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Target Panic research project results

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  • Target Panic research project results

    Here is the abstract for my thesis.

    Choking is a phenomenon in sports and other physical activities where an individual fails to perform to the best of their abilities whilst under pressure. One theory that has attempted to describe the various factors that may lead to choking is that of reinvestment, a personality dimension described by Masters, Polman, and Hammond (1993) where a person under stress attends to actions that they have previously practiced enough to perform automatically, and in doing so decreases their performance level. The colloquial name for choking behaviour in archery is target panic. There is currently no formal academic literature that directly addresses the nature of target panic in archery. The participants were 99 adult archers (83 male [age M = 45.20, SD = 16.08], 16 female [age M = 40.94, SD = 11.76]) who had at least one score registered with Archery Australia. This study used registered event scores as an objective measure of archery performance to avoid the limitation of using an abstract laboratory-based measure. It used the Movement Specific Reinvestment Scale (MSRS) and Decision Specific Reinvestment Scale (DSRS) in an online survey to measure different facets of reinvestment. Data on archer’s experience of target panic was also collected. The previous associations between the MSRS and DSRS were supported by this study. Significant relationships were detected between the decision reinvestment subscale of the DSRS and target panic as well as there being a target panic moderated interaction between score and the conscious motor processing subscale of the MSRS. This study provides evidence for the theory of reinvestment in general and its application to archery in particular. It represents the first scientific attempt to examine target panic based on knowledge gained from choking studies in other sports and provides a foundation for future research on the psychology of archery.

    (For those who don't like academic writing, what I found was that target panic seems to link with a tendency to overthink things. There is also a slightly more complicated relationship between target panic and how people think about their movements).

    Interesting side note. I spent some time classifying the responses that people listed about how they deal with target panic. Normally coping strategies in sport can be broken down into approach or avoidance coping (neither strategy is necessarily wrong, but they're usually appropriate under different situations). All the strategies listed were approach strategies. I did get a comment from an elite archer who said they would not participate in the survey because talking about target panic is how you get it. Anecdotally this suggests that avoidance based coping does occur but was not captured by this study.
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