I decided last week, but the idea I had in my head for a long time. It was one of the great regrets of his career, but I love the routine: I won in France the first time without coming to the Giro and so did not want to change a program has already been tested. Now it’s different and I will fill this gap, is the Centenary Giro, I lived in Italy for nearly five years, I have many friends. Is it possible to raise even more your country on the fight against cancer, I’m really happy. I will definitely try to win, there is the possibility that the Giro is the only three-week stage race that I will follow. Even today in the Tour there are doubts with the problems I have with the organizers, journalists and fans, I might be distracted from my mission: to focus global attention on the battle against cancer.
Is Lance Armstrong, highly decorated international cycling champion, faced with the question of some journalists who asked him how it was possible his return, aged 37 years and after many vicissitudes, the Tour of Italy 2008.
Not that the question was not relevant, but as often happens, the real champions are those who continue to surprise us with sudden and sensational return to activity, with unexpected and unimaginable victories, defeats burning or non-sporting vicissitudes which cause a stir, with extraordinary athletes who their deeds always inflamed fans all over the world.
And Lance is not the first, nor do I think will be the last, to hit our attention to a shock choice for the level of competitive sports has been reached today, in cycling in particular.
My mind goes back to other great champions of the past such as Michael Schumacher, more than any other the emblem of the modern pilot, able in the course of his career “line up” all records conceivable in Formula 1, Pete Sampras , the tennis player who dominated the international scene by winning an unthinkable number of Grand Slam tournaments and staying at the top of the world rankings for many years, Roberto Baggio, a great champion of our national football that we all remember the extraordinary ups and downs but its incredible sporting careers; Josefa Idem, the canoeist of CCAniene second for 4 milliseconds (so to speak) in Beijing in 2008 and still in business despite its 44 years, with a great desire to “point” even the London Olympics. I also think of athletes as current Phelphs, Tiger Woods, Bolt, athletes of the Paralympics.
All super-athletes, no doubt extraordinary champions.
But I think people especially out of the ordinary. Talented people who have figured out how to capitalize on their “gift”, how to feed one of the indispensable elements for the success: motivation, our true “petrol”.
If we compare ourselves to a car (maybe a Ferrari) I can say that our talent more or less corresponds to the aerodynamics and engine of the car, our head (what we think and decide) corresponds to the pilot, the motivation is not doubt the fuel, the “substance” that we consume every day depending on how much “push” on the accelerator.
Here it is critical to understand that it is always the motivation to push our car, no matter how beautiful and powerful, will always remain “pit stops” without a lot full of gasoline.
The sport is not just “a matter of physical.” And even the best training methodology (which is a bit ‘as the engineering study of our car) alone is no longer enough to ensure success. Where are we to understand for success not only winning a trophy, but also to exceed the limits of its “maximum.” As shown by the sporting achievements of many athletes, as evidenced by the story of Armstrong.
The extraordinary nature of his choice is then to be found also in its history. Perhaps more private in its history. We all know that Lance had to fight against a terrible disease, cancer, which has already hit the peak of his professional career, and we all know how he found within himself the strength to react and overcome this obstacle. I think Lance is an example of how you can draw on a fortitude that too often we do not have and instead is within each of us and “pushes” towards the achievement of our goals, the desired goals. The return of Armstrong in the Tour goes beyond the purely sporting and highlights what we psychologists have always supported: the importance of “believing” the strong belief that is supported only by a great motivation. And that Armstrong is undoubtedly to show the world that you can pick up everything, even start from scratch after having had great success and great difficulties. His motivation is to give hope to others.
It’s called Resilience in the scientific literature and corresponds to the individual’s ability to respond to highly stressful stimuli in a new and very effective, leaving the negative situation and creating a better one. A successful, a success, even a “salvation.”
It is, in short, the art to recover.
This is possible especially when we “hunger,” when we feel inside that “burning fire” and that pushes us towards the goal, when we have a more difficult target than the last, when we have a top reason. Whenever there is something happened which marked or “re-oriented” our life, we feel the need to turn things up inside, and for many it becomes revenge, for others it becomes a “push” to go beyond incredible. It’s called psychology of vision.
But what is the ‘switch of this mechanism? When did we take action to adequately respond to the event and critical or stressful?
The answer is not simple. Meanwhile, we must say that we are not all the same and some have special virtues of recovery, there is to be considered is the fact that the education received, the level of independence and personal autonomy and the presence of any blockages or trauma are key factors in determining a positive response, intense and very effective. I think Federica Pellegrini, who prepare now for two seasons, and I’ve known and respected for his fortitude that led, with the support of a preparation of complete physical and mental psycho-despite the difficulties encountered (think of the race of the 400 sl), to be able to express all his enormous talent. And to win an Olympic title until shortly before anything but safe.
L ‘switch is almost always a highly stressful situation and “dangerous” (in real or symbolic) for the individual, which threatens their “survival” or the self-esteem, which stimulates its success. I often tell my athletes, “I want to prove that …” and this calms me because it means that there is still something to pull out. It is when an athlete argues constantly, hard to apply, seeking loopholes, which is putting in place a series of defense mechanisms of their own “ego” that led him away, all this serves to hide himself that maybe he’s afraid of something or, more simply, you no longer want. Stress is not necessarily a negative element, no doubt consumes us and hinder us, but it is from the estate in times of stress that we learn to rely on ourselves and continue to take the lead after all.’s It, remaining under stress for a period, that really decide what to do: whether to go ahead or give up, whether you succeed or fail.’s how it Armstrong always find new challenges to groped: he is not afraid of stress because he believes in himself and continues until it reaches as you want.
But it is important to understand that motivation alone is not enough, not enough and it does not explain all the agonistic behavior. The talent and the technical preparation – athletics are other essential elements. But in the sport today all this is not enough, talent is not everything.
Without adequate mental preparation in high-level sport is struggling to emerge and often result in real sports crisis from which it is difficult to get out because they trigger a whole series of psychological mechanisms very complex and deep, unconscious.
I say this because too often I witness actually unique and exceptional as that of Lance Armstrong confirmed that in my opinion many athletes, young talent, fall by the wayside because they might not lie within the strength of which this sample is emblem. Not because there is not but because they have the tools, or personal experience, to find her.
Prepare yourself mentally high-level activity is not only resolve the crisis, but is to prepare your mind to do my best, to pull out everything you need at the right time, to build and train some psychological characteristics are essential and fundamental. In summary avoid the own goal and express its full potential.
The story of Armstrong, as extraordinary, I would say that is also unique (think of how many athletes have fallen rise no more, for example. Mike Tyson or Martina Hingis). This means that even his own life experience has played a key role in the ability of this man to never stop, because life has put him in front of a difficulty which caused him to relativize everything else, making it “move” by a professional cycling cycling to a “human.”
This athlete is no longer just an athlete but a man who through his work is sending a message to the world and all those who have had an experience similar to his.
Because, as I tell my athletes, not sample one who does not fall, but the one who gets up again.
As Alessandro Zanardi, he is now an example, an icon of the possibility to trace only human. Again. To find a new way to continue to exist. Because basically a shot of life is not a destiny, but only a wound that colors our history.