Date of Award

8-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Arthur-Banning, Skye

Committee Member

Barcelona , Bob

Committee Member

Brookover , Bob

Abstract

A field goal kicker in NCAA Division-I college football experiences high amounts of pressure when placed in a game-winning situation. A pressure kick may result in optimal or less than optimal performance due the influence of various distracting factors, such as the evaluative nature of an audience or the pressure of being iced by the opposing team. Pressure kicks are classified as a field goal kick, during the last minute of game time (or during overtime), which will result in a lead or a tie game for the kicking team (Goldschmied, Nankin, & Cafri, 2010). Conflicting literature surrounding social facilitation, home field advantage, pressure, and uncertainty have determined that an elite athlete in a high-pressure game-winning situation will either perform at an optimal or less than optimal level based on their level of mastery in the particular skill. In addition, the effects of various distracting variables may also influence their performance positively or negatively. The purpose of this study is to determine which distracting variables have an effect on the outcome of a pressure kick in Division-I college football. Archival data was collected from ESPN college football scoreboard for NCAA FBS games played during seven consecutive football seasons (2006- 2012). In the seven seasons, 358 pressure kicks occurred, but only 324 cases were applicable due to missing data. The overall team performance and the individual kicker's ability to kick from a field goal distance were found to be the strongest predictors for the success of a pressure kick. Given these two measures, the data set predicted the kicker will successfully make the pressure kick attempt 9 out of 10 times, with or without being iced.

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