The chapters show not only that sports can tell scientists how the human mind works but also that the scientific study of the human mind can help athletes succeed. Sports psychology research has always focused on the themes, notions, and models of embodied cognition; embodied cognition, in turn, has found striking confirmation of its theoretical claims in the psychological accounts of sports performance and athletic skill. Athletic skill is a legitimate form of intelligence, involving cognitive faculties no less sophisticated and complex than those required by mathematical problem solving.

After presenting the key concepts necessary for applying embodied cognition to sports psychology, the book discusses skill disruption (the tendency to “choke” under pressure); sensorimotor skill acquisition and how training correlates to the development of cognitive faculties; the intersubjective and social dimension of sports skills, seen in team sports; sports practice in cultural and societal contexts; the notion of “affordance” and its significance for ecological psychology and embodied cognition theory; and the mind’s predictive capabilities, which enable anticipation, creativity, improvisation, and imagination in sports performance.

Ana Maria Abreu, Kenneth Aggerholm, Salvatore Maria Aglioti, Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza, Duarte Araújo, Jürgen Beckmann, Kath Bicknell, Geoffrey P. Bingham, Jens E. Birch, Gunnar Breivik, Noel E. Brick, Massimiliano L. Cappuccio, Thomas H. Carr, Alberto Cei, Anthony Chemero, Wayne Christensen, Lincoln J. Colling, Cassie Comley, Keith Davids, Matt Dicks, Caren Diehl, Karl Erickson, Anna Esposito, Pedro Tiago Esteves, Mirko Farina, Giolo Fele, Denis Francesconi, Shaun Gallagher, Gowrishankar Ganesh, Raúl Sánchez-García, Rob Gray, Denise M. Hill, Daniel D. Hutto, Tsuyoshi Ikegami, Geir Jordet, Adam Kiefer, Michael Kirchhoff, Kevin Krein, Kenneth Liberman, Tadhg E. MacIntyre, Nelson Mauro Maldonato, David L. Mann, Richard S. W. Masters, Patrick McGivern, Doris McIlwain, Michele Merritt, Christopher Mesagno, Vegard Fusche Moe, Barbara Gail Montero, Aidan P. Moran, David Moreau, Hiroki Nakamoto, Alberto Oliverio, David Papineau, Gert-Jan Pepping, Miriam Reiner, Ian Renshaw, Michael A. Riley, Zuzanna Rucinska, Lawrence Shapiro, Paula Silva, Shannon Spaulding, John Sutton, Phillip D. Tomporowski, John Toner, Andrew D. Wilson, Audrey Yap, Qin Zhu, Christopher Madan.

Sport psychologist job in Italy

A. Cei (Ed.), Movimento, 3, 2018


Sport psychology is a scientific and professional field in continuous development, as many other areas of psychology and in the last 10 years occurred several situations that have changed this job deeply.

This contribute will described seven areas protagonists of these changes. They refer to: sport psychology and performance psychology, the psychologist in youth programs, sport psychology, performance and stress management; sport psychology and mental health of athletes, sport psychology and disability, sport psychology and physically active lifestyle and sport psychology 4.0.

The purpose of this article is to deepen the knowledge in the areas of sport psychology consultancy, providing cues for reflection in relation to where it’s going and how is moving this work context and stimulating the professionals to develop counseling programs, increasingly adapted to the new demands of the sporting world.

Furthermore, this issue of Movimento include a large number of interviews to the sport psychologists to describe their motivations, job, competences and developmental perspectives

Who is interested at this issue of Movimento devoted to the work of sport psychologists in Italy can write and will be linked to the publisher.

Webinar: Consulting with athletes with disabilities

American Psychological Association, Sport Psychology Division organizes first FREE webinar of 2019.

Please join us on March 19 12PM-1PM EST or 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM CET for the webinar on Consulting with Athletes with Disabilities! Great panelists and a great topic!



A growing demand for sport psychologists

A growing demand for sport psychologists

With the issues of mental health, violence and activism in sports on the rise, more athletes and teams are seeking the expertise of sport psychologists

By Kirsten Weir the article of American Psychological Association


1893 #blog 9 years

The blog is a way, for me, to spread ideas and information related to the context in which a professional works. In this case, it is psychology, sport, movement, wellbeing, coaches, parents and young people. Each blog is a brief tale of something that has influenced me, and it describes a different way to stay in the sport daily life.

I write the blog with the goal to look for everyday situations starting from their small expressions. It’s a kind of thinking aloud concerning responses to what has just happened, with the awareness of being disconfirmed from what it may happen in the near future.



Movimento special issue: basket (English abstract)