The consequences of choking in sport: a constructive or destructive experience?

Denise Hill, Matthew Cheesbrough, Paul Gorczynski, Nic Matthews

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Through an empirical phenomenological methodology, the study examined the short- and long-term consequences of choking in sport. Eleven intermediate golfers (10 males, 1 female, aged 23-50 years; M = 34.6; SD = 8.9) with handicaps between 6 and 18 (M = 10.91; SD = 3.98), completed phenomenological interviews which explored the perceived psychological impact of their choking episode(s). While the reported short-term consequences were negative (i.e., collapse in performance standards, limited attention/emotional control and negative affect), most participants considered the long-term impact of choking was constructive, for it encouraged adversity-related growth. However, a small number of golfers identified the long-term consequences were highly destructive, including a loss of self-confidence, withdrawal from the sport, and in one case, lowered self-worth. The findings of the study extend the choking literature by informing strategies that can be used to encourage constructive, rather than destructive consequences from any choking episode that athletes may experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


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