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Sport role in our society

In sports, we find ourselves in the curious situation where its importance is demonstrated in leading a physically active lifestyle, reducing daily stress, and promoting individual well-being. On the other hand, for athletes, sports can be a source of stress, trigger psychopathologies, and distance them from the reality of everyday life.

We have athletes like English footballer Henderson, who moved to play in Saudi Arabia for 40 million and now considers himself discontented and wanting to leave, and others who consider themselves happy because they have managed to overcome the battle against sedentary lifestyle and its daily limitations.

What do we learn from these situations? That sports don’t always bring the good they are often rhetorically claimed to provide. Sport, like studying and working, is a human activity, and its positive/negative effect on a person depends on how this activity is carried out.

Recreational sports are undertaken based on the choice to take care of oneself, as a leisure activity, enjoyable and personalized. On these foundations, it’s a journey that, through movement, generates well-being and the development of new skills over time.

Performance sports, on the other hand, require total commitment from those who choose them, and competitions represent moments to compare one’s skills with those of other athletes. Absolute-level performance sports demand total dedication, just like any other human activity that a person considers fundamental to their self-realization. It’s an activity for which one decides to abandon other activities perceived as obstacles to the all-encompassing commitment to the sport. In my opinion, it’s the best athletes with high expectations who may develop serious psychological problems, while those with less success or who do not want to engage in such demanding activity tend to create other situations in their lives that, inadvertently, protect them from these issues.

The alarming issue for me is that these problems are not only common among top-level athletes but also among adolescent athletes. These are 14-19-year-old boys and girls or even younger if we talk about early development sports, who, due to their abilities, have entered a federal or organizational sports circuit engaging in highly demanding activities as athletes, with the goal of turning it into their profession but unsure if they will succeed.

What do we, who work with them, want for them? Should they pursue the activity like the seniors to see who will succeed? Should they attend specialized schools to train and compete for longer? What is the role of families? There are many questions, and I believe we have few answers at the moment.

Parentes and sports: which role?

Tomorrow in the conference that I will keep in Civitanova Marche (Italy) on the parents role in sports contexts I will talk about these issues.
  • To promote the sport in young people
  • Change the sports culture
  • Sport is a long-term project
  • What it needs young people to develop
  • Teaching task orientation to learn how to win and lose
  • The parents role in these contexts

Sport parent education

The National Alliance for Youth Sports proposes a standard for parent education by providing a video-based educational program which offers a simple, effective way to make youth sports parents aware of their roles and responsibilities as well as ways they can make their child’s experience more enjoyable and positive.


Questions for the parents about their children

Today the parents play a fundamental role to promote the sport activities of their children. Some questions to reflect on how we educate them:

  1. I encourage my son to play sports for fun and not to win.
  2. I exercise or movement with my son.
  3. I speak with my daughter the importance of the commitment regardless of the outcome.
  4. I show a positive and stable mood  in talking about sports with my daughter.
  5. I accept that my son has ideas and desires different from mine.
  6. I avoid criticizing during the competition.
  7. I show me depressed or angry when she loses and happy when she wins.
  8. I am firmly convinced that his happiness is the most important thing and not my expectations.
  9. I ask “What do you think about …?” or I tell her immediately what I think is right.

The sport psychologist role in the national team

It was held at the Sports School of Italian Olympic Committee a workshop about the role of different professionals, who work in the national team before and during major sport events. In relation to the role of the sport psychologist I have highlighted what are the main activities to be carried out:

  • The essential psychological preparation has been carried out previously
  • Do not introduce new strategies and procedures, but to help athletes to follow their habits
  • The psychologist should not be obsessed with “doing”
  • Provide 24 hours of service and availability to advise in any environment
  • The sport psychologist must be prepared to the uniqueness of the Olympic Games
  • Follow the program prepared earlier
  • Being responsive and effective
  • Promote the use of routine and daily plans
  • Help athletes stay focused on the competition without being distracted from the atmosphere of the Olympic village
  • Helping athletes and coaches not to put too much emphasis on race
  • Helping the team to create a positive atmosphere and facilitating effective solutions
  • Being psychologically prepared to support the coaches
  • Develop strategies for the management of interpersonal relationships
  • Check and manage the interpersonal communication between staff members: free time management, relations with the head of team delegation and federal managers, media management