Extreme sports, those activities that lie on the outermost edges of independent adventurous leisure activities, where a mismanaged mistake or accident could result in death, have developed into a significant worldwide phenomenon.
Extreme sport activities are continually evolving, typical examples include BASE (an acronym for Buildings, Antennae, Span, Earth) jumping and related activities such as proximity flying, extreme skiing, big wave surfing, waterfall kayaking, rope free solo climbing and high-level mountaineering. While participant numbers in many traditional team and individual sports such as golf, basketball, and racket sports have declined over the last decade or so, participant numbers in so called extreme sports have surged. Although extreme sports are still assumed to be a Western pastime, there has been considerable uptake in other parts of the world. Equally, the idea that adventure sports are only for the young is also changing as participation rates across the generations are growing. Baby boomers are enthusiastic participants of adventure sports more generally. Arguably, extreme sports now support a multi-billion dollar industry and the momentum seems to be intensifying.
Traditional explanations for why extreme sports have become so popular are varied. For some, the popularity is explained as the desire to rebel against a society that is becoming too risk averse, for others it is about the spectacle and the merchandise that is associated with organized activities and athletes. For others it is just that there are a lot of people attracted by risk and danger or just want to show off. For others still it is about the desire to belong to sub-cultures and the glamour that goes with extreme sports. Some seek mastery in their chosen activity and in situations of significant challenges. This confusing array of explanations is unfortunate as despite their popularity there is still a negative perception about extreme sports participation. There is a pressing need for clarity. The dominant research perspective has focused on positivist theory-driven perspectives that attempt to match extreme sports against predetermined characteristics. For the most part empirical research has conformed to predetermined societal perspectives. Other ways of knowing might reveal more nuanced perspectives of the human dimension of extreme sport participation.
In particular we are interested in research and ideas that examine:
1. Psychology and initial participation
2. Psychology and continued participation
3. Psychological aspects of effective performance
4. Psychological outcomes from participation
5. Neuropsychology in extreme sports6. Personality and other characteristics associated with extreme sports
7. Therapeutic effects of extreme sports
Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Ospedale Santa Maria delle Croci, Ravenna, Italy | Politecnico di Milano University, Milan, Italy
Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia