Atlantic Calling; the highs and lows of Atlantic rowing, A case study approach. Presented as part of Risky Business: Themes Relating to Participation in High Risk Sports syposium

Authors: Wilding, A. and Kavanagh, E.

Conference: British Psychological Society Annual Conference

Dates: 18 April-20 January 2012


Atlantic Calling involves a team of two men in a 23.4ft handmade plywood rowing boat navigating 3200 nautical miles from Morocco to Barbados. Much of the current research surrounding ultra-endurance events focus on the physiological responses of the body rather than understanding the psychological demands of the environment and its subsequent affect on physical functioning. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness regarding applied work with individuals during their preparation for such events. The purpose of the session is twofold; firstly it will address the unique psychological demands of this ultra-endurance event and secondly provide an insight into the challenges faced by the sport psychologists preparing the team for the event. Key points: Understanding the environment on the boat is a key challenge for all those involved. Space is at a premium and the ability to manage stressors such as boredom, pain and equipment failure both individually and as a cohesive unit are major factors influencing the successful preparation for and completion of the event. Additionally, the ability to interpret both verbal and non verbal cues thus understanding the intricacy of the team’s personalities and mental functioning is a make or break skill that in this case had to be taught. The intervention programme required a two tiered approach; skills aimed specifically at each individual and secondly those which build a bond between team members.

Conclusions Compatibility of personalities is imperative along with the sport psychologists understanding of the environment in order to carefully select and deliver specific interventions.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Emma Kavanagh