The Real Cause Of The “Yips”

The Yips According To Research By Debbie Crews

You probably know what it feels like to have the yips. You also understand how the yips can ruin your golf game.

But you, most likely, have no inkling as to how the yips appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere–and why they are so hard to shake.

Understanding the development of the yips can provide insight into overcoming the pesky problem.

In an article in The New Yorker, “What’s behind the condition that every golfer dreads?” David Owen explores the cause of the yips and, interestingly, concludes it is not anxiety.

Related Article: What Causes Yips Symptoms?

Owen interviewed sport psychology consultant Debbie Crews to gain a better perspective as to the origins of the yips.

Crews believes the difference between those golfers experiencing the yips and composed golfers was not the level of anxiety they felt, but how successful they were at remaining focused on the task.

In essence, you can be nervous and still sink putts! In fact, every golfer experiences some level of “nerves” prior to a shot, but the yips occur when you focus on potential outcomes of the shot.

Crews differentiated choking from the yips. Crews believes anxiety causes choking but a lack of focus leads to the yips. Crews believes that anxiety can worsen the effects of the yips but it’s not the cause.

Sports psychologist Christian Marquardt agrees with Crews’ assessment that the yips are a result of a misplaced focus. Marquardt stated the yips are caused by thinking about the future.

Marquardt uses a tennis example to prove his point about how focus leads to the yips.

MARQUARDT: “In tennis yipping is possible only with serves and with shots like the return of a high lob, because, unlike other shots, both leave lots of time for thinking. While you are in the game, you will normally not have a chance to develop the yips, because you just need to react.”

Try these tips to manage the yips:

  • Tip #1: You need to be aware where you put your focus. If you are not, when your focus drifts to future outcomes, you will be unable to counter the yips.
  • Tip #2: You should stay focused on your preshot/preputt routine: select club, align your shot, image your shot, commit to your shot, perform the set up routine, and then hit your shot. Following a routine helps keep your mind focused on what you are doing and not the ‘what ifs.’

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus once said, “If you set up correctly, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing.”

If you are struggling with the yips, a mental game coach can help you get back on track and help you improve your golf game.

Overcome The Yips and Enjoy Golf Again!

Golf Yips

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.

Breaking The Yips Cycle: How to Putt, Chip, And Pitch Freely and Enjoy Playing Golf Again

What are Golf Psychology Students Saying?

“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.”
~Ian Dodd


Download Our FREE Anti-Yips Putting Drills

Do you spend most of your practice time trapped by stroke or mechanics on the practice green?

Are you unsure how to practice to hep you overcome the putting yips?

Golfers: Learn how to putt with freedom using proven putting drills!

Download our FREE putting report and drills to help you unlock your putting potential today!

What are golfers saying about our putting yips drills?

“I went on to the putting green right after receiving your mail. What a great feeling of freedom. No tense at all, smiling and more consistent than ever before. I have great rounds during the years, but you have taken me to a new level with you tips for the yips. I am very grateful – if you visit Denmark I will invite you out for dinner.”
~Søren Meinertsen, Denmark

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.

3 thoughts on “The Real Cause Of The “Yips””

  1. Putting used to be a strong part of my game until a playing partner tave me some unsolicited advice and now I jab short putts and also follow the ball with my eyes/head thereby putting offline

    I’m having at least 7 to 10 x 3 putts per round and have lost my confidence

    I need help, please


    • You would start by working on your distance control or touch. Does not solve the jab, but easier to make a 1 ft putt compared to a 4 ft putt.


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