In some people, the yips are a type of focal dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions during a specific task. It's most likely related to overuse of a certain set of muscles, similar to writer's cramp. Anxiety worsens the effect.
Some athletes become so anxious and self-focused — overthinking to the point of distraction — that their ability to execute a skill, like putting, is impaired. Choking is an extreme form of performance anxiety that may compromise a golfer's game.
Apr. 25, 2014
- Stacy MA. Handbook of Dystonia. New York, N.Y.: Informa Healthcare; 2012:212.
- Dhungana S, et al. Yips and other movement disorders in golfers. Movement Disorders. 2013;28:576.
- Klampfl MK, et al. How to detect the yips in golf. Human Movement Science. 2013;32:1270.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 31, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.