Psychological Preparation

Of equal significance for today’s elite athletes is thorough psychological preparation – both as individuals and as a coherent team. Whilst Pen, Ann and Martin are all veterans of polar exploration and have already proven their mental resilience, the wider scientific implications of the Catlin Arctic Survey inevitably contribute additional pressures beyond any of their previous personal endeavours.

Reinforcing their positive approach through a combination of visualisation techniques, open discussion and consideration of potential contingencies, Dr Mark Wilson (also of the Sport & Health Sciences Dept at Exeter University) facilitates various informal group sessions to further prepare the team.

Success will undoubtedly rely upon a monumental collective team effort – particularly against the harsh and unforgiving environment of the polar ice cap.

Mark first met Pen Hadow two years ago while Pen was preparing for a planned solo attempt at crossing the Arctic Ocean; alone and unsupported.

From a psychological perspective, the demands of this project will be very different to a solo expedition.

Performing as an effective team will be an absolutely key requirement and it is imperative that Pen, Ann and Martin are clear about their separate roles and responsibilities.

Prior to stepping foot on the ice, Mark and the other support staff will be examining each of the team members' preferred working styles and determining potential 'pressure points' where problems may arise.

Mark will also help the team members to develop their own strategies for dealing with the combined pressures of fatigue, cold, hunger, tension and perceived pressure, which will be part of their daily lives for three months

"Preparation" Blog Posts
Training for the Catlin Arctic Survey
Posted by Jon Stratford
As personal trainer to the ice team what was my main focus? Their physical preparation? Partly, and I’m sure that at times over recent weeks that they would rather be on their knees (literally!)...more
Thursday, 09th April 2009
Spring in our step
Posted by Pen Hadow
It’s hard to believe I’m feeling so much better because temperatures here have risen to -24 degrees C! By any standard that’s not exactly warm, but it feels like a new world compared to the -40!...more
Tuesday, 24th March 2009
No Go
Posted by Ian Wesley
Up at the crack of an Arctic dawn today. Today is the day that I'm going to see the ice team – or so I thought....more
Monday, 16th March 2009
Utterly bombproof
Posted by Pen Hadow
I once described Martin during a press conference as “utterly bombproof in a polar environment”, a remark that I stand by to this day. Not only does he capture the very essence of the moment in his images, be it action, emotion or event, he does so in the most inhospitable of conditions. Where others fade and head to warmer climates, Martin comes to the fore, delivering awe-inspiring images despite the bitter cold and cutting winds....more
Saturday, 14th March 2009
Posted by Simon Harris-Ward
At around 2200 local time, as Pen, Ann and Martin lay in their tent, they felt the ice vibrating dramatically underneath them and heard the all too familiar screeching sound of grating ice floes......more
Tuesday, 03rd March 2009

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