A Qualitative Investigation of Choking and Clutch Performance under Pressure in Team Sports (Boyce, 2021)

Academic Research

This study investigated the subjective experiences of performance under pressure in team sports. Support was found for both self-focus and distraction theories as the underlying psychological processes behind choking under pressure. The interviews revealed that a positive appraisal of anxiety as well as feelings of control were key for producing clutch performances. Evidence of both the positive and negative effects of emotional contagion during choking and clutch performances was uncovered. The future consequences of choking and clutch performance were found to positively affect confidence, motivation to train and ability to cope with pressurised situations. The study highlights the need to create approach-mastery training environments for team athletes to alleviate choking and enhance performance under pressure.