The psychology of the yips and lost move syndrome in sport.

BENNETT, Jennifer Emily. (2015). The psychology of the yips and lost move syndrome in sport. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

There has been growing interest in a specific type of performance problem that sees individuals lose the ability to execute a previously automatic skill they once performed at ease (Klampfl, Lobinger & Raab, 2013; McDaniel, Cummings & Shain, 1989). Such severe performance problems have been described in the sport psychology literature with disparity; for example in artistic sports this type of affliction is referred to as lost move syndrome (LMS; Day, Thatcher, Greenlees & Woods, 2006), whereas in golf and cricket individuals are said to suffer from the yips (Bawden & Maynard, 2001). The underlying mechanisms of these problems have caused much debate, and despite similarities between the two they have been classified independently. The primary aim of this thesis was to adopt a triangulated approach to delineate the psychological nature of the yips and LMS, and determine the extent to which they are similar. Based on these findings a second aim was to develop an intervention to treat the yips and LMS. Study one adopted a qualitative approach utilising semi-structured interviews to explore the psychological components of the yips and LMS. Study two involved quantitative analysis of psychometric data assessing perfectionism, rumination, reinvestment, and subjective stress response to the yips and LMS among affected individuals. Finally, study three utilised a case study approach to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention designed to treat the underlying psychological components of the yips and LMS. This study included reflective narratives gathered throughout the treatment process, and semi-structured interview data collected on completion. Results of study one indicated that several emotional and cognitive components underpin the yips and LMS, including anxiety, fear, panic, frustration, hypervigilence, and loss of cognitive control. Social functioning was similarly disrupted with avoidance, obsessive behaviour, and intrusive thoughts. Study two revealed higher levels of perfectionism, rumination, reinvestment, and stress response equivalent to minor trauma experience, associated with the yips and LMS. Similar characteristics were evident across both yips and LMS groups, with the exception of observable movement disruption concerning the nature of the skills affected (e.g., putting stroke in golf/somersault in diving), however both yips and LMS affected individuals reported involuntary muscle tension, shaking, spasms, and loss of physical control. Importantly, these components are also evident throughout research exploring anxiety-based disorders. A recent theme emerging in association with the yips and anxiety-disorders is the involvement of significant life-events prior to problem development. The current results also indicated that significant-events had occurred before, and around the time of the yips/LMS experience. The final study adopted a case study approach in which eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR; Shapiro, 1989) and exposure therapy were integrated in a treatment plan designed to treat a yips-affected golfer and a LMS affected diver. EMDR facilitated the identification and reprocessing of significant life-events associated with the problem, exposure therapy addressed associated psychological symptoms of anxiety, avoidance, and rumination. Evaluation of the intervention showed that both athletes had improved performance of the affected skills, and levels of anxiety and physical movement disruption had substantially reduced. Interview data collected on completion of each intervention confirmed that avoidance behaviour, obsessive habits, hypervigilence, and intrusive thoughts had also been alleviated, and both athletes had improved performance in training and competition. Extensive triangulated findings provided in this thesis suggest that the yips and LMS are psychological disorders, the basis of which is anxiety, and that significant life-events might lead to their development. It is recommended that the generic term performance block be adopted for future classification of these problems as similar forms of an anxiety-based disorder. From a theoretical perspective, the findings emphasise the psychological nature of these problems, and importance of considering potential vulnerability factors in future research. From a practical perspective, this thesis highlights the importance of adopting an individualised approach to the assessment of these issues, and developing interventions to treat the psychological components involved.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2015.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 15:10
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20626

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