Yips and lost move syndrome: exploring psychological symptoms, similarities, and implications for treatment

Jenn Bennett *, Kate Hays *, Pete Lindsay *, Peter Olusoga ** and Ian W. Maynard **

(*) English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, UK
(**) Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK

Citation

Bennett, J., Hays, K., Lindsay, P., Olusoga, P., W. Maynard, I. (2015). Yips and lost move syndrome: exploring psychological symptoms, similarities, and implications for treatment. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(1), 61-82. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.061

Abstract

This study explored the lived experience of performance problems in sport, where athletes suddenly lose the ability to execute previously mastered skills. Specifically, this study explored lost move syndrome (LMS) and the yips, with the aim to make suggestions for diagnosis and more effective treatment methods. Sixteen national, international, Olympic, and world-class athletes were interviewed about their experiences of LMS and the yips. Analysis revealed that emotional, cognitive, physical, and wider impact factors were all similarly associated with LMS and the yips. Specifically, LMS and the yips are characterised by a sudden and temporary loss of fine, and/or gross motor control, manifesting as locked, stuck, or frozen movements. A central finding of the paper associated LMS and the yips to feeling like someone, or something, other than the athlete was in control for a momentary period of time. These findings provide a rationale for further research investigating the two disorders, and developing targeted interventions.

Keywords: Emotional, LMS, Performance block, Trauma, Yips


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