Towards an understanding of the personal experience of the 'yips' in cricketers

  • Bawden M
  • Maynard I
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Abstract

The 'yips' is a phenomenon that affects individuals who perform finely controlled motor skills. The result is involuntary movements that occur throughout the execution of a skill. A qualitative study was conducted to identify the psychological characteristics of the 'yips' experience in cricket bowlers. Eight bowlers of varying ability were interviewed about their thoughts, emotions and feelings before, during and after their initial experience of the 'yips'. After the interviews, inductive content analysis revealed 15 general dimensions that were descriptive of the overall 'yips' experience: conditions before the initial experience, the first experience, anxiety, emotions and feelings, conscious control of movement, self-presentational concerns, inappropriate focus, negative thinking, future performances, reasons for not bowling, bowling experiences after the initial experience, the difference between the 'yips' and bowling badly, characteristics of good bowling performances, personal characteristics and personal explanations for why the 'yips' were experienced. We conclude that the experience of bowling with the 'yips' shows many characteristics similar to a severe form of choking.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 'Yips'
  • Choking
  • Cricketers
  • Qualitative

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Authors

  • M. Bawden

  • I. Maynard

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