Analysis of Jean Van de Velde’s Breakdown at Carnoustie
October 5, 2011
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ANALYSIS OF A BREAKDOWN
Dr. Roland Carlstedt, an expert in psychophysiological body-language evaluation, takes us through the meltdown, frame by agonizing frame.
Carlstedt's assessments were based solely on his observation of these images.
This facial expression conveys disappointment. The muscles in the face can disrupt performance by negatively changing the sensitive mind-body balance. This leads to uncoordinated responses and a cascade of cognitive events that affect focus and planning. That's likely what happened here.
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Eventual champion Paul Lawrie, already in the clubhouse, looks like someone who was caught getting away with something he shouldn't be doing. It's sort of a "dog-eat-dog" grin. He's probably experiencing a massive endorphin rush while realizing that he might still have a chance to win.
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Looking down the precipice of doom. At this point, his consideration of not taking a drop is indicative of the worst "Athlete's Profile" because pressure and unusual situations can create doubt, negative thoughts and poor strategic judgment. That's the only way he could possibly think that he could play this shot.
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Wife [Brigitte] is obviously in agony, and Van de Velde probably sees it, since when under pressure and in the throes of a meltdown people typically seek out comfort. With all the craziness around him, he is in mental overdrive and chaos. Seeing his support system/wife come apart does not help matters.
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His head must be spinning. His low level of repressive coping is insufficient to rescue him and help regain mind-body control. His possible "High Hypnotic Susceptibility" is locked into negative intrusive thoughts that are spiraling out of control and will undermine his subsequent motor performance.
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Craig Parry, his playing partner, appears stunned, perplexed and shocked. Interestingly, if he has the same or similar Athlete's Profile as Van de Velde, then he can probably envision himself doing the same thing, and he will be empathetic. However, he might also be thinking, "What a schmuck!"
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Sitting down, abject disgust and resignation. He wants to hide, sink into the ground and into oblivion. This is another major mistake since such posture will alter psychophysiological activation dynamics that regulate intensity, focus, cognitive performance and, ultimately, motor performance.
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Here he throws his arms outward, a subconscious deflection of blame, a symbolic dissociation from the reality that it is he who has suffered this meltdown. This is a defensive response, telling the crowd, his caddie and others that something is happening that he cannot explain or control.
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Van de Velde's pent-up frustration is unleashed. This can be a good thing if it is not too little too late, but in this case it was. Meltdowns are associated with excessive muscular tension in muscles that are secondary to carrying out a specific sports task, like putting. This leads to uncoordinated responses.