In an attempt to get a deeper understanding of the psychological pressures at play, he reviews the literature on the impact of context in the performance of non-strategic tasks such as free throws in basketball, putting in golf and weightlifting. The literature demonstrates that basketballers perform differently depending on whether their team is ahead or not. Golfer putt better for par than birdie.
Palacios-Huerta then goes on to consider the implications of the sequence of tasks. He compares the success rate of the players initiating the competition in penalty kicks and tennis tie-breakers. In penalty kicks the sequence is ABABABABAB where as in tennis it is ABBAABBAA. The success rate in soccer is 61% whereas it is 54% in tennis. He then tested the Prouhet-Thue-Morse (PTM) sequence (ABBABAAB) using players from La Liga. The success rate of the team taking the first penalty kick drops to 51%.