Exploring Lost Move Syndrome in Competitive Youth Gymnasts

Erica Beachy, Springfield College, USA

Theme: Youth sport

Poster Number: 145

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Lost move syndrome (LMS) has been defined as a psychological condition in which athletes are suddenly unable to perform a motor skill or sequence that was previously automatic for them (Day, Thatcher, Greenlees, & Woods, 2006). Day et al. used qualitative methods to study LMS, interviewing 15 elite level trampolinists about their experiences of losing a skill. The current study was designed to investigate the frequency and experience of LMS in competitive youth gymnasts (N = 109). The study also investigated the extent to which LMS, as defined by Day et al., was distinct from other related conditions that negatively affect performance or could be identified as causes for not performing a skill (i.e., slumping, choking, fear of injury, and sport performance phobias). Gymnasts completed a questionnaire about their experience of losing a skill and the specific characteristics of that experience. Responses indicated that the uneven bars and the balance beam accounted for 75% of the lost skills and that the majority of the skills lost (66%) were ones that required participants to go backwards. Coaches filled out a spreadsheet that inquired about which gymnasts had experienced LMS. The vast majority of gymnasts (81%) reported losing a skill, whereas their coaches identified only 37% of them as having lost a skill. Only two gymnasts met all criteria as defined by Day et al. for LMS. Overall, the results of this study revealed that as presently defined and measured, LMS is not distinguishable from related conditions.

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