Geir Jordet, PhD
The psychological factors involved in high-level sport performance is at the core of Geir Jordet's research interests. He has concentrated his attention on two primary paths of research:
One path focuses on the development of expert performance, i.e. what it takes to attain, develop and sustain high level performance. The primary processes under investigation are perception (how performers gather and make use of information) and self-regulation (how performers control their thoughts, feelings and actions to learn and perform more effectively). Geir Jordet is currently involved in several projects aimed at describing and explaining the role of these processes with expert performers, as well as examining how talented performers can employ them more effectively.
Dr. Jordet's other path of research concentrates on performance under extreme pressure. Why do some performers choke under pressure and others do not? How can you prevent choking? And, how can athletes cope with choking, once it has occurred? The primary processes under investigation are ego-threat (when high egos and self-beliefs are threatened by possible failure and/or other perceived threats), emotional distress (the unpleasant emotions that ensue under such threat, e.g., anxiety and aggression), and self-regulatory breakdown (when self-regulation routinely breaks down and performance suffers).
A major part of Geir Jordet’s research into performance under pressure has focused on the football (soccer) penalty shootout in high-stakes tournaments such as the World Cup. Some of these events are viewed live on television by upwards of one billion people, all of which are heavily invested in the outcome of the shootout. The football penalty shootout is arguably the most stressful and pressure filled phenomenon in sport, and the research clearly documents that even players at the absolutely highest level regularly choke in these situations.
The aim of Geir Jordet's research is to obtain an in-depth description and understanding of what it takes to develop and sustain expert football (soccer) performance - under normal conditions as well as under extreme levels of stress and pressure.
The research has primarily been anchored in and/or inspired by one of the following three conceptual frameworks:
1) James J. Gibson's ecological approach to perception
2) K. Anders Ericsson's theory of deliberate practice
3) Roy F. Baumeister's theory of self-regulatory breakdown
In addition to the heavy theoretical orientation, another permeating philosophy throughout Geir Jordet's research is its focus on real-world relevance and application. The majority of the studies have consisted of observation of on-field behaviors and/or intervention studies with elite performers. Then the studies have been followed up by continuous dialogue with practitioners and the key principles have been put into practice.