Performance Under Pressure in the NBA
Oregon State University
Brigham Young University
Daniel F. Stone
Bowdoin College - Department of Economics
June 14, 2010
Journal of Sports Economics, June 2011
We analyze the effects of pressure on performance using National Basketball Association (NBA) free throw data from the 2002-03 through 2009-10 seasons. We find strong evidence that players choke under pressure – they shoot 5-10% worse than normal in the final seconds of very close games. Choking is more likely for players who are worse overall free throw shooters, and on the second shot of a pair after the first shot is missed. In general, performance declines as pressure increases (as game time remaining decreases, and as the score margin decreases, whether the shooter’s team is winning or losing). However, we find no evidence of choking when games are tied in the final 15 seconds. We also fail to find evidence of performance under pressure being affected by home status, attendance, and whether or not the game is in the playoffs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Choking, Anxiety, Pressure, Clutch, NBA
JEL Classification: L83, D03, M54, J24Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 15, 2010 ; Last revised: June 5, 2011
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.390 seconds