The soul of the project

The interface between the technical and psychological plan

The peculiarity of the project lies in the delicate but fundamental interface between the technical and psychological levels. The technical plan (for the coach’s benefit) is based on a communicative approach that is very direct to the group and not very diversified: the need to give quick solutions (through stimulus-response) to football situations and the need to impart technical, tactical and physical exercises (through the rules of the team and the game, respect for teammates and other functional elements to the “quick repair”, to the “main result”, to the “conclusion”) find a flourishing integration with the other level that tends to pursue more “the complexity of self-reconstruction”, the “process” rather than the conclusion.

Everything about the technical part is functional to create a “real” team dimension that is a fundamental tool for athletes in the construction of a superordinate sense of the experience they are living, based on their satisfaction (which comes from playing, sharing, participating and feeling part of something), on physical activity and the ability to achieve goals quickly and easily accessible (make a goal, a pass, be able to block an opponent’s action, a verbal and nonverbal exchange …).

The creation of the sense of one’s own action, and in particular of being able to share it with one’s companions, is peculiar on the one hand to “hook” the athletes to the activity, and on the other hand to allow the psychologist to observe and collect elements, aspects of behaviour that replicate and enrich the knowledge of the athlete. A process of professional construction of the athlete corroborated by the increasing possibility of anticipating some of his behaviors. Among the athletes, sometimes defilement, sometimes immersion in the game with all the shoes, the psychologist can observe, hypothesize, verify and confirm or disconfirm his idea of why each of the players moves in a certain way that allows him to give joy or discomfort, pain or hope. He is in the midst of them with his own set of hypotheses, in direct relation or in transit, as he considers more useful at various times, always with the aim of co-constructing an alternative way to go in the football field as in everyday life. Therefore, even the connection is born as a co-construction (between the team, the athlete and the team) of a sense in which the person, with his or her characteristics, resides at the centre of the process; and it is important to make the abandonment of the experience less viable and to be able to give continuity to the work of the constructivist team with regard to the proposal of new ways of relating to oneself, to others and to the very heavy label that comes with the concept of disability.

We act with the team (which also includes the coach in a different capacity) on levels where we observe a blockage of experience, that is, a maladaptive repetition of behavior often the result of the transient inability to see alternatives to their own actions, or rather to see the sense and the possibility of taking alternative paths.

We observe that the dictates of the coach (a real professional) of technical, tactical and physical nature are “perturbations” that athletes interpret in very different ways and that a careful observation can grasp to allow the psychologist to enter with delicacy and sensitivity in their lives with a lot of information. This action must be based on a deeper and deeper knowledge of the characteristics of each of them, of the ways in which that person usually “anticipates” and reads events (i.e. everything that happens).

In addition to the technical, tactical and physical dictates of the coach, there are relationships with the coach’s own person, with his companions, with the public, with the psychologist and the educator, with the guest, with the new athlete, with the ball, with the goal, with the injured falls and knees, with the pole out, with the wrong and realized penalty.

The team thus conceived becomes a place other than the places where people with disabilities often lived. In this “new” place it is possible to experience oneself in a different way: the relationships in which one tries to discover and build one’s own role and to recognize and legitimize the role of others, through processes of understanding and acceptance (direct self and hetero) are very stimulating.

The aim is to co-construct with the athlete tools that can be spent in everyday life: we want the playing field to be more than just a part of life; we want it to be an experimental setting, a metaphor for life itself.

Over time, the evolution of the role of the psychologist has led this figure to play the role of supervisor of the psychological part of the project which, in addition to observing, collects observations of the operators present alongside the athletes but also of the athletes themselves on their companions. A lot of “material” to try to understand how the athletes of the “ASD QuartoTempo Calcio” know the world.