Racing psychology: why it fails every time it plays a definitive match

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Since six days ago, Racing is a team –y a club, and a community of hinchas– sentenced to transit its present and its future under a ucronia: that had passed if the criminal had the hubiese pateado Copetti, Hauche, Mena o Piovi, los footballers who had gathered before Jonathan Galván had taken the ball, kicked the worst and unleashed a sporting disgrace of unimaginable scope.

They spent hours and days in a state of anguish and tantrum. Both for millions of hinchas and for a squad that, in this time, starred in a journey that generated illusion, but I always had a final same thing: the defeat. Racing, Fernando Gago’s Racing, is a team that always falls on the edge. It sails freely and offers moments of good football, but it can’t be tied to its goal. Now it was La Liga Profesional, evaded by just one penalty. Before, la Copa de la Liga, la Sudamericana or la Copa Argentina.

If we go further back, with many of the current players but with another coach like Juan Antonio Pizzi, Racing sums up other lost finals: 0-3 wins against Colón for the Copa de la Liga and 0-5 against River for the Supercopa Argentina.

Is it a psychological questioning of a squad that speaks to definitive parties? How long can this mental frailty be measured in collective sports? Are there players who lower their level through moments of tension?

A few years ago, when he had just arrived at Racing, the team psychologist, Andrea Ricagno, released a sentence that today takes on another dimension: “You enter the cylinder and the panorama is really imposing. For many it could be a very enjoyable adrenaline rush, full of happiness. But there’s still time to manage the triumph too. Many times he fails because he cannot tolerate the triumph”. Ricagnos it in Racingmaniacs Radio: many times he fails because he cannot tolerate the triumph. This sentence is one of the many explanations that summarize this equipment.

“When the fear prevails to speak more than the desire to win, for the general the athlete is wrong”, reads the PROFILE of the psychoanalyst doctor Ricardo Rubinstein, author of the book Deportes al diván. “The effects of the moments of definition –agrega–, where they increase the demands and the pressure, translate into low performance: less attention, less concentration”. That could be another hypothesis of what happened to Racing last Sunday against River. From what happened, in reality, in four minutes since referee Pablo Echavarría took the second penalty and the moment Armani gave Galván the penalty.

In the long run of history, there are countless players and teams that did not tolerate this pressure. The hyperbole of this dagger could be the criminal that Roby Baggio fell in the definition of the 1994 World Cup against Brazil. “I continue to forgive myself for this penalty. No matter religion, that day could have committed suicide”, declared the Italian el año pasado, 27 years after that fateful moment that marked him for all his life.

leaders. In social networks, with phrases closer to self-help than to self-criticism, the players of Racing give some clues of the affected that fell in the place of frustration on Sunday. Copetti is, without doubt, the most pointed out by hinchas in social networks and the only last name mentioned in the pasacalles that colgaron tres socios el jueves. The team’s top scorer didn’t forgive him that he didn’t grab the ball to kick, and also that he stayed static in the penalty kick.

Probably it got worse because it was a very different reaction to what I’ve shown since I got to Racing. Copetti was the symbol of the will and the sacrifice, even from a position that in general is not characterized by eso.

Stunned by the criticism –Gago’s technical body knows that he will have to work a lot these days to recover his soul-, Copetti only spoke through an Instagram post: “Hice thousand things bien y nadie say nada, hice una cosa mal y ya I am the worst person of the world”. Lejos de ser verdad, the Cylinder always recognized his attitude, even though he made the wrong quaffle.

This fear to speak, crystallized in that talk where more than deciding a pateador was chosen by desertions, also extended to Hauche, Mena and Piovi, the group designated by el entrenador. Galván was not on that list, a topic that DT eluded once and again at the conference.

This vacillation demonstrated, in addition, the lack of leadership inside the court, something that Racing lost with the exit of Lisandro López and, to a lesser extent, with those of Nery Domínguez, Darío Cvitanich and Marcelo Díaz. Another characteristic in the psychology of this group is: “A leader puts the team on the shoulder and generates a contagio animico. The absence of these leaders means that the rest of the group is more affected”, explains Rubinstein. It is an absence that Stuttering or the management of Racing at some point will have to address if they want, sooner than later, to break the harm in the definitory parties.

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