Call for Papers | “Contributing to Team Performance in Professional Sports: Applied Mental Performance”, Special Issue of Journal of Sport Psychology in Action | Call ends October 31, 2022

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Professional sport organizations operate to produce teams that compete effectively, win games, contend for league championships, generate revenue, and provide fans with memorable experiences. These expectations exist for the range of professional men’s and women’s team sports, worldwide. Toward such ends, professional sport organizations utilize a range of programs, processes, and systems: (a) acquiring talented and skilled players, coaches, and staff; (b) developing players physically, mentally, and technically; (c) establishing productive team routines and culture; (d) providing mental health and physical care to players; and (f) making strategic, data-driven decisions. Within this context, many individuals contribute to team performance in professional sports, including mental performance consultants and sport psychologists. Although the application of sport psychology has been increasing in professional sports, few published accounts have been forthcoming describing, in clear and concise ways, how sport psychology is actually applied to enhance team performance at the professional level of sport. The edited volume of Schinke and Hackfort (2017), though, has been instrumental in providing a meaningful focus on applications of psychology in professional sports. Building off of that publication and coupled with the guest editor’s many years of experience in professional sports and that of colleagues, this special issue is being developed.

The Journal of Sport Psychology in Action (JSPA) exists to provide information about programs, services, and other interventions that can be applied by practitioners as part of their professional practices. Within that context, the articles to be published in this special of JSPA are to be grounded in relevant theory and research, presented in a manner that can be understood and used by practitioners, and depict applications that have actually been implemented with one or more professional teams. The articles are expected to provide guidance that will be valuable to practitioners who are involved with professional teams as well as to those who have interests in working at the professional level. Examples of articles that may be candidates for publication in the special issue can be ones that address topics such as: (a) conducting mental assessment of players as a basis for team selection; (b) designing and implementing mental performance plans for team members; (c) fostering the mental health of teams; (d) enhancing the mental performance of coaches; (e) establishing a productive team culture; and (f) communicating with team executives.

Using the current JSPA editorial requirements as a point of reference, each article in this special issue will need to adhere to a specific format, given journal’s page limitations for each article: Initially, a rationale needs to be provided for the article that grounds the application to be discussed–- that is, a program, service, intervention–-in relevant theory and research (about 2 pages). Then, the application is described as it has been applied by the author(s) in a sport organization with one or more professional teams (approximately 5 pages). Next, clear, and precise guidelines are provided for how a sport psychology practitioner can implement the application relative to their circumstances (approximately 3 pages). Subsequently, reflections about how the application may be transferred to other settings such as colleges or elite sport institutions (2 pages), followed by 1–2 pages of references.

For informal inquiries about manuscript possibilities, an author can contact the guest editor, Charles A Maher (); or the Editor-In Chief of JSPA, Robert Schinke (). Manuscripts must conform to the submission guidelines of JSPA and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition. Submissions should be made no later than October 31, 2022 via the electronic portal of Scholar One, where special issue manuscripts can be submitted. Final decisions will be made by the Editor-in Chief. Publication of this special issue is projected for March 31, 2023.

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