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Mark Otten

Choking research in sport has suggested that an athlete's tendency to choke, versus give a better than usual (i.e., “clutch”) performance depends on his or her personality, as well as on situational influences, such as a reliance on explicit (versus implicit) knowledge when pressured. The current study integrated these hypotheses and tested a structural equation model (SEM) to predict sport performance under pressure. Two hundred and one participants attempted two sets of 15 basketball free throws, and were videotaped during their second set of shots as a manipulation of pressure. Results of the model suggest that “reinvesting” attention in the task leads to greater anxiety (cognitive and somatic), which then predicts a higher level of self-focus; self-focus, then, did not lead to improved performance under pressure, whereas feelings of self-reported “perceived control” did help performance. Implications for measurement of these constructs, and their relationships with performance, are discussed.

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Denise M. Hill, Nic Matthews, and Ruth Senior

This study used qualitative methods to explore the stressors, appraisal mechanism, emotional response, and effective/ineffective coping strategies experienced by elite rugby union referees during pressurized performances. Participants included seven male rugby union referees from the United Kingdom (Mage = 27.85, SD = 4.56) who had been officiating as full-time professionals for between 1 and 16 years (M = 4.85, SD = 5.42). Data revealed that the referees encountered a number of stressors, which were appraised initially as a ‘threat’, and elicited negatively-toned emotions. The referees were able to maintain performance standards under pressure by adopting proactive, problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies which managed effectively the stressors and their emotions. However, the use of avoidance-coping, reactive control, and informal impression management were perceived as ineffective coping strategies, and associated with poor performance and choking. Recommendations are offered to inform the psychological skills training of rugby union referees.

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Aodhagán Conlon, Rachel Arnold, Ezio Preatoni, and Lee J. Moore

more severe the consequences of failure, the higher the psychological pressure ( Baumeister & Showers, 1986 ). In high-pressure environments such as sport, stress can cause some individuals to excel (e.g., clutch performance; Otten, 2009 ), but it can overwhelm others, reducing performance well below

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Philip D. Imholte, Jedediah E. Blanton, and Michelle M. McAlarnen

identified Nate’s ability to perform in important or “clutch” in-game moments and distinguished his clutch moments as different from simply being a “great” player. Specifically, Nate’s talent and skill fulfilled expectations others had for him to be a great player, but his clutch performances fulfilled

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Jolan Kegelaers, Janneke Wikkerink, and Raôul R.D. Oudejans

: Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport . Journal of Sports Sciences, 35 ( 23 ), 2272 – 2280 . PubMed ID: 27981877 10.1080/02640414.2016.1265661 Taber , K. S. ( 2018 ). The use of Cronbach’s Alpha when developing and