A Qualitative Examination into the 'Yips' Phenomenon in Golf
University of Wales
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This qualitative investigation provided a critical investigation of the 'yips'. Specifically, it elicited whether 'yip' affected golfers’ perceived the problem to be exacerbated by physiological or psychological symptoms or a combination of both. In addition, examining the extent to which the 'yip' experience affected performance. Following prescreening, five 'yip' affected golfers’ were comprehensively interviewed in relation to their perceived thoughts, feelings and emotions, before, during and after their initial 'yip' experience. Inductive content analysis indicated all golfers’ perceived the 'yips' to be a psychological problem which manifested itself into physical disruptions in the stroke. In addition, the golfers’ emphasised the extent of the problem in relation to performance, reporting to experience an additional 5.6 strokes per round. Personality characteristics such as, perfectionistic tendencies, obsessional thinking and self-consciousness in conjunction with the psychological symptoms the golfers’ experienced assisted the 'yips' becoming or developing into a long term performance problem. In conclusion, the study suggested that the 'yips' in golf is a psychological problem which exacerbated the execution of a stroke, inducing pernicious effects on performance. Applied implications indicated practitioners need to implement various remedial strategies to reduce the impact of negative reactions to imperfection and assist the golfers’ with perceiving anxiety as facilitative towards performance. Future research needs to explicitly examine the process leading up to the initial 'yip' experience, the effectiveness of the mental strategies employed to overcome the 'yips' and the cyclical relationship between perfectionism and anxiety in relation to the 'yip' experience.
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