Fix the Golf Swing Yips – part 2

1. TRUST YOUR SWING YET DEVELOP A “YIP-PROOF STROKE.”  It has become a cliché to trust your swing.  However, most swingsters do not deeply trust what they have.  They have omnipresent little doubts and always seem to be tweaking something.  These patterns eventually lead to flinches and freezes.  The bowling great Billy Welu advised, “Trust is a must or your game is a bust.”  Think right now:  what does it really mean to totally trust your swing?  Take your time and specifically answer this question to your satisfaction.  Your answers are important.  They provide a foundation for not only implicitly trusting your swing, but deeply believing in yourself again.
During this time, you might want to take a series of lessons from a trusted teaching pro who understands your predicament.  At the very least, these lessons will confirm some essentials about your swing.  Feeling solid with your fundamentals can go a long way to resisting the yips.  Your pro may find a couple things to alter.  You may also learn some new shots.  Remind yourself that these mechanical emphases are the building blocks to a trustworthy and repeatable swing.
As you rediscover the essentials of the full swing you then have to honor them.  Whether they may be a full takeaway, powerful coil, hands set on top, smooth transition, purposeful tempo, or a powerful release, reacquaint yourself with your core swing.  Then create one (AND ONLY ONE!) swing cue which encapsulates your core swing.  During a round emphasize this one swing cue from the first tee shot.  Trust that this cue encompasses everything.  Stop thinking about everything else and throw yourself into this one swing cue.
Believe your core swing will be quite good enough.  Build on your strengths.  As you reinforce your swing it becomes more consistent.  This is good in itself and it helps prevent the yips.
HOWEVER, you also need to develop a backup swing for when the yips seep into your game.  I call this a “yip-proof swing” (YPS).  This swing won’t look as nice and the ball won’t go as far, but it will hold up under the stress of the yips.
Typically, this YPS is shorter and has less moving parts than your full swing.  Such a swing relies more on your larger muscle groups instead of the smaller (and more susceptible) muscle groups of the arms.  Develop an abbreviated three-quarter, punch, or knockdown swing which can be used in a pinch.  Have your hands lead during the downswing and purposefully accelerate through these shots. You will discover that such a swing is easy…and even mindless…to execute.  And that’s the point.
Employ this yip-proof swing when you feel queazy and need to survive a shot.  Punch, swipe, or even bunt the ball down the fairway.  This is not giving up.  Rather, it is a positive response to the yips.
So rely on your full swing until you feel the onset of the yips.  In such situations, automatically and unemotionally shift to your yip-proof swing.  Don’t think nor fret.  Just do it.  Succeeding with your YPS will distance yourself from yipping.  Many times you can return to your regular swing in a hole or two.  Even if you have to stay with the YPS, recognize that this a victory in that you have successfully coped with the yips.  And each time you cope with the yips you weaken them and empower yourself.
Think of these two types of swings as different performance “gears.”  Like a race car, you automatically shift between these two swing gears depending on the situation.
B. SWING RELATIVELY EASY YET OCCASIONALLY TAKE A RIP AT ONE.  Trusting your swing means tuning into your optimal rhythm.  A rhythmical swing is a repeatable swing.  It also holds up under stress.  Finally, smooth swing rhythm helps connect mind and body.
What is the ONE point of your full swing from which your rhythm emanates?  Whether it is in the forward press, a long takeaway, complete turn, an uncoiling of the hips, starting down slowly, firing the rear hip and elbow simultaneously, or even posing on the followthrough, find one emphasis on which your rhythm depends.  Feel this and think this.
Rhythmical swings which hold up throughout a round are grounded in swinging relatively easy.  At this level one is more apt to release the club and make consistent contact.  Such swings tend to be consistently performed.  Hence all rounds should be approached with swinging relatively easy.  Battling swingsters typically try to force and blast all swings during a round.  An important step to regaining overall control is to learn again how to swing relatively easy.
How does one find this optimal swing zone?  In human performance there is an important distinction between optimal and maximal.  Not all full swings should be executed full-out.  I define a “100% maximal swing” as the hardest you can swing while remaining in balance.  Given this, at what percent of maximum is your optimum swing?  As you discover and define it, refer to it this way:  an 85% full swing.  Whatever your number, always attach the word “full” after it.  This will remind you that your optimal swing rhythm is NOT 92% OF a full swing, but a full swing AT 92% power.  This is a critical distinction.
So during a round you can keep your mind engaged by “calibrating” the full swing on particular shots.  For instance, on my first drive or approach shot, I may calibrate these early swings to be at “76 full.”  On the important tee shot on the first par 3, I might calibrate this at a “90 full.”  Or if I am playing into the wind or to a back pin, I might calibrate this at an “84 full.”  Or whenever I am engaging my YPS, I might calibrate this at a “79 full.”  After you find your optimal number, experiment with various swing speeds on the range.  Predict each swing rhythm and determine if you can perform it.  This exercise will empower your swinging, ballstriking, and even overall control.
HOWEVER, at certain times during a round you may choose to swing all-out on a shot.  When you determine it is worth the risk, swing one at “100% full.”  On a drive on a par 5, going for that green in two, or wailing one downwind, it is okay to occasionally calibrate a “96 full” swing.  Just make sure that the couple subsequent full swings are back down into your optimal zone.  You don’t want to become giddy and start swinging out of your shoes on every shot.
Especially with the onset of the full swing yips, one good tactic is to go all-out on a swing.  Show the yips who is the boss!  Give yourself plenty of margin for error and go after it.  You see, it is a natural reaction for swingsters to become more hesitant and even timid.  Throw in what I call a “What The Heck” swing to reassert control.  Don’t care where the ball goes.  Such a WTH swing is the best way to confront any fears you have about missing a shot.  Even with your Yip-Proof Swing, occasionally calibrate this at a 95 full level.  Shrug your shoulders, clearly commit yourself, say “What The Heck,” and let it loose!
Swing rhythm can be felt and sensed, but it also can be thought and calibrated.  So feel your rhythm, ground you swings in your optimal zone, calibrate each one, and occasionally throw in an all-out flail!  Rhythm will bring you back and see you through.
Swingsters, there is hope.  There are answers.  Believe it.  You are now on your way!

  • Mark says:

    Hi Craig
    As go to start my downswing I jerk up,can’t seem to stop,this results in an over the top swing do I have the yips ?
    Thanks Mark

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Mark, Generally speaking, any involuntary movement has been called the yips. Whatever we label it, you only care about the fix. Read Ron’s tip in the comments and mine to see if there’s something there that could help.
      Greens and Fairways,

      Craig

  • Hi Guys/Girls
    My name is Dean and I have the Swing Yips. Before the SY’s set in people would watch me on the range and say..Wow, you have such a nice swing..Even people just walking by would say “You have a Great swing.”
    Tracing my situation..About 2 months ago my Mom became Ill with Pulmunary Fibrosis= Stress. With limited time at the range=hurried. Freinds at the range saying..I like your Old swing Better=Performance Anxiety. This is what i feel led to my Swing Yips.

    What is it like? There are not enough F***** Adjectives to describe this rare demonic affliction. Starting my swing is not a Problem it’s the transition. On the way down I let go of the club with 1 hand and violently Stop my downswing. Close freinds watch in Complete Horror…and their afraid they’re going to catch this disease and treat me like a Leppar. Looking away like I’m a circus Freak.

    I’m too afriad to play golf with anyone..Guys I know at the club on the Range say, “Hey Dean hit my new driver..” I say I don’t want to scratch it. I always hit thier new drivers and would blast it out there to prove to them The New Driver is a Good One.

    So after reading stories online and what Craig wrote I now have a plan..And I know its going to work.

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Very good Dean. This sounds a lot like Charles Barkley. Did you watch the videos I put up here: http://golfshortcutsecrets.com/videos/from-range-to-course-part-1/.

      All yips come from stored up stress. When have you ever heard of a young person getting the yips? They don’t.

      Clear the stress, resolve and release old emotions and the unconscious mind will stop interfering with your golf game.

      Greens and fairways,

      Craig

  • Ron Read says:

    Dear Craig, after months of swinging slowly no success,it even crept into the slow swing.As a final effort to beat this curse I am taking a year off golf in the hope it will clear the mind and in twelve months time I might be able to enjoy the game again. Thanks for understanding the problem very few people do,Ron

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Ron,
      Sorry to hear about that. You might consider doing some kind of “release work” with a local practitioner during your year off. Dedicate it to whatever might be holding you back in golf and life. Some ideas: hypnotherapist, accupunture, massage, reiki master, etc.
      Greens and fairways,

      Craig

  • Ron Read says:

    Dear Craig, thank you for replying, I went to two hypnotist and did not feel any benefit in as much i was not receptive to their method. .One of them offered post hypnotic suggestion whereby i had to think of a word or some object as I addressed the ball and this might work and at first it seemed to but it did not last more than a few holes.What is really frustrating is it does not happen hitting in my net in the garden and I even try to pause to create tthe yip and it just feels wrong.On the course I can turn round and hit a ball into some woods or waste ground with no yips at all,but when address the hole I lock at threequarter swing,it is totally weird. i have read that musicians get affected in some way as well,and being an amateur piano player I recollect my first music teacher a concert pianist telling how you can play a piece of music and you suddenly play a wrong note and you keep making the error,the remedy is to play the passage very slowly over and over .With this in mind I am now swinging very slowly and although it feels strange it seems to work and seems to beat the yip,
    i am just hoping that I will eventually speed up back to my normal rhythm,would you say I was on the right track,Ron

    • Craig says:

      Hi Ron, Sounds like you are on the right track, yes!
      Greens and fairways,
      Craig

  • Ron Read says:

    about 10 years ago i started to get the back swing yips .Playing off single figures i soon went out to 18hcp,i lost all rhythm and would lunge at the ball trying to hit it. I could hit the tee with my old rhythm,hit an airball,or put a stone on the tee no problem but when a ball was teed up my swing locked for no apparent reason at threequarter swing and i just could not bring myself to bring the club back and hit the ball.I could swing the club in front of the ball ,over it,and past it but immediately i went to hit it i locked,as if someone had held it on the takeaway.It affects every club except the putter and is not so bad on the wedge.Have tried everything,counting,music playing in ears,short swing,long swing,having couple of pints to relax,hypnotist,and any other advice offered to no avail.The most frustrating part of it is that in the nets it does not happen at all,only on the course,any advice appreciated,Ron

    • Craig says:

      Hi Ron,

      As I wrote before in the comments above, serious yips are from stored difficult emotions in the cellular tissues. I’m curious to know what you did in hypnosis. I’ve heard many people tell me that “hypnosis didn’t work” and then I ask what the therapy was like and it’s no wonder. Just being hypnotized and getting suggestions that you are going to have a nice smooth swing will rarely fix the yips. It’s much more complex than that and almost always involves some personal beliefs and issues outside of golf. The yips are communication from your unconscious mind that something needs to be dealt with or released. You’re lucky that your unconscious mind didn’t create an illness like fibromyalgia or IBS or chronic pain to get your attention like many people who come to see me. You’ve got find a practitioner who really knows what they’re doing and even then you may need some physical release work.
      Craig

  • Craig says:

    Awesome, thanks Duncan!
    Greens and fairways,
    Craig

  • Duncan Kirk says:

    About a year ago a very nice looking woman-Top 100 Instructor,Golf Mag, baseball on the cover[?]- offfered this tip to hit the ball straight. On the down swing bring the right elbow inside the right hip-this results in an ‘in to out’ swing-Oh Yeah, it does! Flight is straight as a string, very repeatable line. So far, I’ve not figured out how to ‘go over the top’ while meeting the ball ‘in to out’ on the sweet spot.

  • Craig says:

    Hi Iggy,
    There are many possible reasons why the OTT problem is occurring. It could be that your body is telling you something about an adjustment it wants to make to protect itself…or, your mind is trying to reset you back to a scoring setpoint. What’s more important is how you fix it. I would first start with a drill. There are many of them. Since I’m not a swing instructor, I would defer you to one of them. I found this for you:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HFI/is_2_53/ai_82625901/

    If you don’t have any pain in working the drill and can fix it on the range but not on the course then you’ve got a mental problem to deal with. That means there’s some interference to clear. Self hypnosis is the answer there.

    You might have just developed a sloppy habit from casual playing. The answer is to get back to intentional play using your unconscious mind. That’s everything I teach. A robotic preshot routine can undo bad habits and prevent new ones.
    Greens and fairways,
    Craig

  • DEAR CRAIG
    I HAVE READ ALL YOUR INFO ON THE SWING VS YIPS. I DON’T HAVE THE YIPS.
    IN A ROUND I PLAYED THE OTHER DAY I WAS VERY CONSISTANT IN ONE PART OF MY DRIVER SWING. I KEPT COMING OVER THE TOP AND GETTING NO GOOD CONTACT WITH THE BALL. THIS JUST CREPT IN TO MY DRIVES. I DO OK WITH FW WOODS AND IRONS. ANY HELP TO SOLVE WHY I KEEP COMING OVER THE TOP WOULD BE GREAT. I AM JUST COMING BACK TO PLAYING AS I HAD A HIP REPLACEMENT 17 AUG. I AM 75 AND HAD ABOUT A 15 HCP BEFORE MY OPERATION. THIS OVER THE TOP JUST CAME OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I PLAYED 18 HOLES FOR MONEY IN A BLITZ WE HAVE.
    PRIOR TO THAT I PLAYED 9 HOLES AT A TIME AND HIT 1-3 BALLS PER SHOT. ANY ADVISE FROM YOU OR WHERE I CAN FIND THE OVER THE TOP ANSWER WOULD BE GREAT. I HAVE IN MY FILES ALL YOUR TIPS VIA EMAIL TO ME. THANKS IGGY.

  • John says:

    Craig,

    My driver and I either work together well, or go opposite ways.

    I do not know if it is what you are writing about, “yips”, or something else. I have though found something that has worked for me and is recommended by some.

    Go to the range, set up as usual, then close your eyes, relax, and easily swing the club back, then forward. Have no swing thoughts, just feel the club go back, then swing it forward. Don’t jerk it back or forward. Let your mental side visualize the club’s backswing as it reaches the “full backswing”, stay relaxed, and allow the club to begin to fall and keep that smooth rythym to the full finish.

    Do that a couple of times, being relaxed and breathing normally.

    Tee up a ball, set up as normal, then close your eyes and use that swing to send the ball into the fairway. Repeat as needed.

    Believe it or not, but you can do the same on the tee box and get very good results.

    When you try this for the first time, it will feel strange and you might even feel like you are in s-l-o-w motion, but the actual results will surprise you.

    The key to all this is let your mind paint the picture of the swing.

    I work in retail store which has a photo department. One of the tasks of that department is having to fill photo cannisters with film. The catch is……….the cannister is in a black bag and you cannot see what you are doing, you have to relax and let your mind tell you what you are doing. I tell new people who are changing film for the first time to close their eyes and let their hands “talk” to them. They are usually very surprised how much information they receive when their eyes are closed, and most are able to change the film with minimum problems.

    Golfers might be very surprised how straight and long a ball can be sent when the eyes are closed and they are not trying to “kill” the ball with their swing.

    John

    • Craig says:

      This is an awesome tip John, thank you very much!

  • Prabhat Kashyap says:

    I am afflicted so badly with the swing yips, that even the backup swing does not work any more. (did work for a month or so)
    Any suggestions ?
    I intend to follow your advice. step 1

    • admin says:

      HI Prabhat,

      For most people, all forms of the Yips cannot be solved with standard advice because the problem is mental/emotional. It’s your body having “stored” the many misses as negative emotions, literally in the tissues of the body. You have to find ways to release that. Hypnosis is the easiest way although I’m sure there are others. I have a 3-part series for the Yips inside my golfselfhypnosis.com membership site. That’s the best I can do for golfers with the Yips.
      Greens and fairways,
      Craig

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