Paradoxical performance can be described simply as a sudden decrease in a top athlete’s performance despite the athlete’s having striven for superior performance, such as the lost-skill syndrome in trampolining or “the yips” in golf. There is a growing amount of research on these phenomena, which resemble movement disorders. What appears to be missing, however, is a clear phenomenology of the affected movement characteristics leading to a classification of the underlying cause. This understanding may enable specific diagnostic methods and appropriate interventions. We first review the different phenomena, providing an overview of their characteristics and their occurrence in sports and describing the affected sports and movements. We then analyze explanations for the yips, the most prominent phenomenon, and review the methodological approaches for diagnosing and treating it. Finally, we present and elaborate an action theoretical approach for diagnosing paradoxical performance and applying appropriate interventions.
Babett H. Lobinger, Martin K. Klämpfl and Eckart Altenmüller
Christopher Mesagno, Jack T. Harvey and Christopher M. Janelle
Whether self-presentation is involved in the choking process remains unknown. The purpose of the current study was to determine the role of self-presentation concerns on the frequency of choking within the context of a recently proposed self-presentation model. Experienced field hockey players (N = 45) were randomly assigned to one of five groups (i.e., performance-contingent monetary incentive, video camera placebo, video camera self-presentation, audience, or combined pressure), before taking penalty strokes in low- and high-pressure phases. Results indicated that groups exposed to self-presentation manipulations experienced choking, whereas those receiving motivational pressure treatments decreased anxiety and increased performance under pressure. Furthermore, cognitive state anxiety mediated the relationship between the self-presentation group and performance. These findings provide quantitative support for the proposed self-presentation model of choking, while also holding implications for anxiety manipulations in future sport psychology research.
Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming
This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.
Pathology, or Modern Day Competitive Sport? Mark T. Suffolk * 12 2014 8 4 339 356 10.1123/jcsp.2014-0044 We Are Able, We Intend, We Act—But We Do Not Succeed: A Theoretical Framework for a Better Understanding of Paradoxical Performance in Sports Babett H. Lobinger * Martin K. Klämpfl * Eckart
Ebrahim Norouzi, Fatemeh Sadat Hosseini, Mohammad Vaezmosavi, Markus Gerber, Uwe Pühse and Serge Brand
attention networks . Brain and Cognition, 10, 8 – 13 . Baumeister , R.F. , & Showers , C.J. ( 1986 ). A review of paradoxical performance effects: Choking under pressure in sports and mental tests . European Journal of Social Psychology, 16 ( 4 ), 361 – 383 . 10.1002/ejsp.2420160405
Eesha J. Shah, Jia Yi Chow and Marcus J.C. Lee
, R.S. , & Showers , C. ( 1986 ). A review of paradoxical performance effects: Choking under pressure in sports and mental tests . European Journal of Social Psychology, 16 ( 4 ), 361 – 383 . doi:10.1002/ejsp.2420160405 10.1002/ejsp.2420160405 Behan , M. , & Wilson , M. ( 2008 ). State
Matthew Lamont and Sheranne Fairley
, manifesting through paradoxical performances of simultaneous athleticism and alcohol consumption coupled with boisterousness, were core values embedded within the Beer Mile. Acknowledging and Celebrating Beer Mile Performances In the months leading up to the Beer Mile, a thread on the group’s website was
Daniel M. Smith and Sarah E. Martiny
), 610 – 620 . PubMed ID: 6707866 doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.110 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1680 Baumeister , R.F. , & Showers , C.J. ( 1986 ). A review of paradoxical performance effects: Choking under pressure in sports and mental tests . European Journal of Social Psychology, 16 ( 4 ), 361 – 383
Denise M. Hill, Matthew Cheesbrough, Paul Gorczynski and Nic Matthews
. Journal of Sport Behavior, 36 , 233 – 242 . Bandura , A. ( 1982 ). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency . American Psychologist, 37 , 122 – 147 . doi:10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122 10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122 Baumeister , R.F. , & Showers , C.J. ( 1986 ). A review of paradoxical performance