Exploring the Experience of Yips in Elite Sport

Project summary

The PhD programme of research will broadly meet two aims:

In sport, the ability to perform under heightened levels of pressure is something that can be the difference between those who are successful and those who are not. As such, understanding performance under pressure has been of great interest to athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists alike. There are several phenomena associated with the breakdown in an athlete’s performance. The yips is one such example experienced by athletes, in a range of sports, such as golf, archery, and cricket. 

There is still much to understand of the yips: predictors, experiences, mechanisms, effective interventions, coping strategies, support and management. Thus, the current PhD programme will further our recent research in this area within the scope of the factors mentioned – for example, see Clarke et al. (2020). The successful candidate will have the opportunity to shape the programme of research with regard to their particular interests within the scope outlined.

Research centre

Human Sciences Research Centre

Entry requirements

Applicants will need either a first-class or upper-class second-class honours degree accredited by the British Psychological Society in Psychology or in a BUES-endorsed Sport and Exercise Science or related subject area.  

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. Find out more about our entry requirements for international students

Project specific requirements must align with the University’s standard requirements.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Philip Clarke (P.Clarke@derby.ac.uk) in the first instance for more information on how to apply.

The University has four starting points each year for MPhil/PhD programmes (September, January, March and June). Applications should be made at least three months before you would want to start your programme. Please note that, if you require a visa, additional time will be required. 


Self-funded by student. There is a range of options that may be available to you to help you fund your PhD.


Sally Akehurst stood in front of a tree.
Head of School of Human Sciences

Dr Sally Akehurst is Head of School of Human Sciences which consists of three Discipline Areas including Biomedical and Forensic Science; Psychology, and Sport, Outdoor and Exercise Science.

Professor of Psychology

David Sheffield is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care. He is also Head of Research and Director of Professional Psychology Programmes at the University of Derby Online Learning. He also supervises PhD and Doctorate students. David's work has helped us to understand the impact of stress and pressure on health, wellbeing and performance.