Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Athletes' fear of failure likely to lead to 'choke,' study shows

Date:
May 7, 2014
Source:
Coventry University
Summary:
Anxiety about a competitive situation makes even the most physically active of us more likely to slip-up -- and backs up 'catastrophe theory,' research shows. "Our research indicates that heightened cognitive anxiety, brought on by the competitive scenario, really does affect performance abilities in physically active people -- and the same is likely to apply even for trained athletes," a researcher said.

A new study by sports scientists at Coventry University and Staffordshire University shows that anxiety about a competitive situation makes even the most physically active of us more likely to slip-up.

Related Articles


The research, which is set to be presented at the British Psychological Society's flagship annual conference this week, tested the anticipation and coordination abilities of 18 active and healthy young adults during two sets of identical physical tests -- one ostensibly a practice, the other a competition.

In the 'competitive' trials, researchers found that the participants' coincidence anticipation timing (CAT) -- or their ability to anticipate and coordinate actions akin to catching a ball or striking a moving object -- was significantly worse than in the practice scenarios.

At the same time, participants' mental (cognitive) anxiety levels were found to be substantially higher during the competitive trials than they were in practice, a likely result of worrying about their performance.

The detrimental effect on anticipation timing was at its most acute during the more physically intensive parts of the competitive trials, but -- significantly -- was not evident during the practice trials, indicating that cognitive anxiety is a decisive factor in performance failure.

The findings support the predictions of 'catastrophe theory' -- a theory popular amongst sports coaches and psychologists -- which posits that sporting performance will be adversely affected by increased stress and anxiety.

Dr Michael Duncan, lead author of the study and associate head of the Department of Applied Sciences and Health at Coventry University, said:

"Anxiety in a competitive situation, whether sporting or otherwise, is something everyone can relate to. We're all familiar with what we call 'somatic' anxiety, for example butterflies in the tummy which is the body's response to tension, but this study is chiefly concerned with the effects of cognitive anxieties such as worry or fear of failure.

"Our research indicates that heightened cognitive anxiety, brought on by the competitive scenario, really does affect performance abilities in physically active people -- and the same is likely to apply even for trained athletes.

"Where this study differs from anything in the past is that we measured these responses 'in-event' rather than after performance, so we're generating a much more accurate picture of whether catastrophe theory has any value. The results strongly support the theory, which should make for interesting reading for sports professionals and psychologists around the world."

Dr Duncan et al will be presenting the full findings from their research during the British Psychological Society's annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, May 7th-9th 2014.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Coventry University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Coventry University. "Athletes' fear of failure likely to lead to 'choke,' study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507212249.htm>.
Coventry University. (2014, May 7). Athletes' fear of failure likely to lead to 'choke,' study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507212249.htm
Coventry University. "Athletes' fear of failure likely to lead to 'choke,' study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507212249.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins