February 20, 2021In Uncategorized13 Minutes

It is usually said that time is a key variable in the game. But does this phantom “time” really exist?

Time could in fact be a great illusion. Certainly one of those illusions necessary for our lives. Contemporary physics claims that there is no such thing as “time” at a fundamental and elementary level of matter. Time is indeed real in our daily experience, but the latter is an approximation, an illusion, a “measure of our ignorance” [1].

On the other hand, this time called “illusory” by science acts very concretely on our lives: for the philosopher Bergson there is a real duration, a continuous and ineliminable current of past and future that persists and characterizes our conscience, a lived and subjective time that holds together the fabric of our existence and gives body and value to our living (we are beings full of memories, projects, expectations, actions and reflections, that is, lived time). From this lived and concrete time we then abstract a spatialized time, that is, discrete and divided into separate instants placed in sequence, a quantifiable and measurable, objective time, which is the time of the hands of the clock, a time valid for everyone, the result of an operation of the intellect that abstracts and generalises [2]. On the other hand, neuroscience recognizes that the brain dedicates specific areas and neural networks to both these times, the personal and the objective, and that they are therefore an original “filter” of our experience, that is, our experience< /strong> of reality is inevitably “temporalized” as Kant would say[3].

In short, a beautiful tangle of times,  so we could say that what we call “time” emerges differently at different levels, from different perspectives. Time is a measure of complexity. Even in the game we can “play” at different time scales, and indeed even this interaction of times, this tangled network, is a measure of the complexity of the game.

There certainly exists an OBJECTIVE TIME, measurable, chronological. The match lasts so many minutes, the exercise lasts so many minutes… It is indeed interesting to note how modern sport develops in parallel with the objectification of time, and does not exist without this: the industrial revolution brings with it the request for a rationalization of time, the times of goods transit from one place to another must beat a time that is no longer arbitrary, the Greenwich meridian therefore establishes the time and begins to regulate, according to an abstraction, also the times at different latitudes (1870)[4]; in parallel and at the same time the formalization of the rules, including that of playing time, gives life to what we know as modern sport.

The objective time on the pitch is the frame for what happens in the game. This frame can, on the other hand, remain in the background (the sequence of passes that lasts 15min, the match that lasts 45min, etc.), or be an element placed in close-upin the game (let’s see in three minutes who makes the most passes). We can therefore play with objective time: the final match can be marked by goals in a certain time (whoever scores the most goals in 10 minutes of play wins), or by the time it takes us to make a certain number of goal (whoever gets to three first wins, if a team scores two consecutive goals in three minutes it counts as double etc.).

We immediately realize, however, that that time on the stopwatch is not experienced in the same way by all players: those 15 minutes of sequences become problematic and probably longer for a player who has a difficult relationship with oriented control, the last 5 minutes of the match are not experienced in the same way by the team in the lead and the one in the back etc. There is always a SUBJECTIVE TIME that gives a strong imprint to the gaming experience; just as the time we spend looking at a display case with an animal that scares us or the time anxiously waiting for the traffic light to return to green expands and is actually perceived as wider than objective time, just as the “time of happiness” flies and escapes quickly, even the subjective time we spend in the field is strongly influenced and mediated by various processes: from the biochemistry of the body (how lack of sleep or incorrect nutrition can alter time), from memory and experience (which often fluidifies or slows down the time of choice and action), from the attention and emotions which are fundamental in the dilation or narrowingenment of subjective time. Even with subjective time we can therefore play: varying the exercise by adding “noise” expands the attention time that the brain pays to its dynamics (but for some an excessive and unmanageable “noise” can cause inhibition), the mnemonic recognition of a situation that reflects the competition context fluidizes the times of choice, from a relational point of view, security and self-esteem “color” the experiential time of the game in shades favorable to learning.

In the game the TIME OF CHOICES therefore has an unavoidable subjective matrix, but it also depends on the game situation in which the player is immersed. The contraction of decision time seems to be an important trend: the data confirms that the average time from when a player receives the ball to when he gives it up by making a choice seems to decrease, the game becomes faster[5]. Scientific studies [6] also tell us that neural time (the brain’s response time to stimuli) precedes awareness time, that is, the brain makes decisions, by according to recent studies [7] – until a few seconds before we become aware of it. At certain time scales of the game some choices occur at an unconscious level, preceding thought. If we want to play with the time of choices, therefore, a spatialization of the playing time becomes fundamental: depending on the situation, the distance ball-team-mates-opponents, there will be moments in which the >immersionin the relationship ensures that decision-making precedes thought (acting time), moments in which observation of the relationship allows one to perceive the choice (< em>perceived time), moments in which the distance from the relationship allows an interpretation of the choice (including time). Training at different space-time scales consequently becomes fundamental, because, for example, in immediate action what can be immediately leveraged if not on emotion and relational bonds, perception on the principles of the game and on the fact of recognizing those situations (therefore having experienced them), the understanding of still different processes: as Mr. Giovanni Barbugian underlined in a recent webinar, it is not necessarily the case where I have space and time to think (e.g. 3 attackers against a single defender in an open half of the field) is necessarily easier, indeed, often the thought “holds back” the effectiveness of the action and therefore these situations also need to be trained.

Choices, relationships, time…making the right choice, in relation to teammates and opponents, at the right time, refers us to the concept of TIMING. Literally, timing is a «distribution of signals or the execution of operations that order events and phenomena in a temporal succession» [8]. In short, a concatenation of individual game times in the most fluid and coordinated manner possible. Playing with timing therefore means practicing the signals to recognize and interpret in order to synchronize and carry out a certain action: learning to read a technical gesture as a signal to make a temporal interaction happen, to trigger: for example ,the control oriented in my direction as a signal to make a movement towards my partner at that precise moment, the interpretation of the support foot or a posture or eye contact as a moment to respond in a certain way .

Acting on the level of timing still means remaining on a syntactic level (of signs), but the game is always and first of all also a semantic question (of meaning): time is therefore also a RELATIONAL TIME, a time that arises from relationships; it is not enough to “read” the timing signals distributed in the game, I must also interact with an intricate network of times given by relationships, a network that has depth, which is full of meaning: each player plays at a different time, which is the his own time (it has meaning for him), and interprets the different distributed signals according to his time (I remember Clarence Seedorf who seemed to slow down the game, when in fact he was establishing an extraordinary relationship with his teammates based on different times); moreover, two players who have a strong gaming relationship agree on timing even without the need for signals; each opponent will interpret the signals (timing) differently, e.gwicked of pressing etc. etc. Here then the different configurations of teammates-opponents-ball-game situation bring out a distributed network of relationship times, of significant times, of systems that intersect and overlap, from which what we call “time” emerges as a key variable of game. Which is nothing more than an illusion, an emergency, a waste product of the game.

The fact that time can be an illusion is, on the other hand, extremely fascinating. To delude (in-ludus) literally means playing the game. Time then perhaps deludes us, it slips away, escapes definitions [9], it slips from our hand like the sand that we would like to hold back, precisely to allow us to stay in the game. It is the void that offers us the fullness of the game.



February 20, 2021In Uncategorized13 Minutes