Is choking under pressure a consequence of skill-focus or increased distractibility? Results from a tennis serve task

Englert, Christoph; Oudejans, Raôul R.D. (2014). Is choking under pressure a consequence of skill-focus or increased distractibility? Results from a tennis serve task. Psychology, 5(9), pp. 1035-1043. Scientific Research 10.4236/psych.2014.59116

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It has been repeatedly demonstrated that athletes often choke in high pressure situations because anxiety can affect attention regulation and in turn performance. There are two competing theoretical approaches to explain the negative anxiety-performance relationship. According to skillfocus theories, anxious athletes’ attention is directed at how to execute the sport-specific movements which interrupts execution of already automatized movements in expert performers. According to distraction theories, anxious athletes are distractible and focus less on the relevant stimuli. We tested these competing assumptions in a between-subject design, as semi-professional tennis players were either assigned to an anxiety group (n = 25) or a neutral group (n = 28), and performed a series of second tennis serves into predefined target areas. As expected, anxiety was negatively related to serve accuracy. However, mediation analyses with the bootstrapping method revealed that this relationship was fully mediated by self-reported distraction and not by skill-focus.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Educational Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education

UniBE Contributor:

Englert, Christoph

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education

ISSN:

2152-7180

Publisher:

Scientific Research

Language:

English

Submitter:

Christoph Englert

Date Deposited:

13 May 2015 12:12

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2018 11:36

Publisher DOI:

10.4236/psych.2014.59116

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Choking, Distraction, Skill-Focus, Self-Focus, Sport

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.68177

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/68177

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