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Learned helplessness is often studied as a consequence of repetitive failure in a performance domain and is usually associated with the experience of uncontrollability over future outcomes. The premise of this review article is first to establish initial support towards the notion of learned helplessness seen in the context of sports performance. Furthermore, the role of performance anxiety and maladaptive perfectionism will be introduced to strengthen the idea that thinking traits impact motor performance especially when these traits moderate the effects of consecutive failure experience. Finally the paper will focus on a typical profile of an athlete who would be susceptible to choking under pressure as an outcome of perceived uncontrollability and performance anxiety. Burnout and potential interventions will be discussed later.
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