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    Preparing the development of decision-making

    Excerpts of this paper posted by permission from the article originally Posted by RYAN WHITE on

    It has been a while since I last posted on this blog, and thus, a lot has changed. Firstly, I hope everyone reading this is in good health as well as their friends and families.

    In the past, I have heard parents and coaches refer to decision-making as an art, and by mentioning this it is not neccesarily an art I consider it as but more importantly, an integral skill to developing players and athletes. Decision-making is just as important as a psychological skill in sport as finishing is as a technical skill in Football (soccer). Therefore, it is not an art.

    I have previously written about the differences between implicit and explicit learners in making good decisions, this blog is slightly different. This blog I intend to discuss the importance, as coaches, to help develop our athletes to perform well under pressure – which is an inevitability in sport. Generally discussing the processes and research behind decision-making under pressure, we will then compare two studies that have designed interventions to improve decision-making, with one from research in England, and the other in Germany.

    Under pressure: why athletes choke | Sport | The Guardian

    The relationship between pressure and cognitive appraisal

    So, what is pressure? According to Baumeister and Showers (1986, p.362), pressure is ”the presence of an incentive or number of incentives that increase the importance of optimal, maximal or superior performance”. I think it is reasonable to assume this definition is still significant in 2021, and such an example could be that of going into a cup final, with the incentive being to win a trophy, and more often than not, this incentive is empthasised by both coaches and parents. However, that is an issue for another day….

    Another term that I should put out there is cognitive appraisal, this is how well an individual thinks they can cope in relation to the significance of optimal performance (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). Moore et al. (2015) propose the importance of cognitive appraisal, as the variability in performance outcomes under pressure is underpinned by an individual’s cognitive appraisal. In other words, in accordance to the pressure that is present, the resources that individual has at their disposal to cope with said pressure is influential in meeting performance outcomes. Thus, cognitive appraisal is key to make the correct decisions under pressure (Honer et al., 2020).

    For the rest of the published article by Ryan White, please go to:

    About Ryan White:

    Ryan White

    Ryan J. White is an experienced Analysis Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the sports industry. Skilled in Analytical Skills, Coaching, Communication, Football, and Video Analytics. Strong research professional with a Master’s degree focused in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Staffordshire University. If you would like to reach out to Ryan, and discuss this topic further then by all means do so – on Twitter @RyanJ_White99 or email at 

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