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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological analysis of the experience of an unexpected athletic performance failure
by Bankston-Regner, Alexis J., Psy.D., John F. Kennedy University, 2011, 83; 3598520
Abstract (Summary)

The goal of this study was to gather qualitative information on the effects of unexpected performance failure on elite Division One collegiate athletes based on the athlete experiencing a recent "performance choking experience". The phenomenon of the unexpected performance failure in sports was explored using descriptive phenomenology (Giorgi, 2003) to extract the deeper meaning behind mental effects athletes may suffer during their so called "choking" experience. Previous research has shown that athletes who may suffer an incident or perceived physical pain through a sport encounter may have elements of trauma which creates the anxiety and underperformance for the athlete. Therefore, the purpose behind this study was to examine the "why and what" from the athletes perspective is causing their underperformance "choking" experience. Six undergraduate Division One collegiate elite student athletes were selected for this study.

The participants' ages ranged from 18-21, of which three were male and three were female, who all identified themselves as African American ethnicity. The sports involved were contact and non-contact sports of swimming, basketball, water polo, and baseball.

The athletes were interviewed and the analysis of these interviews revealed essential components: 1) mental and physical injury/trauma, 2) performance anxiety, 3) disturbed focus/internal struggle. A relationship was investigated into how the physical injury experience created the experience and process of choking. Findings revealed a relationship with the athletes' injury with not just the outcome of choking but the process athletes struggled with when an unexpected performance failure occurs. Additional research needs be investigated on how to help athletes deal with the choking experience more efficiently and possible tools to help detect any acute or long lasting trauma disorders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rhodius, Alison
Commitee: Estrada, Alejandrina
School: John F. Kennedy University
Department: Graduate and Professional Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sports Management, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Athletes, Athletic performances, Choking, Performance failure, Phenomenology
Publication Number: 3598520
ISBN: 978-1-303-47177-3
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