Choking Under Pressure in Team Sports

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The article provides a phenomenological study of choking under pressure in team sports. Athletes are faced with different challenges in their career that has attracted in-depth scholarly research. Internal and external factors effectively define the success or failure of an athlete before, during, and after participation. The expectations, important games, among other antecedents   put significant pressure on sportsperson that result into chocking. According to the article, chocking under pressure is a common experience among athletes. Participation in sports competition as an individual and in a team yield different result in as far as vulnerability to chocking is concerned (Hill, & Shaw, 2013, p.103).

In this article, Chocking is portrayed as a function of various perceived antecedents. The mechanisms listed as the cause of chocking can be mitigated through such moderators such as team cohesion, among others. The consequences of chocking are vividly explained in the article and ranges from short to long term on the individual athlete. While previous research on chocking has focused more on athletes performing in individual sports, there is information gap as far as team sport is concerned. The article therefore undertakes a systematic research study to provide qualitative evidence on the topic from a team participation perspective.

The methods of the research are based on selected participants that previously experienced chocking under pressure in the course of the game. However, considering the unique nature of such a sporting experience and scanty literature pertaining to it, the author resorted to phenomenological research study. The eight participants form the sample and are evidently representative of the targeted population. Data collection through an interview with selected participants provided reliable information to build on the qualitative approach towards the cause-effect relationship in chocking under pressure (Hill, & Shaw, 2013, p.104). Research procedure met phenomenological research standards as the interviewees were encouraged to provide a vivid description of their chocking experience. The result reflected a systematic presentation of antecedents, mechanisms, moderators and consequences that characterize chocking in sports. Transcripts from the interviewees were organized into units that were then structured against global themes during the analysis.

The results indicated that most athletes encountered chocking episodes mostly as a result of important games and completion. While many other antecedents are highlighted in the research study, the two are more prevalent. Anxiety is an overriding mechanism that dominated the participants’ interview outcomes. Since the study was focused on team sport, team cohesion registered the highest participant count to emphasize the significance of a socially supportive team manager (Hill, & Shaw, 2013, p.105). In terms of consequences, drop in performance was noted as the greatest threat that athletes face as a result of chocking. A motivational climate was noted as key in mitigating chocking among athletes.

In a team sport, the perceived competitiveness of rival was a critical antecedent that yielded chocking. In fact, at individual level, the player takes responsibility for actions that may have put the team ahead such as remaining with only goal keeper to score. In essence, the article established that antecedents of chocking under pressure were almost similar in individual and team sports (Hill, & Shaw, 2013, p.108). However, under team sport, the leader ought to encourage spirit of solidarity, cohesive interaction, tolerance and motivation to reduce chocking. On the side of individual sports, the participant needs to develop stronger intrapersonal ability to overcome antecedents.

In conclusion, the research establishes that in a team setting, players must encourage each other, emphasize optimal performance and intense practice to shed potential fear of chocking under pressure. The research is informative, reliable, and qualitative hence a useful in resource for future studies on the topic of chocking under pressure.


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