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Home » Why We Choke Under Pressure and How to Avoid It: Sian Leah Beilock (Transcript)

Why We Choke Under Pressure and How to Avoid It: Sian Leah Beilock (Transcript)

Sian Leah Beilock

Full transcript of cognitive scientist Sian Leah Beilock’s TED Talk: Why We Choke Under Pressure and How to Avoid It.

Listen to the MP3 audio here: Why we choke under pressure and how to avoid it by Sian Leah Beilock


Sian Leah Beilock – Cognitive scientist

One of the most humiliating things that you can say about someone is “they choked.” And boy, do I know that feeling.

Growing up, I was an avid athlete. My main sport was soccer, and I was a goalkeeper, which is both the best and the worst position on the field.

You see, when you’re a goalie, you get this special uniform, you get all the glory for a great shot saved, but you also get the grief when you land a shot in the goal.

When you’re a goalie, all eyes are on you, and with that comes the pressure. I distinctly remember one game in high school.

I was playing for the California state team which is part of the Olympic Development Program. I was having a great game until I realized that the national coach was standing right behind me. That’s when everything changed.

In a matter of seconds, I went from playing at the top to the bottom of my ability. Just knowing that I was being evaluated changed my performance and forever how I thought about the mental aspect of how we perform. All of a sudden the ball seemed to go in slow motion, and I was fixated on my every move. The next shot that came I bobbled, but thankfully it didn’t land in the goal.

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