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Student Research Guide: Winter 2022 - Performing Under Pressure: Home

By Rob Vandegrift

Introduction to the Topic

Athletes are always looking for ways to maximize and maintain their ability to perform at the highest level and while under pressure. In order to maximize and maintain a certain performance level, athletes must have the right psychological attributes to develop and improve their capabilities, gain knowledge from instruction, and keep physiological arousal reasonable so that it does not reduce motor functions. Athletes that take initiative in their preparation, goal-setting, developing coping methods like self-talk, self-confidence, to help cope with stress and anxiety from high-pressure situations, being capable of having a working memory, and having resilience during the competition will ultimately help ensure performance while under pressure and the highest level. Performance is enhanced when athletes are able to use their psychological skills to not think and let situations unfold and can adjust in competitive situations when they can promote positive thoughts into positive actions. Athletes that are able to stay in the moment and not let physical or emotional distractions affect their performance are the athletes that ultimately find themselves succeeding in every aspect of their game. Sports are relentless and cruel and can drive athletes away from the game they fell in love with as kids, to prevent the game from preventing success, athletes need to prepare accordingly. Athletes can ensure peak performance while under pressure by having ways to prepare for and cope with stress.

Keywords for searching the topic

Bullet list of keywords and phrases that you recommend others use to research the topic

  • Anxiety
  • Athletes
  • Pressure
  • Attention
  • Performance 
  • "Under Pressure"
  • Performing 
  • Stress

Best Databases/Search Engines

Here are my favorite databases or search engines that I used during my research. I really enjoyed using Academic Search Complete I feel like I found the best sources there!

Start Your Research Here

Here are a couple of my top resources that really helped me to find the right information for my paper and this guide. For some reason, the hyperlinks won't work for some of them but if you want to use those sources enter the title of the article in Academic Search Complete and you'll find what you need

Christensen, D. S., & Smith, R. E. (2018).  Leveling the playing field: can psychological coping resources reduce the influence of physical and technical skills on athletic performance? Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 31(6), 626–638. 

  • This article explains that having different coping methods to deal with anxiety and stress can help the overall performance of an athlete. This also happens with nonathletes and students. Having coping methods can help ensure performance at the best the student-athletes or nonathletes can perform.

Espada, M., & Fradejas, E. (2019). Evaluation of Anxiety Control in School-Age Sports. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering & Education (IJCRSEE), 7(3), 27–35. 

  • This article explains the effects of anxiety on athletes' performance. If an athlete is anxious to perform they might have already lost the battle ahead. I will be using this article in my essay by talking about the effects of anxiety on athletes. 

Jingchao Hu, & Li Wang. (2021). Studying the Varying Impact of Working Memory, Attention and Pressure on Sports Performance in Presence of Physical Fitness: An Empirical Study. 30(1), 144–161. 

  • This article explains the importance of having a working memory does for athletes. If an athlete is able to direct their attention and memory towards the task at hand that can lead to high levels of success. I am going to use this in my essay by talking about the importance of having the right mindset during competition.

Ong, N. T. T., Bowcock, A., & Hodges, N. J. (2010). Manipulations to the Timing and Type of Instructions to Examine Motor Kill Performance Under Pressure. Frontiers in Psychology, 1, 196. 

  • This article gives me information about how during high-pressure situations athletes can crumble and choke and not perform to the level they are expected to. This is because athletes go to a more step-by-step thought process instead of trusting the practice they have done for their sports and perform more automatically and smoothly. I will use this information when I talk about the effects on performance while under pressure.

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