Tag Archive for 'talento'

Working with young talented athletes

Working with young talented athletes, roughly between the ages of 14-20, is in my experience the biggest challenge for a psychologist and of course for coaches.

These young people go through the phase where the goal of their activity is to learn to be competitive and acquire a winning mentality. This is accompanied by the fact that high level youth sport has become increasingly challenging as young athletes compete against their peers at European and world level, consequently the competition to reach the top ranking is very strong.

I realize that in these contexts learning to dominate the game, in the case of tennis and all opposition sports (fencing, table tennis) or knowing how to perform to one’s own standard as in athletics or diving competitions is really difficult.

The main issue is the management of the competitive stress generated by mistakes and the need to immediately return to a mental condition of orientation to the next point or the next execution. This work is not easy, it requires toughness and a mentality oriented to live these difficulties as phases of the performance and not as something that should not happen or even worse as signs of incapacity.

Talent and experience

In soccer players’ talent is not enough to win

In soccer, as in all team sports, it is good to remember that in order to win, “The champion team beats a team of champions”, indicating that even the ideal team composed of only champions must still integrate the skills of each one despite possessing a priori a better quality potential at the individual level.

So how often does the favored team win?

A statistician Chris Anderson together with a behavioral economist David Sally have studied this phenomenon [2013] and found that in the European soccer championships this happens in just over 50% of the games, the percentage rises to about two-thirds of the time in German handball, USA basketball and football while in baseball it is about 60% of the matches. To understand team performance we must reduce the focus on the intrinsic value of the teams highlighted mainly by the level of individual talent and put more interest in the study of the skills needed to work together.

What to do to increase the likelihood of winning?

An important key parameter for distinguishing winning teams from others relates to the positive/negative connotation and frequency of dialogue between players on the field. It has been shown that the three positive effects most cited by players are:

  • Increase in player coordination that stimulates mental repetition of critical situations.
  • Improvement of their concentration and the refining of the precision of their movements.
  • Increase in their ability to make correct decisions accurately and in the shortest possible time [Farina and Cei, 2019].

Breathing coaching

These are the topics of my workshop titled:
Development of psychological skills in high potential athletes: 
breathing as a key tool to build mental skills programs
Online European Conference Psychology of Elite Sports Performance - November 21-22, 2020, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Self-control
  • The breathing: a long story
  • Breathing and human basic motivation
  • Breathing during the competitions
  • Breathing and cognitive processes
  • How to improve self-control through breathing
  • The breathing into the training programs
  • The practice

Zero talent, the best results if

Risultati immagini per habit and success performance

Book review: Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Risultati immagini per Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology

Massimiliano Cappuccio (Ed.)

Cambridge, MIT Press

2019, 26 chapters, 740 pages


Although sport is played with the body, it is won in the mind.

(Aidan Moran, Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2004)

From the Introduction (Massimiliano Cappuccio)

Today, to clarify the mission and the scope of sport psychology requires understanding the deep intertwinement of “body” and “mind” within the framework of cognitive science and cognitive philosophy. That is one of the reasons a joint venture between sport psychologists and cognitive scientists—including, importantly, cognitive philosophers—is a must.

This volume is composed of seven sections. With the help of multidisciplinary teams of researchers, each section explores a particular area of thematic interest situated at the intersection of embodied cognitive science and sport psychology.

Section 1 presents the key notions and concepts necessary to lay the theoretical foundation of our interdisciplinary discourse. The very meaning of embodied cognition, and the reasons that make it relevant to the theory and practice of sport psychology, are introduced and discussed.

Section 2 tackles one of the issues that most seriously concerns athletic performance: the nature of embodied skill, its cognitive preconditions, and the factors that disrupt it. A correct understanding of the roles played by attention, self-awareness, and conscious- ness is key to developing a consistent theoretical account of both sport performance in optimal conditions and its failure in pressure-filled environments (the so-called choking effect).

Section 3 talks about the role of sport pedagogy inspired by the embodied theory, how cognitive enhancement is facilitated when accompanied by an appropriate regime of physical exercise and training.

Chapter 11 investigates an issue that is hotly debated by scientists and various categories of people working in the sport business: What is talent, and how can it be identified? Is it an inherited gift or the result of long and hard training? According to the authors philosopher Mirko Farina and sport psychologist Alberto Cei, the answer suggested by embodied cognition is articulated and complex: appropriate practice and intense experience during optimal periods of development, characterized by higher rates of neuroplasticity, can express and maximize the innate potential if accompanied by environments conducive to learning and well-designed training methods.

Section 4 is dedicated to the intersubjective and social dimension of sport skills, with a particular emphasis on team sports and other competitive athletic disciplines.

Section 5 discusses the best research methods in the social sciences for developing the sociological, anthropological, and cultural side of sport practices.

Section 6 deepens the theoretical background: according to the ecological approach to perception, objects are not just neutral sources of visual information, but “invite” the actions allowed by their shapes and their intrinsic possibilities of manipulation.

Section 7 inquires about the source of the mind’s predictive capabilities. This inquiry, central for both the tradition of philosophical psychology and the future of embodied cognition, is particularly debated now that predictive processing theory promises to unify the understanding of various mental functions (perception, imagination, memory, inference) under the same general Bayesian mechanics: the brain’s fundamental goal is to reduce the mismatch between sensory input and the corresponding predictions generated by feedforward systems.








Philip Roth

Everybody has a hard job. All real work is hard. My work happened also to be undoable. Morning after morning for 50 years, I faced the next page defenceless and unprepared. Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation. If I did not do it, I would die. So I did it. Obstinacy, not talent, saved my life.

Andrea Pirlo: The last of the Italian talents has gone

Andrea Pirlo has definitively ended his career. His retirement marks the end of a type of player who is technical, lead the team, takes free kicks and score goals, he is a leader and in the decisive moments of the match makes a difference. In Italy, there are no more players like him, he was the last one, with him there were in the same period Totti, Baggio and Del Piero.

Evidently the football formation of our young no longer allows the development of this type of football players. Now in the national team we have a midfield made up of anonymous and an attack with young who have not yet won anything and often had not played at their best. We have a strong defense, ex-strongest, hopefully it will be enough to win with Sweden and go to world championship in Russia.

The best Pirlo’s goals

Andrea Pirlo

What excellence is


10% Talent & 90% Perspiration

Risultati immagini per gladiator fighting movie

Just to remind those who have forgotten for a moment

Italian Football Association Report shows there is no place for young

It was presented yesterday the annual report of the Italian Football Association that among the many data presented has highlighted one particularly bad: we are in last place in Europe for players coming from the youth programs (8.4%). That is accompanied by the presence of 54% of foreign players in Serie A. This is not a new situation because in 2013 the FIFA had found that:

  • xenophilia of the teams of Serie A, witnessed by fifth place for the use of foreign players: only the Cypriot, English, Portuguese, Belgian, Italian and Turkish Leagues  - in order – are above the threshold of 50% (52.2 %). Italy, in fact, tops the ranking of who neglects its young talent.
  • Percentage of players coming from the youth programs. Occupy lonely the last position with a percentage lower than 10% (7.8%), far from Germany (14.7%), Britain (17.5%), France (21.1%) and Spain (25, 6%).

This negative data emerges also when analyzing the best European teams. They come from the youth programs: Manchester United, 40%; Barcelona, ​​59%; Ajax, 55% and Montpellier, 44%.