Call for Papers | “Sport Psychology and The Olympic Games: Helping Athletes Shine in the Shadow of the Pandemic”, Special Issue of Scandinavian Journal on Sport and Exercise Psychology. Call ends November 1, 2021

Over the last year and a half, in the shadows of a worldwide pandemic, athletes and coaches have struggled to find meaning, have had to accept the unbearable, and have found themselves in what has seemed like an eternal limbo of high pressure, uncertainty and low or no control.

The Olympic games have always had a special status for many athletes as the most important event in their life. Success at the games has the power to change athletes’ and coaches’ lives. Therefore, athletes may find it hard to maintain focus and composure at the Games. The Tokyo Games will go over in history as an event that tested the athletes’ mental game even further. In 2020 the Olympic Games was postponed by a year. Even in the very lead up to the Games in 2021, media have speculated that the Games could be cancelled. Athletes have had to change their preparations, have had to train at different venues than normal, and have lacked opportunities to compete. The organizers have announced considerable and severe restrictions to athletes’ movements and opportunities during the Games. All these abnormalities provide fertile ground for rumination, feelings of doubt and worry, stress, loss of confidence and even losing sight of the deeper meaning. The last year-and-a-half has put applied sport psychology to the test. Never before has mental strength been more important. Never before has mental health been more challenged.

The special issue will focus on applied sport psychology and how sport psychology practitioners have helped athletes prepare for, perform at, and recover from an event that is unlike anything we have seen before. For this special issue:

      • We invite practitioners to submit case studies of how they worked with athletes, teams and coaches before, during and after the Games.
      • We invite presentations of national guidelines and specific interventions to alleviate post-Olympic blues.
      • We invite small scale research projects related to the Games that have an applied focus.
      • We invite personal reflections from sport psychology practitioners on the experience of providing service during a Pandemic.
      • And we invite other papers that take applied sport psychology work and the Tokyo Olympic Games as their starting point.

The value and timeliness of a special issue on supporting high performance in stressful contexts lie in the unusual mix of a world-leading sport event and a worldwide life-changing pandemic. We believe that measures taken in these unusual circumstances may inform sport psychology work in general. We expect all submissions to be rigorous and have the potential to advance the field.

The journal promotes a Scandinavian angle. Scandinavian countries provide a particular context for sport psychology. Research and applied initiatives conducted in this context are unique but can inspire the world. At the same time, research from across the globe can inform Scandinavian sport and exercise psychology if the Scandinavian context is carefully considered.

Contributors to the special issue should follow the submission guidelines of SJSEP. Manuscripts must be submitted online. To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for inclusion into the special issue, it is important to specify in your cover letter that the submission is intended for the special issue. The editors will initially screen all manuscripts submitted and then sent out for blind peer review if evaluated as appropriate for the special issue. Manuscripts that are well-written and in conformity with the journal’s guidelines will be favourably considered.

The deadline for submissions is November 1st. We aim for a quick and efficient review process and publication in early 2022.

Any inquiries regarding the special issue should be submitted to the special issue editors Professor Kristoffer Henriksen at khenriksen@health.sdu.dk, Dr Carsten Hvid Larsen at chlarsen@health.sdu.dk or president of DIFO (Danish sport psychology association) Astrid Becker Larsen at abl@ph.au.dk.

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