“Organizing for Excellence”: Stress-Recovery States in the Danish National Orienteering Team during a Training Camp and the 2015 World Championship

Astrid Becker-Larsen1, Kristoffer Henriksen1, Natalia Stambulova1,2
1 Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark
2 School of Health and Welfare, Halmstad University

Energy management is a natural part of the life of elite athletes. This is particularly important during periods of high demand on their resources, such as during training camps and competitions, which are often intense and do not allow sufficient time for recovery. In the 2015 World Championships, the Danish national orienteering team was the best nation, winning four gold medals. In the present study we examined: (a) the stress-recovery states of the Danish orienteers during a three-week preparatory training camp and the following 2015 World Championships, and (b) their perceived sources of stress and recovery during the two events. The study was designed as case study with the RESTQ-sport questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and a coach’s journal as the data sources used longitudinally during the camp and the championships. Results revealed: (a) well-balanced stress-recovery states among all athletes during the entire period; and (b) perceived sources of stress and recovery classified into organizational, social, personal, and athletic. The organizational strategies played a key role in reducing athletes’ unnecessary stress and in facilitating individual recovery. We suggest that “organizing for excellence”, keeping in mind athletes’ energy management, is a special task for coaches and managers when preparing for camps and competitions.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 8, 2017

ASTRID BECKER-LARSEN is a research assistant at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark. Astrid’s primary research interest is applied sports psychology, and more specifically mental stress and recovery. As research assistant, Astrid is also teaching different courses both on the bachelor and master level. Beside this, Astrid is working as part of Team Denmark’s (the Danish elite sport institution) external network of associated sport psychology consultants.

KRISTOFFER HENRIKSEN, PhD, is an associate professor at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark. As a researcher, Kristoffer’s main interest lies in social-psychological and ecological approaches to talent development. Kristoffer is also a sport psychology practitioner with Team Denmark, the Danish elite sport institution, and works with top-level athletes and coaches in sports such as orienteering and Olympic sailing. Kristoffer has published several papers about his applied work focusing on professional philosophy, mindfulness and working at the Olympic Games.

NATALIA B. STAMBULOVA is a professor in Sport and Exercise Psychology at School of Health and Welfare at Halmstad University, Sweden. Her professional experiences in sport psychology refer to her work for about four decades as a teacher, researcher, and practitioner in the USSR/Russia and since 2001 in Sweden. Her research and about two hundred publications relate mainly to the athlete career/talent development topic with an emphasis on athletes’ career transitions and crises. Dr. Stambulova is a member of editorial boards of several international journals and an associate editor of Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

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