Perfectionism and the ‘Yips’: An Initial Investigation

in The Sport Psychologist

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Ross RobertsBangor University

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Mike RotheramMetaphorics Performance Consultants

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Ian MaynardSheffield Hallam University

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Owen ThomasCardiff Metropolitan University

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Tim WoodmanBangor University

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The present investigation examined whether perfectionism might predict whether an athlete would suffer from the ‘yips’ (a long term movement disorder consisting of involuntary movements that affects the execution of motor skills). A sample of ‘yips’-affected individuals from golf, cricket, and darts as well as a sport-matched sample of non ’yips’-affected athletes completed the shortened version of Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate’s (1990) multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS). Results revealed that three aspects of perfectionism (personal standards, organization, and concern over mistakes) were associated with a greater likelihood of suffering from the ‘yips’, indicating that ‘yips’ sufferers had an unhealthy perfectionism profile. The results highlight perfectionism as a possible antecedent of the ‘yips’ experience within sport.

Roberts is with the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK. Rotheram is with Metaphorics Performance Consultants, Bamford, UK. Maynard has served as Editor of The Sport Psychologist and is with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. Thomas is with the Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK. Woodman is with the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.

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