The dreaded Yips

PGA Fellow Professional

The dreaded Yips

The dreaded Yips

The dreaded Yips is a short blog that briefly explains what the Yips is and how to control it.

So what are the Yips?

The Yips is a sudden loss of motor skills that many athletes experience.

It is is now a common phrase throughout sport in general especially in Golf, Baseball & Cricket.

In Golf it is usually seen when a player is putting although I have also witnessed this by Chipping & Pitching.

It is often an involuntary shaking or spasm of the hands which usually occurs just before or during the impact.

More often than not, it usually begins to show when the player is under extreme pressure.

This may be a winning putt or the player could just be putting for a bet where the pressure is too great for them.

All cases originate in the mind, it is Psychological, extreme fear, embarrassment and paranoia all lead to the Yips.

Between 25 – 50% of all golfers will experience the Yips at some point during their golfing life.

Famous Golfers that have the Yips

The term was originally coined by Tommy Armour when describing the loss of his skills during putting. It was so bad that he retired from tournament Golf to become a coach instead.

Probably the most famous golfers that have the Yips are:

Bernhard Langer, 2 major wins.

Padraig Harrington, 3 major wins.

Vijay Singh, 3 major wins.

Ernie Els, 4 major wins.

Tom Watson, 8 major wins.

Sadly, the Yips can, all to often, cause a player to give up the game all together but can we control it?

How do we control the Yips?

There are several options that a golfer can try when faced with the dreaded Yips.

  1. Change your Grip.
    Many players choose to swap the position of their hands around (RH player = Left hand below the right)
    This will feel quite odd to begin with but it doesn’t take to much time to learn to develop it.
  2. Change your Putter.
    A poor workman will always blame his tools! Change your putter to a new look.
    This will help you create a fresh start that will present you with new hope.
  3. Change direction.
    This would mean a right handed player should consider using a left handed stroke.
    Seems a little extreme but it is quite easy to learn. Your confidence will go through the roof.
  4. Concentrate on the movement.
    Stop thinking about what might happen when you miss and concentrate on what you are physically doing with the putter.
    Too many players have the image of missing the putt in their minds. Control your thoughts.
  5. Change your focus.
    You may want to try looking in the opposite direction to the hole. Let your body make the stroke!
    Closing your eyes is another way of helping your body & mind separate for a short time.

There are many more swing thoughts, changes, techniques that you can try as a player to overcome the Yips.

Remember that the Yips are not impossible to control.

I would strongly suggest that you contact your local PGA Professional for more advice & information.

You can also try some online help like, Gary Ward.


Main Image by John Hain from Pixabay

What are your thoughts? Do you suffer from the dreaded Yips?

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