We Are Able, We Intend, We Act—But We Do Not Succeed: A Theoretical Framework for a Better Understanding of Paradoxical Performance in Sports

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

Click name to view affiliation

Babett H. LobingerGerman Sport University

Search for other papers by Babett H. Lobinger in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Martin K. KlämpflGerman Sport University

Search for other papers by Martin K. Klämpfl in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Eckart AltenmüllerHanover University of Music, Drama, and Media

Search for other papers by Eckart Altenmüller in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Paradoxical performance can be described simply as a sudden decrease in a top athlete’s performance despite the athlete’s having striven for superior performance, such as the lost-skill syndrome in trampolining or “the yips” in golf. There is a growing amount of research on these phenomena, which resemble movement disorders. What appears to be missing, however, is a clear phenomenology of the affected movement characteristics leading to a classification of the underlying cause. This understanding may enable specific diagnostic methods and appropriate interventions. We first review the different phenomena, providing an overview of their characteristics and their occurrence in sports and describing the affected sports and movements. We then analyze explanations for the yips, the most prominent phenomenon, and review the methodological approaches for diagnosing and treating it. Finally, we present and elaborate an action theoretical approach for diagnosing paradoxical performance and applying appropriate interventions.

Babett H. Lobinger and Martin K. Klämpfl are with the German Sport University, Cologne, Germany. Eckart Altenmüller is with the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Hanover, Germany.

Address author correspondence to Babett H. Lobinger at Lobinger@dshs-koeln.de.
  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2558 870 174
Full Text Views 34 10 0
PDF Downloads 49 14 0