Monday Morning Mojo: Choke

As a big sports fan, I wanted to share this with you by Intero’s VP Tom Tognoli

Monday Morning Mojo: Choke

Mon. October 3rd, 2011 | 4:30am | Tom Tognoli

This past week the Boston Red Sox probably had the biggest “CHOKE” in sports history.

At the beginning of September they were so far ahead in the standings that they were basically guaranteed a spot in the MLB post season. It was almost mathematically impossible they would not make it. They were so far ahead at the beginning of September that researchers gave them a 99.6% chance at making the playoffs…99.6% chance!

So, what happened? When Red Sox player David Ortiz was asked what happened he said, “I don’t even know how to explain it.”

Researchers know what happened. There is a highly scientific term for it – it is called CHOKING.

So, what is choking? It is when you exhibit a worst performance than you have exhibited in the past precisely because there is a lot on the line. Not much different than choking on that final exam or choking on that big interview or presentation.

So why do people and teams like the Boston Red Sox CHOKE. There are two main reasons:

  1. Paralysis by Analysis – We start paying a lot of attention to habits or behaviors that should just run off on auto pilot. That unhittable pitch you have thrown a million times, it’s now a meatball right over the center of the plate. You are just trying too hard and not just letting it rip.
  2. Memory Failure – This is not forgetting things. It is more about remembering the wrong things; it is remembering the negative things. In the case of the Boston Red Sox it is confirming this idea that you are not ready to play or going to be able to compete in the playoffs. You are not going to succeed. In baseball or anything in life, losing begets losing. For the Boston Red Sox there was a month of failure brewing in their heads. Loss after loss and with each loss more doubt crept into their minds. And they were reminded of it constantly by their fans booing and holding up signs saying things like “Help Me!!!! I’m CHOKING!” Talk about a negative affirmation. There have been studies that have shown when you tell kids they are not good at math they do worse on tests. Same thing applies in baseball or really anything in life.

So, what is the solution to not choking in baseball and life?

  • Don’t just practice, but practice under fire. That is why our military does live fire training, not with blanks.
  • Remember the good moments and forget the bad ones.
  • Breath.
  • Have fun.
  • Focus on what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen.
  • Don’t be resentful.
  • Don’t look at the glass half empty, look at the glass half full.
  • Spend time with positive people and steer clear of negative ones.
  • Spend more time with people who have what you want in your F5.

No choking allowed…CRUSH IT!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s