ESPN the Magazine’s Choke Issue

From ESPN –

The Choke Issue: For every diving catch, stunning save, last-second layup and Hail Mary, there exists its opposite – the choke. It’s something we can all relate to, but when you’re an athlete – amateur or pro – your world is the stage, where every move is calibrated, scrutinized, analyzed, and replayed – again and again.

The new issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands Friday, March 9, covers a range of “choking” topics – from missed buzzer beaters and how to move on, to the neuroscience behind why we do it. One feature also highlights the business of choking – specifically the risks Olympic sponsors take on with top-notch athletes who put it all on the line.

The Choke Issue Features

Beware the Ides of March
The NCAA tourney has not been kind to Jim Boeheim or John Calipari. Whose fault is that? The Orange won the national championship in 2003 but have a history of seasons ending unexpectedly early. With just one loss on the season so far, can they buck the trend and go all the way? Plus, Kentucky coach Calipari, currently leading the nation’s top-ranked team, witnessed two of the worst disappointing losses in NCAA history and remains one of the last few who hasn’t shaken the can’t-win-the-big-one label. By Elena Bergeron and Jordan Brenner

Hero Ball
Everybody loves a buzzer beater. Too bad it’s just as likely to seal the loss as ensure the win. Forget the Kobes and Carmelos and their attempts at buzzer beaters – it’s an illogical and inefficient way to end a basketball game and here’s why. By Henry Abbott

I Think, Therefore I Choke
Choking is real and psychologists who study it and work with athletes to prevent it can tell you all about it. Science is turning the corner on why athletes choke and how to prevent it. By Jaimal Yogis

Taking the Plunge
Sponsors love Olympic gold, but it’s risky to spend millions on an athlete who might not make the Games. For an Olympian, choking means more than just losing a big game and upsetting fans, it means the loss of sponsorships and possibly millions of dollars. Here The Mag gets insight from Olympic decathlete Dan O’Brien and swimmer Ryan Lochte. By Matt McCue

The Hard-Loss Lessons of Chipper Jones
Last fall, the Braves’ season slipped through the cracks in a final-game, extra-inning loss. The Mag caught up with the team’s leader Chipper Jones, who has had as much experience winning and losing as almost anyone in baseball, on his take on yet another not-quite-there season. To start fresh after his team’s epic collapse, he had to let it go. By Mark Winegardner

The Numbers
In his latest column, The Mag’s Peter Keating looks at chokes at the free throw line. Keating states that blame should fall on the coaches because they don’t simulate game-like situations in practice. Also, new physics research suggests that players above a certain height should shoot free throws underhanded—no joke.

Additional Choke Issue Highlights:
In The Mag’s “Play” section, Chris Broussard says not to get too hung up on the Big Three’s in markets such as Oklahoma City and Miami in “The Big Zero.” A funny thing happened on the way to the year of the Big Three – the balanced rosters fought back, and teams such as the Pacers, Sixers and Rockets might not have a star, but they’re still worth watching.
“Stranded:” The Phoenix Coyotes have no owner, little money, few fans, and soon could be homeless. But thanks to their indomitable coach, Dave Tippett, these Coyotes are on the brink of a third straight playoff appearance.
“Choke Artifacts:” The Mag tracks the path of the infamous “It Gets Through Buckner!” baseball has taken since the 1986 World Series.


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