Tag Archive for 'Vincere'

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Success depends upon previous preparation

In preparation for big sport events it’s crucial to get to opening day with the belief to be ready and that nothing can distract from the performance to do it. Reaching this state of mind is already a major achievement for any athlete. It does not mean to feel calm, but rather to be confident, having done everything it needed to get that appointment at the best. It’s like saying: “I am prepared to express myself at the best in this competition, I can do it.”

The preparation ends at that time and the next step is to do it. Now in the athletes’ mind emerge decisively anxieties and fears, that the athlete have to manage but who are limited by their confidence to feel ready.

In a little more than 10 months, the Olympics and Paralympics Games will start, the best athletes are engaged in qualifying and for all it will be important to reach those days feeling prepared at the best. The work of the sports psychologists will be very important for them to build this kind of mentality.

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. (Confucius)

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Barcelona-Juventus: it will win the more cohesive team

Barcelona and Juventus have reached this Champions League final on the strength of the team, their ability to think in terms of WE. The strength of the group is a key issue for every coach, who must be able to stimulate this continuing active and creative participation of the players. We know it, as Italians since the time of Bearzot, 1982 World Cup,  who used the team media silence as a tool to build the team cohesion. The Americans know well this topic having coined the sentence: “The champion team beats a team of champions”, to indicate that also the ideal team with only champions have to integrate the skills of each one, to be able to express their full potential. At this regard, Pat Riley, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, said that as a young Magic Johnson made most of the points but his team was always depressed and frustrated, because his teammates felt useless. He decided that the situation was unbearable for him, and since then his behavior changed, putting his skills to the service of the team. The mood of the team changed completely, the teammates were much more motivated, they increased their skills and also continued to win.

Tomorrow Juventus can lose if it plays with the attitude of the victim, while Barcelona may fall because of a presumptuous attitude. This should not happen, if we want to watch a great match. As always, at the end one of the two teams will win and it will be the one who will have fought tirelessly and with tactical intelligence, putting their best players in the best position to express themselves in a winning way.

Do you train to win?

We always talk with the expert athletes and their coaches about the relevance to repeat in the competition as they did in training. Thus the training prepares the athletes to develop and refine the skills necessary to successfully address the sport events. In this stage, the training relates only to a lesser extent on the technique acquisition, because this goal has been carried out in previous stages of the long-term athlete development (LTAD). What it’s then the training to win, following one of the best descriptions of this stage of the athletes’ sport career, by Canadian Sport for Life.

At the Train to Win stage of LTAD, training plans require double, triple or multiple periodization to accommodate the extremely high training volumes. Carefully designed periodization plans allow the high performance athlete to be able to express their full potential on competition day.

General considerations during Train to Win

  • Train athletes to peak for major competitions.
  • Performance outcomes take first priority.
  • Athletes must develop the ability to produce consistent performances on demand.
  • Coaches must ensure that training is characterized by high intensity and high volume.
  • Coaches must allow frequent preventative breaks to prevent physical and mental burnout.
  • Training must utilize periodization plans as the optimal framework of preparation, according to the periodization guidelines of the sport-specific LTAD plan.
  • The training to competition ratio should be adjusted to 25:75, with the competition percentage including competition-specific training activities.
  • Training targets include the maximization and maintenance of all athlete capacities.
  • Athletes must learn to adapt to different environments to perform their best.

Juventus: winning helps to win

Winning helps to win. Probably if Lazio had not scored the goal in the first minutes Juventus would have been much more difficult for the pressure that every Lazio player was playing on them. At the start of the match Juventus did not seem as fighting as it has proven to be the Lazio, perhaps because in the League it had won both times with ease, or because it thought they would not be involved in such an intense manner. The goal conceded  awakened the team from this error of presumption, and not surprisingly Juventus quickly put the result in a draw. Juventus had to be afraid of losing to win. And you have this feeling only when you stand on the edge. The team could not commit another mistake and if you are a great team these are the moments where you have to prove it. The opponent must understand that it’s not enough to scare you to win, it must do more, it must expect your reaction and make the wall. Lazio has not been able to sustain the advantage gained and at the first opportunity it wasted. Lazio had worried Juventus, but now the two teams were back to draw and the match could start again. Only Juventus, at this point, knew the risk run and it would do anything not to fall into it again.

Both coaches have said that the games are made of episodes, it’s true, but for this reason we must know how to build positive episodes, otherwise what is the utility of the training or because theteams do not rely on a magician rather than a coach. I think Lazio has prepared at the best the game coming from two consecutive defeats. It faced a great mental effort to put the opponents immediately in trouble  and throughout the first time succeeded quite well in this endeavor. Juventus suffered at first but then i quickly adapted to the game of Lazio, which at that point was very dangerous only in the action of the double goal post. Throughout the match Juventus have waited at the decisive momentum to blow, it struggled to keep the result in a draw, and when it had the opportunity it tried to score the decisive goal. In football, you do not know when the momentum happens, but if you trusts it comes, as in fact happened. It takes patience and confidence and when you have these two quality the team plays knowing that it’s only a matter of time. For this reason to win helps to win.

Juventus new winning mind

Before the fury, then the technique. It seems to me that this is the evolution, in last years, has had the mentality of Juventus. Undisputed champions like Buffon and Pirlo, among others, had already won a lot and shown to have this approach to football, but a winning team is a lot more of their individual personalities and it had to prove that all possess and bring to the pitch this mentality. The work of Conte had the merit of bringing the fury in the game, that  physical and mental intensity coming before the technique, the team had to show for ninety minutes each game. Allegri has completed this team, which had won three consecutive Italian championships, changing the play ssystem and bringing more attention to the technical work, and on how necessary it’s to continually improve it. Today we talk about what it has been unexpectedly reached the final of the Champions League, but in sports there are no miracles. The team has, however, been shown to have exceeded the psychological limitations that prevented it from playing in order to achieve this goal. This results comes from a great training but also from a winning condition, at least in Italy, and on this confidence it has been possible to build, obstacle after obstacle, this willingness to go beyond the limits. Now everything is possible, because history teaches us that David beat Goliath. Juventus goes to Berlin with a joyful attitude, because they are months that it’s pursuing the dream that, day after day, with the hard work and dedication, it has become a reality and this is a significant psychological advantage to better address this last game. Barcelona, ​​super-favorite may run into a false start as Bolt did in the 100m final at the 2011 World Championships, resulting in disqualification. An example of superficial mind approach dictated by feel fated to win. Juventus will serve the enthusiasm accumulated in the last weeks combined with calm, that will enable it to enhance its play, the one taught by Allegri. Certainly Juventus, on its way in the Champions League, was also lucky and this has highlighted another characteristic, typical of the winning teams: to take advantage of favorable conditions. In fact, it won when it had to win and it’s not easy to get this result, because not confident teams often lose these games not thinking, losing their cool when the goal does not come immediately or if the opposing team is showing more difficult to overcome. In these cases, who should win become insecure, while the opponent gains confidence and can overturn the result in its favor, including the disbelief of the favorites. Commitment, total dedication and technique are the key to this success.

Three sentences to think

John Wooden’s three sentences for parents, athletes and coaches to compare with their thoughts:

“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

The athletes’ depression: a diffuse and ignored disease

At least 20% of the athletes is suffering from depression, the phenomenon regards a athlete on two when they get to the end of  their career.  When we talk about depression in sport two aspects must be taken into great consideration. The first, the psychopathology produced from neurosis and unstable behaviors is uncommon among  the elite athletes, because the sport is already a sort of  medicine against this type of event. At the same time, however, there is another risk factor: the choice to depend throughout the lives by achieving sports results, in addition to the contemporary value judgment as a person. So in the event of failure, to be questioned is the athlete whole life. A failure that can lead to a very severe depression and in extreme cases to suicide. The most critical phase in the athletes’ life is the approach to the end career. Here to take the risk and depression it’s the 50%. It does not depend on the popularity of the sport or the  academic degree of the person. When you turn off the limelight the lives of former athletes can become empty and dull. Who has been not prepared an alternative to the field ends up in the vortex of depression. In Italy,  the “dark evil” affects 6% of adults aged between 18 and 69 years, most of them are women. These data come by the system called ‘PASSI’ coordinated by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Health Promotion (Cneps) – Institute of Health. Also in sports, athletes who have used doping, such as abusing anabolic steroids, they run a strong risk of developing depressive phenomena. That’s why in addition to soccer,  cycling, athletics and endurance sports are the sports where the depressive illness is more prevalent. The risk, for many athletes is to lose the contact with the reality. The attention to the athletes’ problems is low. Often the young talents show symptoms of indolence against psychological pressure that undergo to become super-champions: consequently they train and perform poorly. Thus demonstrating to others that there is a problem. Moreover, they are often too stressed by their family, where parents from an early age have encouraged their sons to  get always the maximum. To be competitive at all costs.

The patience is the most important skill to win

It’s well known that patience is an important mental skill, allowing to tolerate mistakes and failures. It allows, in fact, do not forget what we are able of doing and continue to use it to achieve our goals. Therefore those who do not have the patience, while refusing to accept the mistakes,they are not exempt from committing more and end up suffering more.

Parents and coaches need to practice this mindset because it allows them to maintain high motivation and belief that with the commitment and dedication to their children and athletes will compete at their best. The athletes, from their side, have to accept as written Lucio Dalla “that life is tough fight, courage and the desire to invent.”

It’s not enough to know the path, it needs to walk on it

Sometimes athletes and teams commit a serious error, they trust too much of what they they know to do well but in therrace they do not do it because they are convinced that just because they have thought then happen. It’s the Roma case of this period who start the matches convinced to win but then it does not play because it had already won it in the locker room. Or those asthletes who say “every time I do well the warm-up then I play bad.” Warm-up prepares to play well, but then you have to do it in the game: they are two separate aspects.

Be a good, well-trained and mentally prepared athlete is useful but it’s equally important to know that you must show these skills on the field. Otherwise they are useless.