Yips - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Yips : Basic Overview

Yips is the occurrence of involuntary wrist spasms which are caused basically in golfers during putting. However, Yips is also known to affect people who play cricket, darts and baseball as well.

Earlier, it was thought that anxiety effects only people suffering from performance anxiety. However, research has proved that some people who suffer from Yips do so due to focal dystonia; which is a neurological dysfunction affecting the muscles. Yips can be easily treated by changing the way in which a particular task is being performed. For instance, people putting from right hand can try left hand putting in order to treat the condition. 

Causes of Yips

In certain patients, Yips is caused due to focal dystonia – a condition which causes the involuntary muscles to contract during a specific task. Yips can also be caused due to overuse of a specific set of muscles, just as in case of writer’s cramp. Anxiety is also known to worsen the effect of the condition.

Certain athletes who tend to become anxious and self focused due to over thinking can affect their ability to execute and putt. 

Symptoms and Risk Factors for Yips

One of the most common symptoms of Yips is the involuntary jerking of the muscles. In some cases, tremors, twitches, spasms as well as freezing are certain other symptoms of the condition.

The following people are at an additional risk of contracting Yips:

  • People above the age of 50
  • People experienced at playing golf
  • Handicapped people

Treatment and Drugs for Yips:

Since Yips is caused due to the overuse of specific muscles, change in the technique or equipment can help greatly in order to improve the condition. Certain strategies for the treatment of the condition are as follows:

  1. Changing of the Grip: This technique is known to work well for many golfers. This treatment option can help, as it changes the muscles for putting the stroke. However, if Yips is being caused due to performance anxiety, changing the grip does not help.
  2. Using a different putter: Using a longer putter has been recommended as it allows the person to use more arms and shoulders and less of the hands and the wrist. Putters are available in the market which are designed in such a way so as to provide a special grip in order to stabilize the hands and the wrists.
  3. Mental Skills: This includes techniques such as relaxation, visualization as well as positive thinking in order to reduce the anxiety and to increase the concentration and ease the anxiety caused due to yips. 
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