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Performance under Pressure on the Court: Evidence from Professional Volleyball

Author

Listed:
  • Viktor Bozhinov

    () (Johannes Gutenberg University)

  • Nora Grote

    () (Johannes Gutenberg University)

Abstract

This study analyzes how psychological pressure affects performance. It refers to the discussion on differences between choking, i.e., an acute performance decline under pressure and underperformance under pressure. When performance outcomes are not defined binary even slight performance decrements can have huge consequences for future career. To study the consequences of psychological pressure on performance, we employ data on the serving performance of 213 professional volleyball athletes in 226 matches. We do not find any evidence for the existence of severe performance decrements under pressure (i.e. choking). However, athletes serve less effectively under pressure, i.e., they serve less direct points and less good serves. In consequence, we find that these subtler performance changes of serving players negatively affect overall team performance. Thus, we show that even if choking in the sense of an acute failure does not occur, performance decrements harming team production exist. This might be explained by single team members trying to avoid being held responsible for failure. Strengthening group cohesion to reduce psychological pressure on single group members might be a fruitful strategy to cope with similar problems in other working environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Viktor Bozhinov & Nora Grote, 2019. "Performance under Pressure on the Court: Evidence from Professional Volleyball," Working Papers 1901, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  • Handle: RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1901
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    performance; psychological pressure; choking; underperformance; volleyball;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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