How to Beat the Yips and Putting Anxiety

How to Beat the Yips and Putting Anxiety

Golf Psychology and The Putting Yips

Are the yips caused by physical or mental factors? What causes a golfer to get trapped in the yips rut?

Ask golfers about how the yips “magically” appear, and you will get a broad range of answers: nagging injuries, inconsistent practice, too much focus on mechanics, not enough focus on mechanics, lack of concentration, inability to manage anxiety, low confidence, etc.

Further complicating the issue is the information overload of advice and suggestions to overcome the yips.

And so the debate rages on….

There is a bit of truth in most of these perspectives and opinions. Let’s delve into the issue further.

First, there are some basic truths everyone can agree with:

  • The yips are real.
  • The yips interfere with a golfer’s ability to perform optimally.
  • The yips are frustrating as heck.

Now that we have established some common ground regarding the yips, let’s look at the impact of anxiety.

PGA golfer Michael Kim has an interesting perspective on the yips. In Kim’s view, even if the yips began with a physical trigger (such as an injury), it’s anxiety that keeps a golfer stuck in the yips cycle.

The yips are involuntary muscle twitches caused by a golfer worrying about yipping during the shot.

Take, for example, Tiger Woods. Woods battled the yips after a back injury.

KIM: “Tiger [Woods] could rarely ever hit the first fairway unless it was an iron, and even had the chipping yips for a while.”

However, countless other golfers have not developed the yips while dealing with back injuries.

KIM: “Our brain will always try to look for worst-case scenarios because that was the best way for survival back in our hunter-gatherer days.”

Kim noticed that Woods only yips when Woods tries to chip. The fact that most golfers only experience the yips in one part of their game, such as driving, chipping, or putting, points to anxiety as the primary factor contributing to the yips.

Therefore, working to manage anxiety is a major part of recovering from the yips.

You can overcome anxiety by understanding your specific fear when yipping.

The only fear if the fear of yipping… “What if I yip during my swing?” This thinking leads to the anxiety.

Instead of thinking about missing or the tension in your arms, focus on your breathing by taking several slow, deep breaths.

Focus on execution in the moment–hitting the ball down you line–not the negative outcome of missing.

Shrugging your shoulders or releasing tension in your shoulders assists in helping you feel less tight with the club in your hand.

Once you can manage anxiety, you will feel more confident over the ball and have a sense of control over your game.

When you are in the middle of the yips, your stress level may feel unbearable…

Remind yourself that it’s only a game and not as huge as you make it out to be. Let go of what you think your playing partners might think if you miss a short putt.

Most of the time, others are not judging you at the level you think they are.

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Discover How to Break the Yips Cycle

Breaking the Golf Yips Cycle

know you are frustrated with your putting, chipping, or pitching and have considered giving up the game you once loved to play. But before you make that decision, read what I have to say about how I help golfers overcome the yips….

The first place to begin to break the Yips Cycle is to admit that the yips are a mental issue. Stabbing or flinching at impact are symptoms of bigger issues: fear and over control. Changing your grip, putter, swing, club, or routine are only temporary Band-Aids to a mental game issue.

Breaking The Yips Cycle” is a complete brain dump of the TOP NINE mental training sessions I do with my personal coaching students to help them overcome the yips and play with freedom again!

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