Golf yips prevention and cure.

If you think you might have the golf yips this article and video is perfect for you.

Golf Yips: How to free yourself from this frustrating problem?

All golfers know about the yips if they have been playing for a few years. Suprisingly many golfers also suffer from this frustrating phenomenon.

WIKIPEDIA defines the Yips : the yips is the loss of fine motor skills in athletes. The condition occurs suddenly and without apparent explanation usually in mature athletes with years of experience. It is poorly understood and has no known treatment or therapy

The yips manifest themselves as twitches, staggers, jitters and jerks. The condition occurs most often in sports which athletes are required to perform a single precise and well-timed action such as golf and darts.

Webster’s dictionary defines the yips as “a state of nervous tension affecting an athlete in the performance of a crucial action.”

Another definition talks about one of the big challenges with the yips. It states that athletes are often not aware of the state of tension or anxiety. But it is present at a more unconscious level.

Golf yips actually affects far more golfers than you would imagine, between one-quarter and one-half of all mature golfers.[2] Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that 33% to 48% of all serious golfers have experienced the yips. Golfers who have played for more than 25 years appear most prone to the condition. My experience is that it can strike golfers of any age. I have helped junior golfers aged 15 and 16 who presented with the yips.

The condition is also experienced by snooker players, bowlers in cricket and pitchers in baseball and many other sports and pastimes.

The 2-3 different types of Yips are :

  1. Focal dystonia
    Misfiring of neurones in the sensorimotor cortex.
  2. Significant emotional event
  3. Chronic Performance anxiety

Focal dystonia

Neurological disorder involving misfiring of neurones in the sensorimotor cortex.

This type of yips is thought to affect only a small percentage of total yips sufferers around 7 % according to Dr Debbie Crews who has run several studies on putting yips.

It has an unknown cause.  There is initially no anxiety associated with this type however many people with this type can go on to develop anxiety as a result of having the golf yips for a while.
The main treatment is changing the muscles used to make the movement. For example using a very different putting grip and or stroke, when its possible to do this, it can work well, sadly this is not always possible depending on the specific movement affected. Its harder to do for chipping or driving for example.

Significant emotional event

This is when we have an emotionally strong reaction while we are making the chip, putt or drive. We have all experienced moments on the golf course where we felt strongly embarrassed or angry or disappointed. The reason for the emotional reaction will vary greatly but the fact that we have a strong emotional reaction and our brains register this as an important event to be avoided again is what counts in terms of the yips.

The brain at an unconscious level then remembers these situations while putting or chipping and automatically goes into a fearful state ( sometimes we don’t even notice this) because our thinking brain goes blank as we enter a state of fight, flight or freeze which is an old evolutionary safety mechanism. The freeze phase is particularly associated with our thinking going blank.

Our deeper survival mechanism is saying don’t do this it is dangerous and the conflict between this and  what we consciously want to do causes the brain to misfire during the movement. YIP

Aynsley Smith  at the Mayo Sports Medical Centre, Minnesota came to the conclusion that a major cause of the yips was extreme anxiety. They suggested that the feelings of anxiety resulted in an increase in self- awareness and attention to the performance itself. In effect, paralysis by analysis. This is another aspect of the yips.

Are you at risk of developing the yips ?  How bad is are your yips ? Download this test to find out.

Test how likely you are to develop the yips with this helpful quiz from Dr J Rowe’s book “Energy Psychology and the Yips” 

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