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Models of Choking: A Study of Sport performance Under Pressure.

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Choking, as defined in this article, refers to “a critical deterioration in skill execution leading to substandard performance that is caused by an elevation in anxiety levels under perceived pressure at a time when successful outcome is normally attainable by the athlete”. A point to take note of is that to date, researchers have not been able to entirely agree on an operational definition of ‘choking’. This can be seen where Mesagno, Marchant, and Morris (2009) defined choking as “the critical deterioration in the execution of habitual processes that results from an increase in anxiety under perceived pressure”. Although there are many definitions being proposed, what is critical is that the definitions all point in the same direction where a player who is experiencing choking is unsuccessful when he is typically supposed to be successful and this also occurs when the final result of the competition has yet to be determined.

2 models of choking were mentioned in this article:

i. Self-Focus Model

ii. Distraction Model

The self-focus model which was proposed by Baumeister (1984) stated that an increase in self-awareness and anxiety on being able to perform correctly results in choking. Further research mentioned in the article states that as an athlete increases his desire and motivation to perform well, he tends to be more conscious and self-aware of his own behaviours. This can be validated where Jackson et al. (2006) stated that “explicit monitoring may have a detrimental effect on performance when performers attempt to both consciously monitor and control movements”.

In the distraction model, the performance of an athlete decreases under pressure as he shifts his attention from cues which are crucial to his task to irrel...

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