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The Science Behind The Big Choke

0 - Published October 13, 2009 by in High School, The Life, Training

Here is an interesting study which supports the theory that just like athletes can get in “the zone”, it’s also possible to shut down as a primal human response to stress.  Between this and other sports problems (ever heard of a golfer getting the yips?) it’s amazing how we can affect our ability to succeeded just by being in our own heads.

Jessica Witt, assistant professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University in Indiana, found sportsmen who had been previously successful were more likely to see the goal as wider because their perception had been altered by their success.

England football players may miss penalties because they are suffering from “self regulatory breakdown”, claim scientists


To work out why some players miss, researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences studied the time it took them to complete a kick.

They found those who started their run up less than two milliseconds after the referees’s whistle scored only around 57 per cent of the time.

Psychologists reveal why England miss penalties [Telegraph.co.uk]

There has to be a way to translate this European/ soccer centric study to American sports like football and lacrosse.

In an interesting twist, here is what they found out after testing American football kickers trying to make an extra point:

“People trying to kick field goals will see a much smaller goal after unsuccessful attempts. But those who kicked better judged the goalposts to be farther apart and the crossbar lower to the ground.

England footballers miss penalties as they see the goal as smaller than their rivals [Telegraph.co.uk]

Being in complete control of your mental game might just give you an edge in OT or when trying to pick that corner.  Just imagine that the open off-stick corner slot is extra wide open and it might actually help you put up more points this season.

We’re talking Professor X type stuff. See the ball. Be the ball.

Professor X

England football players may miss penalties because they are suffering from “self regulatory breakdown”, claim scientists.

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