->''"There are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the universe. No-one can possibly predict them all, not even you. Which means that the first move can be terrifying. It's the furthest point from the end of the game, there's a virtually infinite sea of possibilities between you and the other side... but it also means that if you make a mistake, there's a nearly infinite amount of ways to fix it. So you should simply relax, and play."''
-->-- '''[[TheChessmaster Harold Finch]]''', ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', "If-Then-Else".

It's the final quarter. The game is still too close to call. The clock is counting down. There are seconds to go. You have the ball. It's all up to you. And you stand there. Think back to your training. Analyze the best response. And do absolutely nothing in the meantime.

Friend, you just choked.

Any time you're doing something you're accustomed to, something you're good at. Hell, you can be a recognized master in your field, but as soon as the pressure is on, you can choke. It can happen in sports. It can happen on game shows. It can happen in bed.

Expert athletes often talk about getting in "the zone", when they stop thinking about what they're doing it and just ''do it''. This usually leads to perfect performances that crush the other team easily.

Choking occurs when, instead of getting in the zone and shutting off the thinking, the expert starts thinking about what he's doing. He starts trying to control ''everything'', trying to account for every last variable. He gets in his head and because there's just too much to think about, he can't do anything. He's got the yips or, as {{the other wiki}} calls it, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focal_dystonia focal dystonia.]]

Compare with the CentipedesDilemma. Contrast AwesomenessByAnalysis.


* ''Film/EightMile'': Bunny Rabbit's first time performing on stage leads to him freezing while the crowd chants "Choke! Choke! Choke!".
* ''Film/TeenWolf'': The eponymous teen opens the movie at the free throw line, way up in his head. He bounces. He bounces the ball. He bounces. He bounces. He bricks it. He is despised.
* ''Film/BullDurham'': Crash's rule #1, "Don't think, it'll only hurt the ballclub."
** In another Kevin Costner film, ''Film/TinCup'', Costner's titular character gets the yips when he's simultaneously worried about his love interest and the upcoming U.S. Open.

* ''Series/{{Psych}}'': "Shawn Gets The Yips".
* ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'': Charlie's dad can't understand why the Cal Sci Basketball team is so poor (although Charlie points out, not unreasonably, that it's not really a burning concern for a bunch of science geeks) and convinces Charlie to try to improve them using "Scientific Methods". This only results in increasing frustration for Charlie as his methods fail to achieve anything. Ultimately, they only win [[spoiler: thanks to his dad bringing in a couple of Ringers.]]
** This actually was done and worked. The conclusion was basically: do a full-court press all game every game.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'': Happens to [[TheCasanova Barney]] in "The Yips". He runs into Rhonda, the older woman he lost his virginity to. She previously told him he was the best she ever had, and when he found out she was lying, he lost his confidence and had a hard time flirting with women, since he kept overthinking. [[HesBack He got it back]] when he slept with her again, and this time she said that [[SincerityMode he really was]] the best she's ever had.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'': Elliot is unable to perform a tracheal intubation, an easy medical procedure she learned in her first week as an intern.
* In ''Series/ThirtyRock'', it happens to Jenna and Pete is able to help her because it happened to him in the Olympics.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Peak Performance", Picard and Riker fight each other as part of a military exercise, and Data (who is acting as Picard's first officer) gets hit by this twice. First, he loses a strategy game to the Starfleet observer, and spends almost half the episode agonizing about his loss and analyzing his systems for what went wrong. Then, when Picard orders him to get his act together and come up with a strategy to defeat Riker, Data nearly does this to himself again by analyzing Riker's usual strategy, analyzing how Riker is likely to change his strategy knowing Data knows his strategy, analyzing how Riker is likely to ''not'' change his strategy knowing that Data knows Riker knows Data knows his usually strategy, etc.

* "Analysis Paralysis" usually has a slightly different but related meaning when used in discussion of TabletopGames. Some players become highly analytical in every game they play, always looking for the best possible move on every turn. However, some games have such a huge number of possible moves, with subtle and far-reaching consequences, that analyzing them all could take ludicrous amounts of time. (There's a reason why the chess clock was invented.) Others are designed as simple little family games, to be played quickly and casually, with little riding on the result; subjecting them to chess-master levels of analysis just gets ludicrous. Most tabletop games have a turn sequence, with each player waiting their turn, so the player who is paralyzed by analysis doesn't actually lose as a result; they just slow things down to a painful extent and make the game boring. A few tabletop games include components such as egg-timers to enforce time limits on turns, saving less analytical players from boredom.

* [[ExploitedTrope Weaponized]] in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', with Ed the Undying's "[[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/Curse_of_Indecision Curse of Indecision]]", which stuns the opponent for several turns by making them aware of ''every'' possible outcome of of ''every'' possible move.

* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/1445/ #1445]] has a graph showing the respective time costs of two strategies next to the far greater time cost of assessing which of the strategies is more efficient.

* The ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'' webseries and novel imply that Sparadrap is compeltely immunne to it (mentioning that "pressure has no effect on him"), which helps his real-life profession as [[spoiler:a tennis player]] a lot.

* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Rainbow Dash has this issue, particularly when her idols, the Wonderbolts, are involved. For instance, in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E16SonicRainboom "Sonic Rainboom"]], she enters into a big stunt flying competition for which the Wonderbolts are judges. However, her inability to pull off the titular move a second time (after pulling it off ''once'' as a young filly) while practicing gives her pause for thought, which quickly snowballs into panic, and eventually leaves her practically catatonic with fear. [[spoiler:Then she has to save Rarity ''and'' the 'Bolts from falling to their death, and Rainbooms without even thinking about it.]]

* Ken Jennings, the winningest guy ever to win at Jeopardy once told an interviewer that the question he was most embarrassed about getting wrong was because he knew the answer. And he knew that he knew the answer. He just couldn't remember the answer, because he'd never sat down and studied the poem like he did with ''everything'' else. Because it was his father's favorite poem: "Literature/{{Jabberwocky}}".
* Professional Greg Norman blew it out of the water for three days at the 1996 U.S. Master's. Then he tanked on the last day and finished five shots out of first (AndThatsTerrible).
* [[http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2010/09/21/psychologist-shows-why-we-choke-under-pressure-and-how-avoid-it This article describes and explains the phenomenon]], and is also the TropeNamer. It's more complex and varied than simple ParalysisByAnalysis. Sometimes it's a desire to avert stereotypes (an Asian kid flunking math, a black kid who's bad at sports, a boy who really doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of a domineering father who he's actually a lot like). Sometimes it's ''because'' of stereotypes (an Asian kid being bad at sports, a black kid or a girl bad at math and science). There are a lot of ways to drive yourself to undeserved failure.
* Several baseball players have struggled with "the yips", the inability to do the one they've done since early childhood, throw a baseball:
** Rick Ankiel was a promising young pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals at the turn of the millennium, finishing in the top ten in ERA and strikeouts in his rookie season at the age of 20. In the 2000 NL Division Series, he was selected to start Game 1, but mysteriously, his control abandoned him completely, walking four batters and setting a major league record with five wild pitches before being removed in the third. In his next playoff start, Ankiel threw five pitches over his catcher in the first inning. His control never recovered for reasons unknown, but Ankiel was able to salvage his career thanks to being a superb hitter, [[CareerResurrection resurfacing in the majors a few years later]] as a converted outfielder with good power and, thanks to his pitching experience, an absolute ''cannon'' for an arm.
** Chuck Knoblauch was an All-Star second baseman with the Twins and the dynastic Yankees of the late 90's. However, in 2000, he was unable to make routine throws from the relatively short distance of his position to first, even once airmailing a ball into the stands and clocking the mother of Keith Olbermann in the face. Despite several methods on trying to correct it, eventually he forced out from his position into a full-time designated hitter, staying off the field.
** Jon Lester, formerly of the Red Sox and currently with the Cubs, is one of the most established pitchers in baseball, with All-Star appearances and championship rings to his name. However, he apparently has issues with throwing to first, as he oddly went two years without attempting a pickoff to first (a relatively common tactic to keep baserunners close to first). Although he vehemently denied having an issue, it became so blatant of his aversion to throwing to first base that hitters have started to bunt towards Lester, forcing the catcher to come a long way to field it and throw to first, or having Lester do it. Like the other examples, no one's sure why Lester is uncomfortable with that throw in particular, especially since he has no such issues pitching effectively to home.
* [[http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/chokers.html This is ESPN's list]] of the ten worst chokes of sports history.
* [[http://golf.about.com/b/2006/06/22/the-biggest-chokes-in-golf-history.htm This list focuses on golf]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choke_%28sports%29 The other wiki]] has a list organized by sport.