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Stephen Dubner and Freakonomics Radio recently released a podcast entitled, “Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)“. It is excellent and I encourage all coaches and athletes to give it a listen. You’ll be able to relate and find value in listening as you think about the mental side of swimming.

In the podcast you’ll hear from Dr. Anders Ericsson, who you may have seen at a coaching clinic or two. He is well known for spearheading the deliberate practice movement, a major theme of the podcast.

You’ll also hear from Sian Beilock who is (straight from her Twitter bio), the “President of  and a cognitive scientist who studies why people choke under pressure and how to fix it.” She formerly headed up the Human Performance Lab at the University of Chicago.

“I define choking as worse performance than you’d expect from an individual, given that there is high pressure or stakes associated with the situation.” – Sian Beilock

I found myself thinking of Chase Kalisz in the middle of the podcast. He, according to Adrienne Edwards on Twitter, has stepped on the blocks to race the 400 IM in competition this many times:

LCM: 95
SCY: 61
SCM: 4

This is about as deliberate as it gets. Chase is a killer behind the blocks. He always shows up to work in his best suit and he is there to win.

If you’d like to do a deeper dive into the brain and knowledge of Sian Beilock, check out this hour long discussion entitled, “Performing At Your Best Under Stress”.

Have a great week!

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