Yips are involuntary wrist spasms that occur most commonly when golfers are trying to putt. However, the yips can also affect people who play other sports — such as cricket, darts and baseball.
It was once thought that the yips were always associated with performance anxiety. However, it now appears that some people have yips that are caused by a focal dystonia, which is a neurological dysfunction affecting specific muscles.
Some people have found relief from the yips by changing the way they perform the affected task. For example, a right-handed golfer might try putting left-handed.
The involuntary movement associated with the yips may:
The yips may result from neurological factors, psychological factors or a combination of both.
A combination of factors
Neurological yips are associated with:
Psychological yips can be a problem at any age and experience level. When you start to have episodes of the yips, you lose confidence, worry about recurrence and feel anxious whenever you have to putt. These reactions can perpetuate the cycle — your increased yips-related anxiety makes your symptoms worse.
Preparing for your appointment
While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in sports medicine.
What you can do
For yips, some questions to ask your doctor may include:
What to expect from your doctor
Questions your doctor has for you might include:
Treatments and drugs
Because the yips may be related to overuse of specific muscles, a change of technique or equipment may help. Possible strategies include:
In the cross-handed grip, shown here, place your left hand below your right hand. Keep your thumbs vertically aligned. This grip applies to right-handed golfers. You need to adjust the grip if you ...
In the Langer grip, shown here, you place your left hand low on the putter shaft and align the shaft along your left forearm. Use your right hand to grab your left forearm slightly above the wrist. ...
In the sidesaddle grip, shown here, face the hole with the ball on the right side of your body. Use your left hand to grip the putter near its top. Place your right hand lower down the putter shaft, ...
Last Updated: 2011-05-03
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