It Finally Happened, Happened...
It did - didn't it? You know, the "heebie jeebies," the unmentionable - the YIPS. That firecracker going off in your hand (most commonly in your dominant paw, research has shown) in anticipation of impact. The jerky, subconscious-driven flinch attempting to control the direction of the ball, and/or clubhead & clubface. The 'blackout moment' that occurs when 'end of funny-shaped stick in your hand collides with smallish sphere on the ground.'
Yet usually only when it doesn't matter. When there's no consequence. No anxiety, stress or score to keep. Rarely if ever on the driving range, or on or around the practice green, huh? But then again, your practice probably doesn't replicate game-like conditions, does it now (my Train2Trust sessions do - opportunities at bottom of page)? So if you're not truly simulating what's gonna happen on the golf park - why would it transfer? Answer: it wouldn't.
And who knows where the damn ball might end up... might frighten people to even watch you! Or to run for their very lives, due to the erraticness of your shots (like our poor yipper depicted just above, in this wonderful New Yorker cartoon).
Speaking of which, do yourself a favor and click on said image to catch the poignant offering from our man Freddie Mercury, and Queen. Today's title was taken from its lines. Then, roll on back this way for some ideas & insight on how the song's words and message might help you navigate the balky motions that may invade you from time to time (or on a regular basis?) in the games of golf, and life - and some legit remedies...
Yes I Perform Successfully. How's that for a trendy acronym? The heck with the trendy part (we'll leave that to all those who are pandering likes on SM), how about that verbiage as your own personal mantra, yipper or not?
Borrowed from the brilliant Dr. Debbie Crews, who will be with me in a few short days for a seminar and private sessions at Eugene Country Club (details just south of here on your blue-lit screen). She's been part of multiple studies at the Mayo Clinic on the yips, and guess what? There is hope!
You just need to be open to options, possibilities and some new ideas, concepts and strategies. Much like in that other game - life - when things get a little shaky. Adapt, adjust and add some tools to your kit. Listen to your gut when the feeling comes on, welcome it rather than running from it, and try something different. Something different in your set-up/address position (grip, stance, balance, and the like). Something different in the actual motion (direction, tempo - even where your eyes are looking). Something different in your noggin' (mindset, where your attention is, what your goal might be). After all: it is always an inside job).
The alternative? Keep doing what you are doing (how's that working, anyway?), expecting a different result. Yep - everyone's definition of insanity.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad"
Freddie M. was - hence the quirky, humorous and light-hearted lyrics, and accompanying video - dealing with the mental decline he was experiencing as one of the effects of advancing AIDS.
Ooh. Ahh. "I don't want to talk about AIDS. Or sexual preference. Or mental illness. Or the homeless problem plaguing this ever-so wealthy (for some) nation. Or the melting/burning planet. Or the rhetoric being Tweeted out of Washington ("One wave short of a shipwreck")."
Often the yipper's response when it comes to this affliction that drives so many from the game. Denial. Spoken about only in a whisper, in closed quarters, and rarely, at that. Yet like with those other issues aforementioned, just ignoring the symptoms and situations is no solution. Never has been, never will. Sheer cowardice. "Oh dear..."
"Are they trying to tell you something?
You're missing that one final screw
You're simply not in the pink my dear
To be honest you haven't got a clue"
Amen. Pay attention to the 'signs' and take action, boys & girls. Action coming from credible, science/evidence-based persons who have experienced much. As opposed to the posers who have drunk the swanky cool-aide. 'Cause, truth be told - they don't have an effing clue...
Maybe that's the sort of 'mad' you are, or become, when things don't go your way on the links (or sidewalks of daily life). All bad? Not necessarily...
Only the emotions that steal your energy, the ones that bring you down (disappointment, despair, depression) - like our distraught golfer teeing up this paragraph - are hurtful. That madness can bring you energy, vital for performance, if you know how to channel it... And heck - if you looked a little better on the golf course - might help your demeanor, outlook, and overall game :). Click on the stylishly clad chap below to get some ideas from my peeps at Nike Golf.
Dr. Debbie Crews at Eugene Country Club
Not only is Dr. Crews an expert in the yips domain - she is one of the foremost mental and performance coaches in the world. A specialist in training your brain to "better your best" as she like to say. Finding, accepting and nourishing 'who' you are when you play your best, and how to access that person, even when they go and try to hide.
More on Dr. Crews here:
Dr. Debbie Crews is an Adjunct Faculty in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and sport psychology consultant at Arizona State University where she has worked with the Men’s and Women’s golf teams since 1979. She has conducted over 35 years of research on attention in sport, primarily golf (in addition to working with dozens of LPGA/PGA and Champions Tour players), and is the Chair of the World Scientific Congress of Golf.
Dr. Crews was the founding Editor of the International Journal of Golf Science. Her research has been published in scientific journals as well as being featured on Scientific America Frontier and NBC Dateline. She is a Master LPGA instructor, an Ellen Griffith Teaching Award Winner, and serves on the LPGA Education and Research Advisory Board. Dr. Crews was ranked in the Golf Digest Top 50 Women Golf Instructors, and the recipient of the Golf Digest Best Science in Golf Award in 2001. Currently, she is the CEO and Founder of Opti International, a feedback company for performance optimization.
Thursday, August 16, 9 AM - 12 noon.
"Mental Training & Toughness + Yips Management" Seminar
Eugene Country Club Clubhouse
Cost: $75 members; $85 non-members; $50 juniors
Thursday, August 16, 2 PM - 6 PM
Friday, August 17, 9 AM - 2 PM
Individual one-hour sessions with Dr. Crews
Eugene Country Club Teaching Center
Cost: $125 for members; $140 for non-members; $100 for juniors
SOLD OUT - APOLOGIES!
Space available in the Thursday morning seminar.
Non ECC members welcome. RSVP requested, as space is limited.
What's it all about? It's about my two decades of insight gleaned from top neuroscientists, motor learning experts and human performance specialists (as well as my own trial-and-errors as the Guinness World Record Holder in Speedgolf!)
Open to players of all levels.
- Saturday, August 11. Train2Trust Supervised Practice
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM. Place: ECC Teaching Center. Cost: $40 for members/$50 non.
Mad Hatter: "Am I going mad?"
Alice: "Yes, you're mad, bonkers, off your head... but ... I'll tell you a secret... all the best people are."
-- Alice in Wonderland
~ CS ~