Self-report vs. kinematic screening test: prevalence, demographics, and sports biography of yips-affected golfers

Martin K Klämpfl, Philipp B Philippen, Babett H Lobinger
Journal of Sports Sciences 2015, 33 (7): 655-64
The yips is considered a task-specific movement disorder. Its estimated prevalence, however, is high compared to similar neurological movement disorders, possibly resulting from previous studies' restriction of samples based on skill level, and self-report bias. Alternatively, this high prevalence might be an indication of additional aetiologies, for example the influence of previously played racket sports. We estimated the prevalence of the putting yips across the skill range, using self-reports in one study and a screening test in a second study. We explored if previously played sports matter for the development of the yips. In study 1, yips prevalence (N = 1,306) and golfers' sports biographies (n = 264) were examined via two online surveys, in which golfers indicated if they were yips-affected. In study 2, golfers (N = 186) putted in a standardised putting test while kinematic and performance measures were recorded. Prevalence was estimated via a kinematic threshold. Sports biographies (n = 119) were obtained via an online survey. Prevalence of currently yips-affected golfers was 22.4% in study 1 and 16.7% in study 2. In both studies, more yips-affected than unaffected golfers had experience in playing racket sports. Yips prevalence remained higher than previously estimated prevalence of other movement disorders but decreased when the whole skill range including professionals and novices was considered. Future studies should use the kinematic screening test instead of self-reports to detect the yips and further investigate the influence of previously played racket sports.

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