High rewards or the threat of severe punishment provide strong motivation but also create psychological pressure, which might induce performance decrements. By analyzing the performance of professional football players in penalty kick situations, the paper provides empirical evidence for the existence of detrimental incentive effects. Two pressure variables are considered in particular: (1) the importance of success and (2) the presence of spectators. There are plenty of situations in which pressure arises in the workplace. Knowing how individuals perform under pressure conditions is crucial because it has implications for the design of the workplace and the design of incentive schemes.