Tag Archive for 'resilienza'

Event about sport and psychology

In Italy, public occasions to talk about sport psychology are infrequent and this initiative led by Patrizia Steca, Milano-Bicocca University, is one of those events when to talk about experiences of resilience and discovery of new practices. The meeting can be followed in presence but also online, as is now customary. It is, therefore, open to anyone interested in these issues regardless of their geographical location. The experts who will speak are totally involved in sport as professional coaches, psychologists and managers.

Coaching Z generation

Daniel Gould, Jennifer Nalepa & Michael Mignano (2019). Coaching Generation Z Athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 32:1, 104-120.

Although it has always been essential that coaches adapt their coaching to athlete characteristics, this may be more important today than ever before as coaches adjust to a new generation of athletes who have grown up in a total digital age, which has had major effects on their characteristics and ways of behaving.

Today’s young athletes represent Generation Z (Gen Z):

  • Youth born after 1996, making up 26% of the U.S. population and 27% of the world population
  • Gen Z youth, they have been influenced by socioeconomic uncertainty (e.g., the global recession of 2008), international terrorism (e.g., 9/11) and natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina)
  • They are the best-educated generation in history and are the first generation of youth who have grown up in a totally digital environment, which has resulted in Gen Z youth having excellent technology skills
  • At the same time, because of the amount of time they spend on technology, they are thought to have shorter attention spans, the need for frequent feedback, and a lack of independence

Social psychologist Jean Twenge (2017):

  • Today’s youth grow up more slowly (e.g., engage in sex at a later age, hold off longer on obtaining a driver’s license, engage in alcohol consumption later than their millennial predecessors) and are the most protected and safest generation ever but at the same time avoid adult responsibilities such as moving out of the house and becoming financially independent.
  • Growing up in the digital world spend less time in direct contact with their friends and loved ones. This is one reason they have highest ever generational reports of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Finally, growing up in a highly engaging digital world, Gen Z youth’s attention spans are shorter, and they often multitask even when this may not be effective.

Encel, Mesagno, and Brown (2017) surveyed 298 British athletes to determine both their Facebook use and if Facebook use was related to anxiety. Results revealed that 68% of the athletes used Facebook within 2hr of competition, and time spent on social media was related to the Concentration Disruption subscale of the Sport Anxiety Scale.

At the beginning stages of working with Gen Z athletes, coaches felt that athletes lacked the ability deal with adversity.

Overtime, with structured resilience-building practices, coaches observed an improvement in Gen Z athletes’ abilities to handle adversity. By creating stressful practice situations and coaching athletes through them, Gen Z athletes improved their resiliency.

Athletes did not respond well to negative feedback. Athletes often took negative feedback personally and would get upset when confronted with criticism.

Gen Z athletes show short attention spans. Coaches also found that Gen Z athletes were easily distracted and had difficulty blockling out distractions.

Gen Z athletes were perceived to need structure and boundaries to guide them through their tennis development.

Gen Z athletes were mostly extrinsically motivated by results, material things, and social comparison. Coaches discussed how pressure from parents and coaches served as extrinsic sources that drove players motivation.  In terms of work ethic, most coaches discussed how Gen Z athletes worked hard and had a strong work ethic once on the tennis court.

Gen Z athletes had poor communication skills. Coaches believed that players had difficulty expressing their emotions, were shy and hesitant to speak up, and lacked basic conversational skills (i.e., eye contact).

Coaches also felt that Gen Z players would check what they were told by the coach and were not quick to believe something just because the coach had said it.

Coaches felt that today’s athletes were more educated than in past generations as they had access to an abundance of information online and had excellent technology skills that made finding information easy for them.

Gen Z athletes were perceived to be visual learners, which was discussed as a strength, as coaches were able to incorporate technology as a learning aid during practice and training. Last, coaches felt that athletes were curious and open to learning from coaches through their need to understand the “why” and the connection to performance.

Tottenham and Atalanta without resilience

Yesterday Champions League matches showed a resilience problem in some teams, such as Tottenham (it lost 7-2 to Bayern) and Atalanta (2-1 to Shaktar). Both teams were unable to react positively to the difficulties of the match.

In fact, resilience refers precisely to the ability to react immediately to a problem. It is the ability that allows people to react to defeats by going back stronger than before. These people, rather than being overwhelmed by failure and blocking their determination, find instead a way to rise from those defeats.

Let’s also say that teams that often lose matches, as in this period in Serie A (Spal, Sampdoria, Genoa and Milan) and those that, usually, play below their level show a lack of resilience. The same goes for the coaches who lead them.

  • To develop the resilience players and teams need to:
  • Know the situations you have to deal with in detail
  • Have a plan to deal with them successfully
  • Be prepared to adapt immediately to new and unforeseen situations
  • Believe in one’s own personal and team skills, making the maximum effort to implement them
  • Be able to react positively and immediately to an error
  • Communicate and support companions throughout the match
  • Reduce tension when possible and during game breaks

These are skills that should be constantly improved. For the coaches the questions are:

  1. Am I aware of the importance of resilience?
  2. Am I convinced I can coach it?
  3. How often do I coach it in my team?

 

The winning athletes’ main competences

The psychological skills the athletes must show in competition and in training are often difficult to list, because the risk is to do a very long and too generic list. Nevertheless, today I would like to try to identify, from my point of view,  the skills that can represent milestones in the athletes’ sport careers.

  • Self-control – it means knowing what are the behaviors to put in place to address the competition requests. The self-control requires respect for opponents; at the same time the athletes must be the leader of themselves, to overcome the difficulties posed by the races and opponents with the aim of providing the best performance.
  • Readiness for action – the athletes are persons oriented to act and therefore they must be ready to kick a ball, pulling a shot, to run in a precise rhythm, to anticipate opponents, to start rather than conclude effectively a race and so on. Readiness goes with high levels of situational awareness: the athletes have to know what to do at any given time and do it at their best.
  • Toughness and resiliency – I did not completely understand the distinction between these two psychological concepts, but I believe the athletes should continue to do the best even when they are tired, when all seems lost, during the decisive moments, at the end of the race, when they feel confused but know they have prepared an action plan for those moments.
  • Attention – Robert Nideffer said the attention is the only important thing in the decisive moments. I agree and, that is the reason, I consider it as the ability allowing to lead the mental commitment. The athletes have to know what to look for, knowing when to use a broad attentional style oriented toward the environment rather than a narrow attentional style, more focused on very few external factors. Without proper attention they cannot understand what is going to happen and to move in advance.
  • Optimism – The explanation of the performance results is an important factor, because it determines the expectation in relation to the future competitions. Humans are often engaged to explain their positive and negative results. It is therefore essential, the athletes develop an optimistic perception of their performances, because if they explain the positive results in term of luck or lack of competent opponents is unlikely they improve and gain a winning mind.

Being resilient is important because in our society changes and difficulties are pervasive

 

Resiliency is the ability to quickly recover from the changes and the difficult situation or crisis. It’s associated with flexibility, adaptation, optimism and open-mindedness.

Being resilient is important because in our society changes and difficulties are pervasive.

Resiliency can be learned. In the face of tragic events of this period, we must:

  • develop and maintain a sense of purpose that gives meaning, even today, to our commitment in the context in which we live
  • be aware of what are our most important values and what we do to keep them
  • recognize that we are a lot more of our work and we share our personal identity  with millions of other people

 

Resilience teached by Tiger Woods

If you are a champion you do figure out how to address the losses and Tiger Woods definitely  is.

One day after the worst score of his career, Tiger Woods played the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide just like it was any other Sunday. He wore his red shirt. He played at the same pace. He tossed blades of grass in the air to judge the wind and crouched to read important putts. The only difference was he played as a single. He even removed a flagstick by himself when his caddie was busy raking a bunker.

“Just because I’m in last place doesn’t change how I play golf,” he said. “Whether it’s the first day or last day, doesn’t matter. Play all out.”

“This is a lonely sport,” Woods said. “The manager is not going to come in and bring the righty or bring the lefty. You’ve just got to play through it. And that’s one of the hardest things about the game of golf, and it’s also one of the best things about the game of golf. When you’re on, no one is going to slow you down. When you’re off, no one is going to pick you up, either. It’s one of those sports that’s tough. Deal with it.

Tiger Woods carded a 74 Sunday at Muirfield Village, a day after his career-high round of 85. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The 3 keys of success

Research conducted by McKinsey&Company on the success factors of women holding management positions showed that at the basis of their success there are features such as resilience, toughness and confidence. It’s not surprising because these are the basic characteristics of those who succeed in any field, including sport. Based on these features you can build great careers in business as in sport or art. Without the road will be short.

Many women’s programs focus on convening, creating, and broadening networks. While these are important investments, they are insufficient. Companies should also instill the capabilities women need to thrive. Some of the most important are resilience, grit, and confidence.

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties—a form of toughness. Grit is resolve, courage, and strength of character. Confidence is a level of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of your own abilities or qualities. In business settings, resilience allows us to get up after making a mistake or encountering a challenge, grit allows us to push through walls and rise above challenges, and confidence helps transform challenging experiences into greater self-assurance, not self-doubt.

In our 2012 interviews with 250 high-ranking women executives, we found that they thought the top attributes of their own success were resilience and grit, which ranked higher than more obvious factors, such as a results orientation.”

What is mental readiness?

The mental readiness is based on the concept of resilience. Resilience is the capacity of an athlete to recover quickly, resist and perform at the best in front of the performance pressure and stressful situations.

Building the resilience

Ask how” questions rather than “why”. If your child throws their toy train when they are frustrated and it breaks, rather than ask why, ask how he could have responded differently or how can he can help to fix the train. Your child now becomes part of the solution and not the problem.

Woods’ and Snedeker’s resiliency

After three days of competition at the 77th Masters Tournament in Augusta, Tiger Woods has shown what it means to be resilient. He was penalized two points for a technical mistake, severe penalty when you play at this level. Back to the field for a new round, Woods was nervous and made some ​​mistakes caused by this situation, then he changed his state of mind in a positive way, concluding in the 7th position +4 from the tournament head (Snedeker and Cabrera, 209) and with the opportunity to continue to compete for the victory.

Snedeker, ranked fifth in the world, is not there for holiday. The American remembers  that he leads in the final round at Augusta five years ago but crumbled under the pressure and finished tied for third. He is another example of resiliency:

He said: “I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow and it’s all been a learning process … I’m not here to get a good finish. I’m not here to finish top-5. I’m here to win.”