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View Full Version : Choking versus panicking


Yael Grauer
03-27-2007, 12:30 PM
http://www.gladwell.com/2000/2000_08_21_a_choking.htm

Robb Wolf
03-27-2007, 01:51 PM
Gladwell is a stud. Always good stuff.

Derek Simonds
03-27-2007, 02:00 PM
That was an amazing article. I have read about some of the individual research projects but never anything where they put it all together as well as this author did.

I have spent a fair amount of time around gamblers and I think there is a significant subset of wealthy gamblers that choke on a constant basis. I also believe that the stories they tell in regards to choking sometimes are told with more excitement than when they win.

I also have a very good friend who is an accomplished diver and told me a story very similar to the one in the article. He was on a nitrox dive in about 120 foot of water and he was having a problem with his spare regulator. Apparently it was slowly bubbling air. His brother was with him on the dive and his brother was looking at the regulator when it start free flowing. He starts to freak and his brother tries to get him to calm down. No luck. He ends up freaking out so bad that he pulls the emergency inflate on his BC and shoots straight for the surface like a sub launched missile. Total panic! Luckily for him he didn't have any adverse physical reactions to breaching the surface like a whale.

When I look at my life the only consistent choking I do is on the freaking golf course. I can go out on the front 9 and shoot the lights out, make the turn realize how good I am doing and absolutely stink up the course on the back. Or I can be having a great round and a client will want to start betting, yep the wheels come off. I probably need to get counseling to get over it ;)

I will post some links to related studies later.

Chris Forbis
03-27-2007, 03:15 PM
Awesome story.

I don't find myself (outright) choking or panicking too often, but the story about the white kids jumping less high in front of a black instructor hit home a little bit. Some times when I play basketball against stiff, athletic competition (which often means black) I will find myself over-thinking a little and not just playing. Maybe wanting to show that this gangly white boy can play a bit. I never choke on a Norman/Novotna/Ankiel/Knoblauch level, but I definitely lose the edge one gets when they're running on pure instinct. In fact, now that I think about this, this happens to some degree anytime I'm playing against people I haven't played before. I worry too much about showing I belong I guess. A little bit of the way into the game, it is usually gone... but at the start I am definitely a bit tentative.

Chuck Kechter
03-28-2007, 09:19 AM
Excellent article!

Mike ODonnell
03-28-2007, 10:29 AM
Just proves that without mastery of the mind...the body is useless....

Reminds me of the Yanks-Red Sox in 2004..Sox down 0-3 in the series...nothing to lose...and doing shots of Tequilla....Yanks just thought of one thing "don't lose"....and that of course didn't turn out so well. Panic set in....when they had no reason to panic. Failure to step back and assess the whole situation will always lead to a downward spiral....whether panic or choking. It's all about how we see current events....is someone judging me?...thinking there is no way I can do it?....focusing on not making a shot...vs just relaxing and knowing you can do it? Always a constant struggle....and why the best athletes are in the "zone" and not worried about anything else....

Scott Kustes
03-28-2007, 11:43 AM
Love Gladwell's stuff. Another excellent article.