Tag Archive for 'sport'

How it’s changed the sport in the last 40 years

Sport has changed dramatically in the last 40 years and I believe that its different organization has greatly influenced the motivation and personality development of young people.

Once upon a time it was the young people who organized themselves and this approach stimulated them to take on responsibilities regarding the choice of the game, its rules, refereeing and choice of teammates. Today, most of these issues do not affect them because they play only in organized structures led by adults. Obviously, sport will not go back to an organization run by young people, but what skills this way of playing sport developed and how the same kind of skills can be developed today.

Today: Kids only play and participate in sports when adults formally organize them. The rest of the time they play video versions of sports on Playstations. You rarely see children organizing informal, real-world games on their own.

40 years ago: Children of all ages went to play in the backyard, at the oratory, or on a vacant lot near their homes.

Today: Children play on perfectly manicured and lined fields.
40 years ago: Children played against other neighborhood children of all ages and had to improve to compete with the older kids. They often played alone or with each other, throwing a ball against a brick wall to get better.

Today: Children attend dedicated sports facilities where an instructor teaches them only one sport. They attend different summer camps.
40 years ago: Children chose their teams by picking the best first and then the others.

Today: The team is made up of the coach.
40 years ago: Kids made up their own rules to fit the place they played.

40 years ago: You had to develop leadership skills to influence who was on your team, receive passes and be recognized as one to have on the team.                                                                                                                                          Today: Adults make the decisions in youth sports: they choose the teams and how to play.

Master in Sport Psychology

Mental health: something is moving in the sport world

Let’s read this text and try to understand that mental health even in sports is a topic to be addressed without hiding behind medals won and a machista culture or more simply behind the indifference of the “I don’t care” philosophy.

CHICAGO, Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – Hilinski’s Hope Foundation (H3H), founded by Mark and Kym Hilinski to honor the legacy of their son Tyler, today announced that 50+ schools around the country will be participating in the second annual College Football Mental Health Week. The week will focus on a series of mental health initiatives, beginning October 2, which will honor Tyler, those lost, and those suffering, and will culminate on October 9.

To date schools from around the country are participating including:

Hilinski's Hope 2021 Schools


Hilinski’s Hope 2021 Schools


• Baylor University • Northwestern University • University of Colorado-Boulder
• Brigham-Young University • North Carolina State • University of Dayton
• Claremont-Mudd-Scripps • North Dakota State University • University of Georgia
• Clemson University • North Greenville University • University of Massachusetts
• Drake University • Northern Arizona University • University of Miami
• Duquesne University • Oklahoma State University • University of Missouri
• Eastern Washington University • Oregon State University • University of Mississippi
• Florida State University • Pomona College • University of San Diego
• Georgetown University • Sacramento State • University of South Carolina
• Georgia Southern University • Southern Methodist University • University of South Florida
• Idaho State University • Stanford University • University of Southern California
• Kansas State University • Stetson University • University of Tennessee Knoxville
• Lamar University • Stevenson University • University of Utah
• Lehigh University • Texas A&M • University of Washington
• Liberty University • Texas Tech University • Washington State University
• Louisiana State University • Tufts University • West Virginia University
• Louisiana Tech University • University of Alabama • Whitworth University
• Mercyhurst University • University of Arkansas
• Middlebury College • University of Arizona
• Mississippi State University • UC Berkeley
• University of Buffalo

“We are so honored that more than 50 schools nationwide will be participating in this year’s mental health awareness week,” said Mark Hilinski. “This year, more than ever, student-athlete mental health has been in the spotlight and while conversation around mental illness can be tough and even at times uncomfortable, it is absolutely critical for the overall health and well-being of our student-athletes. Throughout the last year, we’ve continued to see support from schools, fans, students and parents as they join us in the fight against mental illness and that is a major piece of the puzzle that will help destigmatize mental illness and increase mental health resources. We miss Tyler every single day, but we are grateful to know that what we are doing is making a difference and that he would be proud of us.”

“The College Football Playoff Foundation is happy to support Hilinski’s Hope during College Football Mental Health Week to eliminate stigma and increase mental health resources across the county,” said Britton Banowsky, Executive Director of College Football Playoff Foundation. “We see teachers and coaches often taking on responsibilities related to the basic needs of their students and student-athletes, and this includes mental health. We hope these mental health resources can make a difference in providing what they need to better support their students.”

Participating schools have committed to at least one of the following during the week: showcasing a lime green ribbon on all players helmets with a “3″ in the middle to honor Tyler Hilinski and remember those lost and those suffering in silence; encouraging students, parents, alumni, and fans to participate in showing solidarity, eliminating stigma around mental health by holding three fingers in the sky during the first play of the third quarter; participating in an internal assessment to evaluate how universities are following best practices in terms of mental health programs and include talks and trainings on campus for players, coaches, and staff.

Additionally, on Wednesday, Oct. 6 Hilinski’s Hope will host a mental health training open to student-athletes nationwide. Registration link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7124947916045695501.

To learn more and/or get involved with Hilinski’s Hope Foundation please visit https://www.hilinskishope.org/cfb-mental-health-week.

New ebook: the pandemic in sport

The year 2020 is gone and it will be remembered as the worst year of the last 75 years, for having involved the entire world in a crisis, initially a health crisis, which became a planetary pandemic that has disrupted the lives of every person, causing millions of victims, destroying a significant part of the world economy and radically changing the way we work and interact with others. I am a psychologist and I deal with sport and the well-being of those who practice it, whether they are champions and professionals or individuals who carry out this activity as a lifestyle. The pandemic has forced us to stay home, physical distancing and eliminate sports activity as we knew it. Managing movement and sporting activity has become a source of additional stress that has produced negative psychological effects on people who even engage in recreational activity, among athletes who play sports professionally, and people with disabilities who benefit so obviously from engaging in sports on an ongoing basis.

Starting from these considerations, I began to talk about this situation on my blog, in order to better understand the effects of the pandemic on people and to provide guidance on how to practice sports, respecting the rules to cope with and reduce the possibility of contagion. The book represents a journey that started at the beginning of March, which has led me to talk about this issue until now that we are approaching the beginning of the new year. It talks about the mindset of those who don’t follow the rules, how one can deal with the anxiety brought about by this radical change in daily life, how one can train while staying at home and the reasons why it is good to be active and not suffer this situation. In addition, guidance is given to coaches on how not to give up their leadership role and to athletes on how to train in the absence of competition. Finally, I present practical tips and ways to think about and experience this unique and totally unexpected time.

Results at any price?

Try not to be among those who neglect the lives of athletes and do not care about their well-being.

History of the beginnings of psychological counseling in sport

The first psychological counseling programs in the field of sport can already be traced back to the 1920s thanks to the pioneering work of Coleman Griffith in the United States and Avksentii Puni in the Soviet Union, but it takes until the 1970s for the sports sciences to be recognized as a field of knowledge that can provide useful information to improve training and sports performance and considered, at the same time, as an interesting field of research for the academic world (Weinberg and Gould, 2019; Ryba, Stambulova, and Wrisberg, 2005).

In top-level sport, the first codified experiences of psychological preparation date back to 1962 when the Japanese Olympic Committee in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics established a section dedicated to the mental training of athletes (Tomita, 1975). The first massive presence of psychologists at the Olympic Games was however only since the Los Angeles Olympics, where as many as 20 sports psychologists will participate for the Canada team. It is since 1988, Seoul Olympics, that most industrialized countries but also developing nations (Nigeria, Cuba, Colombia, and Algeria) began to make systematic use of psychological counseling services (Salmela, 1992).

Initially, since the 1960s, mental training has been a system based on the use of competitive anxiety management techniques and the use of mental rehearsal to improve sports performance. In North America on 1971 the first programs were carried out by Richard Suinn with the Alpine ski team, developing his own psychological preparation program based on the integration of relaxation techniques and mental imagination.

In Europe, the initial research on psychological training was conducted, as in North America, on the role of mental repetition by German scholars, giving it the name of ideomotor training, however, and highlighting that in the psychological regulation of sports action this type of activity has three functions (Frester, 1985). The first is a function programming the motor action that appears through the repetitions performed; the second is represented by the training function, since it promotes the process of improvement and stabilization of performance; the third is the regulatory function that promotes the process of control and correction of motor action. It is recognized, as proposed by Suinn, that the ideomotor reproduction is better if the willingness to mental representation is increased previously with relaxation methods.

The advanced mental coaching

La costruzione di un programma di allenamento psicologico avanzato richiede la conoscenza delle implicazioni psicologiche tipiche di una determinata disciplina sportiva. Di seguito una descrizione sintetica

  1. Gli sport di resistenza (e.g., fondo, maratona, canottaggio, nuoto) – richiedono di tollerare la fatica fisica e di saperla gestire nei momenti in cui si presenta in gara. Necessitano di una notevole consapevolezza delle sensazioni corporee così da potere riconoscere e anticipare eventuali momenti critici durante la gara.
  2. Gli sport di precisione (e.g., tiro con l’arco, tiro a volo, tiro a segno, golf) – richiedono di coniugare insieme precisione dell’azione sportiva e velocità, per cui la concentrazione è totalmente orientata all’esecuzione tecnica.
  3. Gli sport di coordinazione del corpo nello spazio (e.g., ginnastica artistica, pattinaggio artistico, nuoto sincronizzato, tuffi) – in queste discipline sportive l’atleta tende a fornire la prestazione ideale ma sa anche che è quasi impossibile da raggiungere. Anche un minimo errore porta alla riduzione della qualità della prestazione e, quindi, anche del punteggio che la giuria gli attribuirà.
  4. Gli sport di velocità (e.g., 100 e 200 metri, staffette, 400 metri, nuoto) – richiedono una concentrazione totale per l’intera durata della prova. Decisiva è l’abilità a gestire efficacemente l’impulsività e la tendenza a reagire in modo troppo anticipato che si prova negli istanti che precedono la partenza.
  5. Gli sport di combattimento (e.g., scherma, boxe, arti marziali) – richiedono un livello elevato di reattività mentale e fisica per tutta la durata del combattimento. Notevole importanza ha la capacità di sapere anticipare le mosse dell’avversario. Data la brevità dello scontro è decisiva l’abilità a sentirsi in gara sin dai primi secondi.
  6. Gli sport di squadra (e.g., calcio, pallavolo, pallacanestro, rugby) – Richiedono lo sviluppo del pensiero tattico in un contesto di collaborazione con i propri compagni di squadra. Le punizioni nel calcio, il servizio nella pallavolo, i tiri liberi nella pallacanestro e i calci nel rugby richiedono un tipo di concentrazione molto simile a quello degli sport di precisione.

How to coach mentally in this new lockdown phase

We are again experiencing a period of difficulty to train and compete, moreover for many sports these opportunities have been totally cancelled and the athletes are at home or at most in the parks to train themselves only physically.

This situation generates concern and anxiety in everyone and in the athletes the loss of their daily activities and competitions creates even more negative emotions. They run the risk of believing that there is nothing else to do but suffer the present and wait!

There is no bigger mistake than thinking in this way. On your own, however, it is difficult to react to these thoughts that penetrate in the mind.

For this reason I have built a mental training system to regain confidence and control of thoughts and emotions. It is a practical system, composed of exercises that improve personal self-control. It certainly takes time, 30 minutes every day, but it is a training and the results, as for any other skill, can be obtained only with daily practice.

Who wants to receive more information about this system, its duration, activities to do and achievable results can write to this blog and will be contacted.

I suggest to abstain to those who think it will be easy or not time consuming.

Sport is a right for all

E’ veramente sconcertante assistere alle polemiche nate dalla dichiarazione di Roberto Mancini, ct della nazionale di calcio, per avere affermato che bisogna pensare prima di parlare e che lo sport è un diritto come la scuola e il lavoro. Aggiungerei anche che bisogna conoscere prima di parlare.

Bisogna sapere ad esempio che la sedentarietà è la quarta causa di morte e che secondo quanto documentato dalla rivista Lancet, nel nostro Paese i costi diretti di questa inattività motoria sono 906.680.000 milioni di dollari (di cui 707.210.000 a carico del sistema sanitario, 32.267.000 dei privati e 163.202.000 sostenuti dalle famiglie) mentre quelli indiretti sono 498.021.000.  Sono cifre enormi che dovrebbero obbligare la politica italiana a valutare appieno il valore dello sport. Chi ne ha la diretta responsabilità deve essere pienamente consapevole che la mancanza di attività fisica e di sport è ancora oggi un problema misconosciuto, altrettanto grave come lo sono le malattie cardiovascolari, il diabete, il cancro al seno e al colon e richiede un’azione globale a breve e a lungo termine, se non per amore di una buona salute dei cittadini almeno per ragioni di buona economia.

Va aggiunto che lo sport non è una questione collegata alla richiesta di pochi che vogliono svagarsi e a cui è stato sottratto un gioco ma rappresenta il modo per mantenere uno stile di vita fisicamente attivo e sviluppare il benessere individuale e della comunità.

A questo riguardo la sua centralità è stata ribadita da un Memorandum d’intesa firmato a maggio tra il Comitato olimpico internazionale (CIO) e l’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità (OMS), incentrato sulla promozione e la difesa della salute attraverso lo sport e l’attività fisica durante questo periodo.

Inoltre, se volgiamo la nostra attenzione ai giovani in età scolare e a quelli con disabilità è evidente che l’accesso allo sport non deve diventare un ulteriore modo per discriminare alcuni rispetto ad altri. Così come lo è già stato lo scorso anno scolastico per molti studenti, e le loro famiglie, la difficoltà di accesso a internet e il non possedere almeno un computer per seguire le lezioni da casa.