Your Mindset And The Yips When It Means More

Overcoming Golf Yips

Do The Yips Come Out Under Pressure?

Sam recently wrote in to tell me he’s working on my anti-yips practice drills he downloaded. But there is a catch…

He said he can putt well in practice, but in competition, “when the round means something” his right hand is over active.

Here’s what he said:

“The practice drills helped a lot. I have been practicing with your drills during a practice round and I didn’t miss anything within 6 foot. However, in competition I missed 2 or 3 and felt my yip in my right hand take over. The yips are definitely more active when the round means something.”

Once again, more evidence supporting my theory that the yips are mental and not physical–as I’ve suggested over and over.

If you can putt well on the practice green or in practice rounds, but struggle on the course or in tournaments, then the yips is completely a mental game issue!

Why does the round mean something more for Sam? Most likely for Sam and you, golf becomes more important. You want to score well or play to your ability in competition.

What happens when you walk (or ride) from the practice green to the course?

You Might Feel:

  • More pressure and expectations to play well.
  • There is more at stake if your score is published where others can see it.
  • A greater need to have the bragging rights to the low round.
  • The game becomes a treat to one’s ego if you fail (score poorly).
  • You only get once chance to make a putt: no redos like in practice.
  • A need to avoid embarrassment or ridicule.
  • You want to win badly because you are just competitive.

For the most part, all of the above are related to social approval (or worry about social disapproval). Did I miss anything?

When you step on the golf course, the brain misfires because of THREAT! And this leads to tension, over control, or anxiety about outcomes.

That’s when the putter feels like it has a mind of its own!

In order the break the yips cycle:

  1. You have to learn how to putt freely on the course–just like you do on the practice green.
  2. You have to understand your specific threat and what’s at stake for you on the course.
  3. You have to manage your fears about the outcome and the aftermath of not playing your best.
  4. You must let go of the mental scars of missing putts that haunt you.

If you can chip away at these things, you are on the way to breaking the yips cycle, but it’s not an overnight fix or an all or none phenomenon.

And no magic grip or new putter will be an overnight fix.

Related Golf Psychology Articles:

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