Tips For Overcoming The Yips
This past week, at the Phoenix Open, Tiger Woods not only missed the cut, but he had the highest score of his professional career.
He posted an 82. If you had told any golf pros or fans that Tiger Woods would be in such poor form 10 years ago, no one would believe you.
What happened to one of America’s top golfers? Did he forget how to play golf? Is he affected by the chipping yips?
The yips are one of the hardest challenges some golfers face. Yips can be very frustrating and career-ending.
What are the “chipping yips”? Chipping yips occur when a golfer has an uncontrollable jerk or flinch at the ball before impact. This will cause a player to chip poorly and without full control.
I believe that yips often come from a place of fear, which can be fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, etc. Often when players are afraid of missing a shot, they over-control their swing, which is a culprit of yips.
Although, I can’t be positive that Woods has the chipping yips without talking with him about the issue, I can tell he is struggling mentally in his golf game.
When Woods was asked if his problems in chipping are a mental game issue, he stated, “It is mental to an extent because the physical pattern is different. So obviously when the physical pattern is different, the trust is not quite there. I’m not bottoming out in the same spot. Yeah, to an extent, yes, it is, but I need to physically get the club in a better spot.”
He knows that his lack of trust on the course is affecting his game in tournaments.
Is Woods being too technical with his swing? Has he lost confidence because he makes too many changes to his swing and coaching?
His lack of confidence may stem from his back problems and his lack of tournament play time.
If he is suffering from the yips, he could use some mental coaching to help his golf game.
Here are some tips to help golfers overcome the yips:
- Remember the times you played successfully and rehearse what it felt like to play freely.
- Trust in your swing or stroke. Avoid searching for a secret answer and then over-controlling your swing.
- Focus on the process of preparation (performance cues in your routine) instead of focusing on the result.
- Identify the fear that is affecting your game and learn how to address it head on. Fear of failure is often at work with the chipping or putting yips.
If you are currently struggling with the yips, the best way to overcome your fear is to seek help from a mental game coach.
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