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Lecture 18

Kinesiology 1070A/B Lecture 18: Choking

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Western University
Kinesiology 1070A/B
Harry Prapavessis

November 28, 2016 Choking Recent research in neuroscience and psychology tells us that athletes who view specific scenarios as a threat perform vastly different then athletes who view a smaller scenario as a challenge. Study: Conversion rate of penalty takers who were kicking the final shot of a penalty shootout. Scenarios o The shooters team was down by a goal and he had to make the kick to tie; if he missed, the team would lose o The shooters team was tied, and he did not have to make the shot, but if he did, the team would win the game Results o In scenario (a), professional players only converted 62 of those shots o In scenario (b), professional players converted 92 of the time o Same kick, same distance, same target, but a 30 improvement when the player was shooting to win, and not shooting How do sport psychologists define choking? Most athletes and coaches would agree that choking happens when you are firmly in command of your performance or the competition and you lose because of a change in your mental state Choking under pressure decreases the standard level of athletic performance, of an athlete when they may be at their peak performance Choking is suboptimal performance, not just poor performance. Its a performance that is inferior to what you can do and have done in the past and occurs when you feel pressure to get everything right Study: Choking under pressure the role of fear of negative evaluation FNE o Predisposes people towards expectations that negative evaluation about public and private aspects of the self will occur o Leads to anxiety o Anxiety unabated by coping skills leads to choking Procedure o Familiarization: completed CSAI (cognitive and somatic state anxiety); 10 warm up shots; and 50 regular shots in a low pressure situation o Low Pressure: identical to familiarization but named differently participants are generally more nervous when they arrive for a research experiment o High Pressure: performancecontingent monetary incentive 5 dollars each shot made; video camera and audience present FNE is an important psychological characteristic of the choking susceptible athlete
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