Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cracking Under Pressure

This is an interesting article I found on responding to pressure. The take away is that most times when people "Choke" it is not due to distraction or lack of skill. Rather "choking" is due to a lack of skill in dealing with the stress of competition. The key is competing constantly, not just jiu-jitsu, but in anything and as often as possible. You need to force yourself to learn how to deal with stress.

From the following link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200302/cracking-under-pressure

Cracking Under Pressure

When mastered tasks fall apart under pressure, don't blame distraction. It's really a failure to cope.

By Elena Donovan, published on May 01, 2003 - last reviewed on November 12, 2008

Commentators profess surprise when figure-skating champions like Michelle Kwan fumble.

Psychologists, for their part, might point to "choking"—failing to execute previously mastered tasks—to describe the tumbles taken by many athletes.Researchers at Michigan State University believe they have a handle on choking: It is not caused by distraction, as some had surmised, but by an inability to handle stress.

Thomas Carr, Ph.D., a professor of psychology, and doctoral student Sian Beilock offered two groups of golfers money if they could improve their putt. They upped the ante by convincing subjects that everything hinged on performance alone (they were paired with a partner who had ostensibly met the target score). One group was exposed to distractions during practice, and this group did not choke under pressure.

But the golfers who rehearsed without distractions choked during the evaluation.The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, demonstrate that "a skill performed 1,000 times perfectly can fall apart if an individual is not accustomed to highly stressful situations," according to Beilock. So for those coveting medals, Beilock recommends simulating stressful situations during practice and repeating a key word or song as a distraction during the performance itself.

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