Golf Swing Yips – part 1
SMOOTHING THE FULL SWING YIPS
Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP
You knew it had to happen. For readers of my articles in these pages, you know that I have a special affinity for those poor souls afflicted with the yips. The responses from “yipsters” and “chipsters” have been gratifying. They have overcome their flinches and, as importantly, soothed their tormented psyches.
Just about every day I receive emails from golfers throughout the world who experience some type of yips. I wish you could read some of these heart-wrenching stories. They have lost control of the fine motor skills necessary for playing solid golf. It is like some kind of demon is in control of their bodies and minds. They are embarrassed by their ineptness and frustrated with the inability to maintain control. Beyond that, the yips have sapped the joy out of playing the game they love.
From the systems we have created, golfers of all abilities have learned how to better accept, respond, and even overcome their putting and chipping yips. However, there is still one variant which has never been formally addressed…until now. It is the full swing yips. You knew it had to happen!
THE TANGLED WEB OF THE FULL SWING YIPS
The full swing yips are a relatively rare form of this performance affliction. They take on some very specific forms. Some full swing yipsters (whom I call “swingsters”) are unable to take back the club. They are literally frozen over the ball. Other swingsters shutter during the takeaway. Still others freeze at the top of the swing. Others “hitch” (one of my swingster’s term) on the way down. Finally, some uncontrollably flinch at impact, raising up as if they are afraid to hurt the ball.
Each of the three major types of yips are unique and separate unto themselves. I have very rarely seen golfers who have, say, the putting and pitching yips. The full swing yips have quite distinct dynamics. Whereas the putting and chipping yips are subtle and covert, the full swing yips are obvious and overt. They are almost violent. In teaching and playing pros’ circles, the full swing yips are that “dirty little secret” to which is rarely admitted, much less discussed and addressed.
In a game where the full swing is the visual and symbolic hallmark of mechanical mastery, yipping is embarrassing. Beyond the physical flinches, the mental and emotional responses become almost agonizing. Swingsters constantly struggle and eventually become ever-rationalizing, discouraged, and even dour. Indeed, the full swing yips create a tangled web.
The more swingsters try to combat them, the more these yips control through elusiveness. At the other extreme, trying to ignore them hoping they will go away does not work either. And of course, pressurized playing situations bring them out more dramatically. Swingsters can sense that long before they reach the ball they will yip. They become tunnel-visioned, short of breath, and experience queazy stomachs. In a game where self-control is elementary, it is personally humiliating to have something else in charge.
Like the other two forms of the yips, swingsters tend to be very intelligent and aware. Their abilities to analyze and be sensitive can actually work against them in that they frequently get in their own ways. The yips develop and flourish in the overly analytical and sensitive. Now, it offers little solace for those afflicted with the yips to tell their jesting partners, “I have the yips because I am much more cognizant and perceptive than you clods!” However, just as a swingster’s intellect facilitates the yips, it also provides a pathway out of this morass. (I used these big words here to titillate your intelligence!)
BEFORE WE START…
Okay, are you ready to work? Are your really ready? Are you totally committed to overcoming your yipping? Answer these questions truthfully. I have encountered some swingsters who say they are committed to change, but really aren’t. It is as if their yips have become grudging friends…like a crazy old uncle. They seem to be comfortable with their yips and actually fear giving them up for the unknown. As the old saying goes, “The devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t know.” Do you really want to change?
Even though I have helped a couple hundred yipsters and scores of chipsters, I have only seen 32 swingsters. However, some definite trends have emerged. Here are a couple of important perspectives before we embark.
(1) Believe the full swing yips can be overcome. This process is usually long, nonlinear, and even illogical. AND they can be conquered.
(2) You have to let go of your pride, self-image, and old ego attachments of how you used to swing. Accept that you will have to learn new ways of swinging and playing the game.
(3) Convince yourself that you are doing battle not only with those yips, but with your mind as well. Part of this struggle will be in direct confronting. However, a big part of this battle will also be in learning how to accept, allow, and remain detached.
THE DUALITIES OF HANDLING THE FULL SWING YIPS
There are four core dimensions in overcoming the full swing yips. I have found that each of these dimensions needs to be addressed in two almost antithetical ways. That is, you will have to develop almost contradictory techniques within each dimension. Rest assured that one of these mutually exclusive techniques will be effective for each yipping situation you encounter.
Before you proceed, please one word of warning: as you read through these strategies, resist the temptation to apply all of them at once. This will only exacerbate your yipping. Diligently read each of these dimensions three times. Then exclusively emphasize the first for a full two weeks. Then work on the second. Next month I will present the third and fourth dimensions. This will give you time to completely understand and implement the first two. In this manner, you will build an interlocking system of your new game.
Part 2: Golf Swing Yips-2
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