When Superstars Flop: Public Status and Choking Under Pressure in International Soccer Penalty Shootouts
The purpose of this study was to examine links between public status and performance in a real-world, high-pressure sport task. It was believed that high public status could negatively affect performance through added performance pressure. Video analyses were conducted of all penalty shootouts ever held in three major soccer tournaments (n = 366 kicks) and public status was derived from prestigious international awards (e.g., “FIFA World Player of the year”). The results showed that players with high current status performed worse and seemed to engage more in certain escapist self-regulatory behaviors than players with future status. Some of these performance drops may be accounted for by misdirected self-regulation (particularly low response time), but only small multivariate effects were found.
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