The yips is something which should not be taken lightly and certainly not ignored. It has been known to end careers, both in golf and other sports and it has also forced people to stop playing and enjoying their favourite hobby.
The yips can see golfers missing chip shots by huge amounts or perhaps more commonly missing putts from just one foot away from the hole. Bernhard Langer and Ben Hogan are good examples of two excellent golfers who have struggled with the yips on the putting green.
Researchers are undecided as to whether the yips is a neurological problem or a psychological issue but if you are suffering, we have some tips which may help.
Sometimes, the yips occur in one hand or the other and you can take the putter in each hand individually and see which one has the problem. Once you have identified which hand is causing the issue, try gripping the club tighter with the other hand and loosening the grip with the problem hand.
This can help to minimise the impact of the yip.
If you have the yips, try practicing your putting stroke in slow motion, as you may be able to complete the swing successfully at a slower pace. Start by practicing the swing slowly and then build up the speed until you are swinging at an acceptable pace but one which keeps the yip under control.
If you are suffering from the yips when putting, a great way to take your mind off it is by thinking about something else when making the stroke.
What can you see on the green around the golf ball? Ask yourself what type of grass it could be or see if you can spot a divot which has been repaired. Having something else to look at and think about as you settle in to making your putt can be a good way to forget about the yips and produce a smoother swing.
Another way to take your mind off the shot, regardless of whether it is a putt, chip or longer shot is to get your brain working on something else. Set yourself a challenge such as completing a times table or counting backwards from a high number. Say it in your head as you are about to start your swing because you cannot think about that and the mechanics of your swing at the same time.
This may help you to execute your swing without the yips getting in the way.
A final way to help cure the yips is to not look at the golf ball. This may sound crazy but simply looking at the golf ball can be the reason why the demons start circling in your mind and your swing.
Instead, try looking where you want the chip or putt to finish instead of the ball. If you are facing a long putt, look at where the ball will start breaking on the green for example.
Looking away from the ball may seem like a severe step to take but if you are struggling with the yips when putting or chipping, it may help you a great deal.