Anxiety in Sports (Gold)
There’s a comment by JP in the comments section that is interesting:
JP said… For some experimental social psychology reading on when increased autonomic activation improves performance and when it causes choking under pressure check out research by Sian Beilock at the University of Chicago.
Briefly, when expert golfers worried about their performance, they attended to each part of their golf stroke. This increased attention broke down the proceduralization of the stroke, impairing performance. However, when the expert golfers were forced to perform a taxing secondary task (a cognitive vigilance task), the increase in arousal resulting from anxiety actually improved performance. Therefore, this work suggests that as long as athletes do not attend to the specific steps of their proceduralized skills (like a batting swing or pitching motion), anxiety/physiological arousal will help improve performance.
Here is a link to the journal article I reference above:http://hpl.uchicago.edu/Publications/papers_reprints/JEPA2002.pdf