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As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)
This week’s Jockology column is about performing under pressure — though it has surprising applications even to simple tasks like running:
When the game is on the line, should I take my time with the ball or just get it over with?
When you’re lining up a crucial putt, the last thing you want to hear is an impatient jerk behind you yelling, “Hey buddy, could you hurry it up a bit?”
But new research suggests that jerk may be doing you a favour.
Psychologists and neuroscientists are finding that when we perform complex motor sequences that we’re very familiar with, concentrating too much on the details makes our performance worse. It’s what causes choking on the putting green or at the free-throw line – and it’s why a bit of a distraction can be a good thing. [read on…]