How to manage yips in sports?

Yips refers to a state of mental breakdown of an athlete who loses the ability to execute basic skills in their sport of expertise. Lack of command over fine motor skills and psychological distress are primary reasons for yips to set in.

Yips can be experienced by athletes in almost all sports. In cricket, yips are more often associated with bowlers who fail to release the ball in the desired manner at the end of their bowling action. It is very difficult for bowlers to find their peak form again following the yips. There have been instances where players had to retire from the sport due to the effects of yips.

In tennis, yips is associated with the sudden lack of ability to serve. This results in the players committing a string of double faults, thereby giving away free points in the form of double faults to the opponent. Service yips are also known in badminton and these make it difficult for the players to find their rhythm back in the match.

Yips is so far unheard in the growing sport of Pickleball. However, service yips are certainly a possibility even though it is not reported.

While some cases of yips are quickly resolved by a five-minute break or by counselling with the coach, severe forms are usually managed by clinical sports psychology treatment. Additionally, the movements of players may also be studied to understand the points where the motor skills fail to perform. These biomechanics can help in alleviating yips.

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