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A player or athlete whose performance suddenly deteriorates at a critical point in performance or competition, and whose confidence decreases, so that the contest is not ‘closed out’ when the player is on the point of victory. The golfer with the critical championship putt and the tennis player on match point can exhibit such losses of form and confidence, and the onset of uncontrollable nerves, and become perceived as chokers. The term derives from the meaning of the word ‘choke’, to suffocate, or to become blocked. Psychologists have explored the phenomenon in both team sports and individual sports, but no definitive explanation has been established as to why one individual rather than another becomes a choker, or what set of circumstances produces the anxiety and nerves that constitute choking.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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