#1 Cause of Choking in Sports

One of the worst feelings every athlete has experienced at least once in their life is choking. It's that moment when the athlete feels a sudden, unpleasant, overwhelming sensation, where their body and mind almost gets taken over by a performance virus. This virus, if you will, debilitates the athlete's performance and ultimately leads to a loss that should've never occurred. In my work at SPMI, I am fortunate to reach out and help athlete's overcome this disastrous feeling time and time again. I want to share a little about why it occurs and some ways to help combat the symptoms.

Although, there are many contributors to choking, the number 1 cause of choking I see among athletes is over-thinking. In psychology over-thinking is often referred to as cognitive anxiety. Cognitive anxiety by definition involves the specific thought processes that occur during anxiety, These anxious thought processes also manifest anxious emotional states such as concern or worry.  Below are a few of the most common factors that lead to choking.

  • Expectations
  • Fears
  • Parental Pressure
  • Focusing on the "uncontrollables"
  • Focusing on too much coaching feedback at one time. 

Fortunately, there are many effective approaches at helping athletes overcome cognitive anxiety and choking. Below are a few essential mental toughness skills that athletes need to develop to eliminate choking.

  • Improving Confidence
  • Increasing Positivity
  • Quieting The Mind
  • Structured Mental Routines Customized to the athletes needs

To learn more or get started on professionally training your mental game contact SPMI for more information. At SPMI, athletes learn, develop, and apply long lasting techniques to help them perform to their full potential athletically, academically, and in life.