Choking: Why It Happens And How To Prevent It
A lot of it has to do with rational and emotional thinking. These are the black and white divide between how we can approach different situations. When you are emotional your feelings take the lead but when you’re rational your mind takes over. If in a latter state of mind, you’re able to decide what you want to do and have control; you’re thinking things through and involved in the process, instead of it just happening.
Being emotional is the opposite, and it’s in this state that underachievement is more likely to occur. For example, feeling that the game isn’t going well will emphasise that emotion and have a snowball effect, impacting performance.
As humans, we need to feel in control to perform well, and we can become traumatised by situations where we have lost that control. So what can be done to avoid choking? The answer isn’t straight forward, but it’s all about preparation, for instance, working with negative thoughts prior to a match and not during. You can achieve this by practicing under stressful situations to get used to the feeling, build in pre-performance routines in practice and focus externally instead of internally.