Learn about what causes these involuntary wrist spasms that often frustrate golfers.
The 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 the yips due to a neurological condition affecting specific muscles (focal dystonia).
Changing the way you perform the affected task might help you find relief from the yips. For example, a right-handed golfer might try putting left-handed.
The most common symptom associated with the yips is an involuntary muscle jerk, although some people experience tremors, twitches, spasms or freezing.
In some people, the yips are a type of focal dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions during a specific task. It's most likely related to overuse of a certain set of muscles, similar to writer's cramp. Anxiety worsens the effect.
Some athletes become so anxious and self-focused — overthinking to the point of distraction — that their ability to execute a skill, such as putting, is impaired. "Choking" is an extreme form of performance anxiety that may compromise a golfer's or any athlete's game.
The yips tend to be associated with:
Because the yips may be related to overuse of specific muscles, a change of technique or equipment may help. Possible strategies include:
While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in sports medicine.
You may want to write a list that includes:
For yips, some questions to ask your doctor may include:
Your doctor may ask detailed questions about how and when your symptoms occur. He or she may also want to observe your putting stroke. But because the yips occur most often under tournament conditions, it may be impossible to demonstrate the yips on command.
Questions your doctor has for you might include:
December 22nd, 2020