Tags: choking | relaxation | stress | performing | Oz | Roizen

Relaxation Strategies Cut Odds of 'Choking' Under Pressure

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 08:37 AM

In October of 1997, the Cleveland Indians, two outs away from winning the World Series, watched pitcher Jose Mesa blow a 2-1 lead; the Marlins won the title. Greg Norman took a six-stroke lead into the final day of the 1996 Masters, shot 78 and lost by five. Even LeBron James botched both his last playoff games as a Cavalier and his first final series with the Heat. Collapses like these leave faithful fans wondering, "What just happened?"

Whether you're a pro athlete, playing in an intramural softball game, on a job interview or taking the SAT, research suggests that stress-caused brain confusion can trigger what's commonly called choking.

For tasks that require working memory (taking a test, delivering a talk), stress can create a biochemical roadblock, making it difficult to retrieve info that's in your mind, and dulling your enjoyment of the challenge. For tasks that use motor skills, like batting or shooting hoops, nervousness can make you overthink what you need to do.

So, if you're having trouble putting your best foot forward, the smart solution is to relax and leave your skills on autopilot. In athletics, try whistling or singing before you attempt that putt or hit that ball. If you don't overthink the situation, you regain coordination and timing.

On the field or for mental challenges, psychologists suggest deep breathing to slow your heart rate, steady your hand and clear your mind of worry, and visualization of someone you love (really!).

© King Features Syndicate

 
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In October of 1997, the Cleveland Indians, two outs away from winning the World Series, watched pitcher Jose Mesa blow a 2-1 lead; the Marlins won the title. Greg Norman took a six-stroke lead into the final day of the 1996 Masters, shot 78 and lost by five. Even LeBron...
choking, relaxation, stress, performing, Oz, Roizen
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2014-37-12
Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 08:37 AM
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