McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Eva Maria Simms
Yips, sports, phenomenology, performance anxiety, athlete
This dissertation investigates the experience of the yips, a phenomenon in athletics in which individuals lose the ability to perform a basic, habitual movement of their sports. There is a growing body of research which frames the yips as a movement disorder with possible physical or psychological etiologies, or with components of both. This study centers on the experiences of athletes with the yips, seeking to understand the nature and meaning of the relationship between yips-experienced individuals and their yips, as well as what these meanings reveal about the yips in general. A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with four participants with experiences with the yips. Two participants experienced the yips in golf and two in baseball. Interviews were analyzed according to hermeneutic phenomenological methods and five primary themes were identified and described: the yips are an experience of the ‘anonymous body;’ the yips are revealed in social relationships; the yips phenomenon is distributed in time; the yips shows itself as a whole-person contraction within the phenomenal field; and expansive experiences help athletes regain their lost movement. This study suggests that the yips phenomenon exists in a complex matrix of personal history, social relationships, and embodied activity, and that probing this dynamic interplay of personal factors can contribute to our overall understanding of the yips phenomenon. Additionally, these findings support recent research that emphasizes psychological factors in the genesis of the yips.
O'Brien, P. (2019). The Yips: A Phenomenological Investigation into the Experience of a Lost Movement (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1773