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Slumps are a pervasive phenomenon that are in evidence in all sports and at all levels of ability. They are a significant source of concern, confusion, and frustration for athletes and coaches. Yet, despite this, there is a conspicuous lack of knowledge and documentation on the subject. This paper offers an in-depth and systematic examination of slumps in sports. The work is divided into four parts. First, a precise definition of a slump is delineated. Second, the criteria that differentiate slumps from occasional drops in performance are described. Third, an analysis of the causes of slumps is discussed and the notion of serial causation of slumps is presented; examples are given to illustrate these ideas. Finally, a program for the alleviation of slumps, called Slumpbusting, is examined. The Slumpbusting program offers a structured plan that includes goal-setting, counseling, and the constructive, progressive use of physical, technical, and psychological training for the systematic resolution of slumps.
Jim Taylor is with the School of Psychology, Nova University, College Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314.