Does a little anxiety during training actually help prevent “choking”?


The aim of the study was to examine whether training with mild levels of anxiety helps in maintaining performance under higher levels of anxiety.


Novices practiced dart throwing while they were hanging low on a climbing wall either with or without mild anxiety. After training, participants were tested under low, mild, and high anxiety (in the latter case high on the climbing wall).


Despite systematic increases in anxiety, heart rate, and perceived effort from low to mild to high anxiety the group that had trained with anxiety performed equally well on all three tests, while performance of the control group deteriorated with high anxiety.


It is concluded that practicing perceptual-motor tasks under mild levels of anxiety can also prevent choking when performing with higher levels of anxiety.

Source: “Training with mild anxiety may prevent choking under higher levels of anxiety” from Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Volume 11, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 44-50

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