Do You Have an Avoidance Mindset in Putting?
Mark wrote in recently to share his view of the yips cycle…
“The biggest thing I see is a shift in mindset from opportunity (chance to make birdie) to fear (just don’t 3 putt),” Mark said.
Well said. I totally agree… I call this shift into an avoidance mindset.
You focus more on avoiding missing, not three-putting, or making a bogey. You move from thinking about making to trying to not miss.
It’s the same thing as focusing only on the trouble off the tee box and thinking about avoiding hitting it into the junk or trees. This leads to steering and guiding the club.
“You get to the point where you don’t even bother to focus on the line, actually making the putt, and are instead just worried about making a decent stroke, making par and moving on,” Mark said.
“No approach shot is good enough to make you feel comfortable unless the ball is sitting next to the hole. It might start as a fear of missing putts, but it becomes an even greater fear of making a yip stroke in front of your playing partners.”
Yes, when you focus on the outcome or a negative outcome, your fear of missing increases. The worry is about the outcome of missing a putt, feeling disappointed, and thinking you can’t play up to your ability.
But the outcome is just one part of the fear. In the yips cycle, it’s the “aftermath” of the outcome where the majority of the fear is directed.
Most of the time, the aftermath is about what missing means to you:
- Will I look silly?
- Will I embarrass myself?
- Will my playing partners think I suck at golf?
- Will I ever play up to my ability on the course?
- Will I still have fun if I can’t shoot a decent score?
For most golfers, it’s usually about two types of fears:
- The fear of not playing (scoring) to one’s ability
- The fear of embarrassment or worrying about what others think
How do you overcome these fears that cause you to tense up and freeze during your stroke or shot?
First, you have to retrain your mind to focus on what you want to do instead of avoiding missing or three-putting.
This means focusing on a positive image in your mind about the process. This can be focusing on feeling a solid putt, controlling your distance, or hitting the ball on your intended line.
As I wrote last week, you do not want to focus on MAKING A GOOD STROKE!
Second, you have to get past the fear of the aftermath.
In most cases, these fears are irrational, such as, “Others will not respect or like me if I can’t play a good game,” or a similar irrational belief.
If you do better with the first and second tasks above, this will help you free up the putter. When you can free up the putter a bit, you gain a bit of confidence in your method.
When you gain more confidence in your method and feel some freedom back in the stroke, you can turn this into more trust.
And keep in mind, one jerky chip or putt, does not mean you will continue that way all day unless you believe this. Don’t buy into the idea that the first tense shot must mean you have caught the yips for the day!
Learn more about how to break the yips cycle in golf:
Overcome The Yips and Enjoy Golf Again!
Golfers, do you suffer from:
- Anxiety, tension and over control of the stroke or swing?
- Performance anxiety about what others will think?
- Inability to wing the club freely on the course, despite the fact that you can in practice?
Check out: Breaking the Yips Cycle
Golfers: Learn how to overcome the fear that keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle
Instructors: Learn how to give your students the mental game edge.
Coaches: Help your team members play with freedom instead of fear or tension.
What are Golf Psychology Students Saying?
“I am a single digit handicap who has battled the yips for some time. As I applied his methods I have found almost instantaneous success…. I recently shot even par to be medalist in a state qualifier (I missed too shorties to boot), but I just kept playing and my free strokes far outnumbered my bad ones. Thank you for giving me the tools I need to face my demons. I could not recommend his program more highly!”
“I was pleased to find your website and tips to address the mental issues with the yips. Your drills made sense to me. Other people only tackled technique. That isn’t the problem with me as I can stroke them all nicely on the practice putting green. I can even hit the long ones on the course. I will keep working at it and thank you for your interest.”
“I’ve read so many teachings regarding the yips, and you’re right on. I’ve read articles from top 10 teachers who have supposed cures for the yips, and realize, they don’t even know what the yips are… You know what they are, and I believe you know how to cure them. Thank you for your newsletters.”
“Yes! Awesome tips and they worked great. I was having a tough time mentally with putts inside of 4 feet for self imposed fear of missing them. After doing all of your drills I found myself just looking at the hole on the shorts putts similar to a free throw. Seems to be working. Thank you so much!”
Overcome The Yips With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“I write you because it’s been 6 months since I started the program Breaking the Yips Cycle. Before that I was putting with a long putt and due to the ban on anchoring I switched to a short putt and started your program. The yips program has helped me a lot. I have been able to focus on what matters instead of thinking about the outcome or fearing a yippy stroke.”
~Ricardo Abogabir C.
“I’ve had the yips for 30 years. With the anchor ban, I thought I needed to quit golf. It was frustrating hearing golf experts and commentators state that no amateur was going to quit golf because of the anchoring ban. Obviously, these experts don’t know anything about the yips. I’m so glad I found you. Your drills really helped. It might sound silly, but the biggest thing that helped me is knowing that the yips is mental. It might sound crazy, for someone to have the yips for 30 years, and not know it’s mental. I also believe I know my reason for having the yips, and I see how my insecurities in every day life contributed to the yips. Thank you for your help.”
“Two of your drills have been especially helpful: Eyes closed the eyes open and the tap in drill. I have only been able to make short putts for some time with my eyes closed and have been very effective with that. Both drills have improved my overall rhythm and putting success. Only used your drill sequence for one practice session so will step up the routine to 7 days in a row.”
“I wanted to tell you I have broken out of the yips short putt issues. I have won 2 of the last 3 competitions. Right now my putting confidence is sky high. I HAD the putt yips for past 6 years. I contribute the success to two of your drills. First focus hard on the hole, forget about all else. It took awhile to get the 100% focus, but I could see the results coming. Then your advice “Let go and trust your ability.” Immediate result. Wow what a relief. Having putted for so long under yip pressure, I now feel I can be put under extreme pressure to win the club championship. I now look forward to short putts.”