What is Yips? Its Symptoms Causes and Management

Yips are involuntary spasm of wrist, generally seen among golfers, although may also occur among other sports persons such as cricketers, baseball players etc. Previously experts were in the belief that yips occurs due to performance anxiety during playing, however it can occur due to muscle dystonia of specific muscles due to neurological dysfunction.

Symptoms of yips:

Most common symptom of yips is involuntary muscle jerk, which may be painful. Other symptoms include tremor, spasm, twitching etc.

What cause yips?

Anxiety to perform better during playing is an important cause. In some people, it is due to dystonia of some specific muscles at wrist joint and the condition may be worsened by anxiety. The golfer (other other sportsperson) may be so much self focused and anxious that it may actually become a distraction and the player may not be able to perform a task well. Yips may also be due to overuse of some specific muscle during playing for long hours and years.

What are the management options available for yips?

As yips may be due to overuse of some specific muscles and a change in style of play or change in equipment used may provide a solution to muscle spasm associated with yips. Following strategy may be helpful in yips for a player (especially a golfer):

  • Change your grip: this is an important step in preventing and managing yips. This is useful for many golfers, because this cause change of muscles used for gripping the golf club for putting and thereby the muscles that are involved in spasm or dystonia are spared and yips do not occur. Change of grip may be of no use if your yips is due to performance anxiety, for which you need psychological counseling.
  • Change your golf equipment. Change the putter you commonly use. For example, changing to a longer putter may be useful, because longer putter allows you to use your arms and shoulder more and thereby reducing use of your wrist and hands, which is helpful for preventing spasm or yips. You may also use golf equipment of different manufacturer which are different from your original equipment.
  • Train your mind. Get help from professional psychologist and get training form relaxation, positive thinking. These will help you reduce your performance anxiety and help you concentrate better and prevent yips.

If you suffer from yips, the ideal person to consult is a sports medicine specialist. Before you consult a sports medicine specialist, be sure to keep all the history of the problem and also about the symptoms you have.

There is nothing to be worried about the problem (yips), as it is not a real troublemaker for your favorite sport (golf). Relax and do not be anxious and play your natural game.

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