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Abstract

Tennis players who focus on their skill execution and self-regulation are likely to improve in training. On the other hand, focusing on performance too much (reinvestment) can result in “paralysis by analysis” and performance decrements. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between reinvestment, self-regulation, and perceived choking under pressure among 180 collegiate male and female tennis players from NCAA Division I in the United States (78 players), and from League I in Japan (102 players ). Results indicated that a focus on skill execution via self-regulation was positively associated with conscious motor processing and negatively associated with perceived choking. This means that tennis players who consciously control their movement are less likely to perceive themselves as choking under pressure.
11
24th Year, Issue 68, April 2016
INTRODUCTION
Competitive tennis requires excellent tness and mental focus for
optimal performance. Research has shown, however, that even
skilled performers sometimes choke under pressure (Beilock, 2010).
Reinvestment Theory (Masters & Maxwell, 2008) suggests that
athletes who focus on the mechanical aspects of motor performance
are more likely to experience “paralysis by analysis,” or choking
under pressure, than are other athletes. Although reinvestment is
associated with choking in competition, Self-Regulation Theory
(Zimmerman, 2008) suggests that focusing on technical aspects
of motor performance is related to skill improvement in training.
Thus, there is an apparent paradox. Tennis players who reinvest and
focus on their movement during competition are prone to choke, but
tennis players who self-regulate and focus on mechanical details
during training modify and improve their strokes. Understanding the
relationships among reinvestment, self-regulation, and choking of
high-level tennis players can help coaches balance the demands of
skill development and performance in pressure situations. Therefore,
the purpose of this research was to examine the relationships among
reinvestment, self-regulation, and perceived choking behavior of
competitive tennis players from different countries.
METHOD
Participants
Participants were 180 intercollegiate tennis players (98 men and 82
women) from NCAA Division I in the United States (78 players) and
from League I in Japan (102 players).
Procedure
All tennis players gave informed consent and completed paper
versions of validated psychological questionnaires regarding
awareness of movement (reinvestment) and planning, monitoring,
effort, self-efcacy, evaluation, and reection self-regulation (Hong
& O’Neil Jr., 2001; Howard et al., 2000; Masters, Eves, & Maxwell,
2005; Peltier et al., 2006). Participants also answered the question,
“What is your tendency to choke under pressure in tennis?”
RESULTS
The purpose of the present study was to examine relations among
reinvestment, self-regulation, and perceived choking under
pressure. Cross-cultural comparisons between tennis players from
the United States and Japan were also made. Results indicated that
for tennis players, paying attention to movements and consciously
controlling them (conscious motor processing) was positively
correlated with key self-regulation skills and outcomes such as
Takehiro Iwatsuki (JAP), Judy L. Van Raalte (USA), Britton W. Brewer (USA),
Albert Petitpas (USA) and Masanori Takahashi (JAP)
ITF Coaching and Sport Science Review 2016; 68 (24): 11 - 12
ABSTRACT
Tennis players who focus on their skill execution and self-regulation are likely to improve in training. On the other hand, focusing
on performance too much (reinvestment) can result in “paralysis by analysis” and performance decrements. The purpose of this
study was to examine the relationships between reinvestment, self-regulation, and perceived choking under pressure among
180 collegiate male and female tennis players from NCAA Division I in the United States (78 players), and from League I in Japan
(102 players ). Results indicated that a focus on skill execution via self-regulation was positively associated with conscious
motor processing and negatively associated with perceived choking. This means that tennis players who consciously control
their movement are less likely to perceive themselves as choking under pressure.
Key words: psychology, reinvestment, self-focus, cross-cultural comparison Article received: 27 August 2015
Corresponding author: takehiro.iwatsuki@unlv.edu Article accepted: 21 January 2016
Psychological factors related to choking under
pressure
planning, monitoring, effort, self-efcacy, evaluation, and reection,
and was unrelated to choking under pressure. It should be noted,
however, that conscious motor processing was not correlated with
choking under pressure. Thus, reinvesting by consciously controlling
movement may be valuable for competitive tennis players.
With regard to monitoring style of movement (for example, thinking
about how you are going to hit a forehand or thinking about what
other people think about you while hitting a shot or moving toward a
ball on the court), focusing on style of movement was associated with
an increase in the perceived likelihood of choking under pressure.
Tennis players who focus on how others evaluate their play are more
likely to perceive themselves as choking under pressure.
Four self-regulation skills (planning, monitoring, effort, and self-
efcacy) were negatively related to perceived choking. This means
that athletes who perceived themselves as better at planning,
monitoring, effort, and self-efcacy were less likely to perceive
themselves as choking under pressure. For tennis coaches, focusing
on these particular skills may be useful, particularly when working
with players attempting to address choking-related issues.
Comparisons were made between college players from the United
States and from Japan in terms of reinvestment, self-regulation, and
perceieved choking. Predictions about differences between groups
on these variables were not made because it was unclear how the
various factors (self, national culture, tennis culture), reinvestment,
self-regulation, and perceived choking would be related to each
other. Results indicated that there was a signicant difference
between American and Japanese players. Relative to Japanese
tennis players, American players tended to report consciously
controlling their movements and engaging in self-regulation, and
12
24th Year, Issue 68, April 2016
less likely to choke under pressure. Consequently, tennis coaches
should consider national origin and/or cultural background when
working with their players.
Limitations of this study should be noted. The correlational design
of the research precluded determination of cause and effect. Further
experimental research is needed to nd out if self-regulation skills
cause changes in perceived and actual choking. The study included
a cultural comparison from two countries. Additional research can
help determine if the current ndings apply to tennis players from
other countries.
CONCLUSION
In conclusion, this research explored the relationships among
reinvestment, self-regulation, and perceived choking. The research
ndings indicate a tendency to consciously control movements
might be benecial to tennis players, as such conscious control
can lead to improved tennis strokes and is not related to perceived
choking under pressure. A tendency to consciously monitor style of
movement and consider how others perceive movements, however,
was associated with perception of choking under pressure. Helping
tennis players to focus on factors other than the opinions of their
opponents and spectators may be a valuable approach. In addition,
self-regulation skills (e.g., greater self-efcacy) were associated with
less perceived choking under pressure. Finally, cultural differences
between American and Japanese players were revealed in this study.
What Coaches or Athletes Should Know/Do
• Improving self-regulation skills, especially self-efcacy, may
reduce choking in tennis players
Consciously working to control movements can be useful in
developing stroke mechanics
Focusing on how others perceive one’s mechanics and form
(for example how others perceive one’s serve) may increase
perceived choking in tennis players
• Using an external focus (for example, Where you are going to
hit a ball) is a valuable skill (for a review, see Wulf, 2013)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research was supported by a grant from the International Tennis
Federation Coaching. The authors thank all players, coaches, and
universities/colleges in the U.S. and Japan for their enthusiastic
participation. We express our sincere appreciation to the Athletic
Counseling Research Team at Springeld College for help with
conceptualizing the ideas of this study.
REFERENCES
Beilock, S. (2010). Choke: What the secrets of the brain reveal about
getting it right when you have to. New York: Free Press.
Hong, E., & O’Neil Jr, H. (2001). Construct validation of a trait self-
regulation model. International Journal of Psychology, 36, 186-194.
Howard, B., McGee, S., Shia, R., & Hong, N. (2000). Metacognitive
self-regulation and problem-solving expanding the theory
base through factor analysis. Paper presented at the Annual
Meeting of the American Educational Research Association,
New Orleans, LA.
Masters, R., Eves, F., & Maxwell, J. (2005). Development of a
movement specic reinvestment scale. In T. Morris, P. Terry, S.
Gordon, S. Hanrahan, L. Ievleva, G. Kolt, & P. Tremayne (Eds.),
Proceedings of the ISSP 11th World Congress of Sport Psychology.
Sydney, Australia: International Society of Sport Psychology.
Masters, R., & Maxwell, J. (2008). The theory of reinvestment.
International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 160-
183.
Peltier, J., Hay, A., & Drago, W. (2006). Reecting on self-regulation:
Scale extension and a comparison of undergraduate business
students in the United Kingdom. Journal of Marketing Education,
28, 5-16.
Zimmerman, B. (2008). Investigating self-regulation and motivation:
Historical background, methodological developments, and
future prospects. American Education Research Journal, 45,
166-183.
Wulf, G. (2013). Attentional focus and motor learning: A review of 15
years. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology,
6, 77-104.
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Development of a movement specific reinvestment scale
  • R Masters
  • F Eves
  • J Maxwell
Masters, R., Eves, F., & Maxwell, J. (2005). Development of a movement specific reinvestment scale. In T. Morris, P. Terry, S. Gordon, S. Hanrahan, L. Ievleva, G. Kolt, & P. Tremayne (Eds.), Proceedings of the ISSP 11th World Congress of Sport Psychology. Sydney, Australia: International Society of Sport Psychology.
Choke: What the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to
  • S Beilock
Beilock, S. (2010). Choke: What the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to. New York: Free Press.