There are times in our lives when we have no choice but to perform. The stakes are high, the pressure is on, the price of failure immense. It seems natural that most of us would try to minimize the amount of time that we spend in such anxiety-inducing situations. But what of those people who seek out these moments of acute pressure, who go so far as to pin their livelihood to them? What inspires them, and what can they teach the rest of us? In this episode of Off Topic, we ask athletes, performers, and academics about the stress of performance, and how to succeed in spite of it.


In this Episode…

Kristi Erdal

Sports Psychologist Kristi Erdal speaks about superstitions, heckling, and the myriad ways in which the mind preempts the body in matters of athletic performance.


Hall of Fame relief pitcher Richard “Goose” Gossage tells us about the lessons he learned concerning pressure, performance, and the power of positive thinking during his 22 year career in the major leagues.


Conductor Scott Yoo talks about coordinating the performance of an entire orchestra, and learning to balance the technical and emotional demands of a piece of music.


Essayist, playwright, and scholar Idris Goodwin shares a story from his days teaching performance to middle schoolers at a charter school in Chicago.


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