OtherPapers.com - Other Term Papers and Free Essays

Choking in Sports

Essay by   •  March 28, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,160 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,476 Views

Essay Preview: Choking in Sports

Report this essay
Page 1 of 9

Choking in Sports

Sports Psychology

13 December 2011


In 2007, Reeves, Tenenbaum, and Lidor conducted research in order to study what causes talented athletes to often fail to perform to the best of their abilities when placed under stressful situations. The purpose of the study was to discover whether athletes who participate in self-consciousness training adapt to pressure situations better than players who do not. To measure this, the researchers examined "choking" during kicking a soccer ball with participants of two different skill levels, low-skill and high-skill. The participants had to complete two different tasks, kicking a soccer penalty and a breakaway. They were placed under two pressure situations, both low and high, and the experimenters also had three different training conditions - single task, dual task, and self-consciousness.

The high-skill players were members of a NCAA Division 1 women's soccer team at a southeastern, United States university with at least ten years playing experience. There were 18 participants in the high-skill group ranging from 18 to 22 years of age. The low-skill players were junior varsity girl soccer players from two southeastern high schools. There were 19 participants in this group, ranging from age 14 to age 16. All of these participants were randomly assigned to one of the three training conditions.

On the first day of the experiment, participants were told the purpose of the study and were asked to fill out performance information sheets as well as sign informed consents. Participants then warmed up and began performing the simple task of penalty kicks under low-pressure conditions. Before each kick, participants filled out the part of the psychological grid for that kick, and then performed the task. On the second day, the participants were split into two teams and told they would be competing for a prize. They were told that their competition would be videotaped and that a sports psychologist would evaluate their mental performance in front of the goal. The psychological grid was again filled out before each penalty kick. On the third day, the participants completed the complex task (breakaways) under low pressure conditions. On the fourth day, participants were told that the competition involving penalty kicks was unfair and that the competition needed to be replayed but with breakaways.

The researchers found that choking occurred in the simple task of penalty kicks, but not in the more difficult task of breakaways. Also, the single-task and dual-task treatments experienced a decrease in performance under high-pressure situations. Meanwhile, participants who underwent self-consciousness training improved their performance under high-pressure situations. Reeves et al. used a repeated measure ANOVA with skill level and treatment as between-subjects factors and pressure condition and task complexity as within-subjects repeated measures on perceived pressure. This ANOVA was used to check for the effect of pressure on the participants, and a significant effect was found (F (1,31) = 32.32, p < .001). Repeated measures ANOVAs were also used to assess performance and perceived performance during the shooting tasks. There was a significant interaction of task difficulty and pressure condition on performance such that participants performed the simple task better under low-pressure (M = 12.63, SD = 3.35) than under high pressure (M = 11.17, SD = 3.24). However, they also found that the more difficult task was performed equally well under low- (M = 11.08, SD = 2.64) and high-pressure (M = 11.25, SD = 2.90) conditions. A significant interaction was also found between pressure condition and treatment as they affect performance. Participants in the dual-task treatment suffered decreases in performance when shifting from low- to high-pressure situations, whereas participants in the self-consciousness treatment group increased performance. The single-task treatment had the highest decreases in performance from low- to high-pressure situations. Significant interactions were also found between skill level and treatment condition such that low-skill players given self-consciousness and dual task training perceived their performance as higher than those in the single-task condition. However, high-skill players in the self-consciousness treatment perceived their performance as being lowest of all three treatments. Yet another analysis of the data showed a significant interaction between pressure and treatment on perceived arousal and pleasantness levels.

One limitation of this particular study is that it only examined the effects of high pressure situations in female soccer players. Although this study did account for differences in skill level, players of a different sport may have had dissimilar results. Also, there may be gender differences when it comes to choking during performance. The authors discussed the possible limitations of this study in the discussion section. There it says, "Further explanation of what constitutes a simple and complex task under pressure situations and of the ability to generalize to other task types is needed to enhance our understanding of the choking phenomenon." The researchers go on to say that there was no significant difference in skill level shown.

The results reported by the experimenters and the discussion section did seem to be consistent in their findings. Using the statistical analysis and results from the ANOVAs, the researchers explained what they found using previous theories on choking in high pressure situations. The results of this study supported the explicit monitoring theory to explain choking under pressure in proceduralized skills. On the other hand, distraction theories explain choking under pressure in cognitive skills. Both of these conclusions were supported by data in the results section of the paper.

This study not only has implications for athletes, but for everyday life as well. Athletes should be aware of the pressure they are experiencing in different situations and be able to regulate their arousal when necessary. If an athlete is facing a difficult task under high pressure conditions, they should consider undergoing self-consciousness training to help increase their performance. Similarly, if a student is studying for an extremely difficult exam that will determine whether they pass or fail a course, they should use self-consciousness training to help them obtain the best grade possible. For simple tasks, both athletes and students should realize that being under an increased amount of pressure can result in lower performance. Therefore, when completing



Download as:   txt (13.9 Kb)   pdf (155.1 Kb)   docx (13.7 Kb)  
Continue for 8 more pages »
Only available on OtherPapers.com
Citation Generator

(2012, 03). Choking in Sports. OtherPapers.com. Retrieved 03, 2012, from https://www.otherpapers.com/essay/Choking-in-Sports/25441.html

"Choking in Sports" OtherPapers.com. 03 2012. 2012. 03 2012 <https://www.otherpapers.com/essay/Choking-in-Sports/25441.html>.

"Choking in Sports." OtherPapers.com. OtherPapers.com, 03 2012. Web. 03 2012. <https://www.otherpapers.com/essay/Choking-in-Sports/25441.html>.

"Choking in Sports." OtherPapers.com. 03, 2012. Accessed 03, 2012. https://www.otherpapers.com/essay/Choking-in-Sports/25441.html.