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Curing the Yips - what has worked for you?


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I'm not ashamed to admit it (maybe I should be?), but I've been battling the yips for a good 10 years now. I can't 'shake' them (pun intended). Wanted to start a thread here to find out what has worked for the community to cure this dreaded condition!

I've tried absolutely everything. Grips, mental approach, equipment, different stances (even left handed), you name it. When the time comes to hit that putt, my arms quiver on the through stroke. Every. Time.

If I could rid myself of this not only would I score a lot better, I'd enjoy the game about 1000% more. I don't care what I score (well, maybe I do), but knowing I'm able to hit putts where I want to would make me so gosh darn happy.

Thoughts?

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57 minutes ago, WpgJimmy said:

I'm not ashamed to admit it (maybe I should be?), but I've been battling the yips for a good 10 years now. I can't 'shake' them (pun intended). Wanted to start a thread here to find out what has worked for the community to cure this dreaded condition!

I've tried absolutely everything. Grips, mental approach, equipment, different stances (even left handed), you name it. When the time comes to hit that putt, my arms quiver on the through stroke. Every. Time.

If I could rid myself of this not only would I score a lot better, I'd enjoy the game about 1000% more. I don't care what I score (well, maybe I do), but knowing I'm able to hit putts where I want to would make me so gosh darn happy.

Thoughts?

Unless, you have been diagnose with Focal Dystonia, there is likely a solution.  Here are some solutions that I have used in the past:

Understanding or changing expectations: make rates from various distances, targeting, desired proximity/precision, etc. 

Understanding or changing players perception of the weight of each putt/score. 

Understanding or changing the concept of a putting stroke. 

Understanding or changing the concept of how a putter is supposed to move in a stroke. 

Understanding the abilities of the best of the world vs the rest of the world vs the player being helped. 

Massive and unconventional restructuring of stance, posture, grip, ball position, etc. (just to change things up and inspire athleticism) 

Challenges using anything but a putter. (adaptability, decision making, & choosing to succeed)

Developing or improving High-performance mindsets. 

Most simply stated, players who suffer from yips often have set out to do something that simply won't work and the 'yip' is the bodies way of saying, "I have no chance to be successful."  Eliminate the misconception and often putting starts to improve quickly. 

 

 

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I've started concentrating on pushing the ball right or left and coming up short... it's not resolving my putting woes but makes me feel like I accomplished a goal 🤣

OK, kidding aside, the best drill/technique I've found is committing to a line and not trying to immediately watch the roll.  I think many of us try and "will the ball" into the hole on short putts.  We tend to come out of our stance early and use arm and body contortions as a substitute.

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Went to the long putter just for a change. Not sure I really had the yips but the last two years inside of three feet had my attention.


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I'm not sure I can help, but I think I understand your problem.  Maybe I had the yips after I learned the game; maybe not, I don't know.  Here's a little background.  I spent years as a terrible putter. I had lessons from my pro and he said I had "hands of stone".  I could miss both left and right, but mostly right; I could be long or short; mostly short.  It didn't matter what putter I used or what grip.  I actually did putt a little better left handed but only on shorter putts.  Now, I would like to say I'm a good putter; probably could be better if I practiced a little more.  So what changed??

I actually made two changes at about the same time, so maybe they both had an effect.  First, I went to a heavier putter, and actually I went to the Heavy Putter.  I tried every putter there was in every store I went into.  Most are too long, so they're not a good fit anyway.  In one store I found a used Boccieri Heavy Putter, 31" and pink for ladies.  I bought it for $40.  I putted better immediately because I had to use bigger muscles to make the stroke; I had fewer misses left and right and the misses weren't as bad.  I still had an issue with distance control.

Then along came Spieth and he looked at the hole when he putted short putts; won the Masters.  I should try that.  I made more short putts, but longer putts caused angst when I wasn't looking at the ball.  However, over time it became easier and when I was 2-putting a lot and making a few long ones, confidence grew.  Now, after 6 years it's automatic.  It eliminated my tendency to look up during the stroke too early which caused my right miss.  A few years ago while in AZ I went to Ping HQ and did a fitting.  I ended up with a custom Ping Sigma G with a counterbalanced grip.  Best putter I have ever used or tried anywhere.  In the fitting I made the first 5 putts in a row from 7 feet with no practice swing in-between each putt.

It's just an opinion (we all have those here at MGS), but I believe you are thinking too much when over the ball.  You stare down at the little white ball and think about all the bad things that can go wrong.  How long do you look at the ball before you pull the trigger??   Instead, you need to focus on the target; not the ball.  Play basketball?  Throw darts?  Toss a ball to your kid?  Same thing... you are looking at the target; not even thinking about the ball.  Your brain determines how much force to put into the effort given what your eyes (and other senses) tell you about the distance.  So,

  1. Read the putt (start with a short, straight putt)
  2. Line up your ball to the line you read (if you don't use a line... use one for now)
  3. Take your stance with your putter aligned to the ball (this should be the last time you look at the ball)
  4. Look at the hole.  Look at the hole.
  5. Keep looking at the hole, and make your stroke.

Keep putting short putts for awhile, only move back after you feel "comfortable."  It took me a week to move back to 6 feet.  As time goes by, it gets easier; don't rush it!  I putt this way for all putts, even from 40' and from the fringe.  When you trust your read, your mind is freed up to only think about speed.

If looking at the hole when making the stroke doesn't seem to suit you, as an option I suppose you could do steps 1-4 then slowly bring your eyes back down the line to the ball and beginning your stroke immediately when your eyes are on the ball... no hesitation!!

If this doesn't work, I'm sorry but it's all I can think of.  I sincerely hope you get it figured out.

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The pencil grip worked for me because it takes my wrists completely out of the stroke.  I lock my left wrist and the pencil grip stops any wrist action with my right wrist.  All I have to do is rock my shoulders back, rock them through the ball and focus on making a nice, pendulum stroke and Im all good.  Beyond that, I just need to figure out the speed (because I believe that speed dictates the line and I try to just let the ball die into the hole)

As a traditionalist, part of me hates using such an unconventional grip but whatever works!

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... One of my favorite drills for students with the yips was putting with your eyes closed. Line up your putt like normal, but just before starting your stroke, close your eyes and focus on your stroke. Everyone feels something different and depending on what you use for power ie: rocking your shoulders, swinging your forearms, moving your hands, etc concentrate on your power source, not the putt. Hit your putt and hold for 1 second and then open your eyes and look where your putt ended up. Don't initially worry about contact or line or distance, just concentrate on the feel. For most (although sadly not all) the yips will not be there when they can't see the hole and are not concentrating on making the putt. Once you get a feel for putting with your eyes closed, start opening them sooner:

Keep them closed to the end of the stroke but don't wait 1 second.
Open them right after making contact with the ball.
Open them at contact. 
Open just before contact.
Open at the end of your backstroke.
Open as you start your backstroke. 

... If at any time along the way the yips return, go back a step and engrain the feel. I would add one of the big reasons the yips occur is excessive body/head movement. Never lift your head to look at your putt after stroking the ball. Always rotate your head by swiveling at the neck keeping the body as still as possible. Just watch any good putter on tour and you will see their only movement is their head swiveling long after the putt has started rolling. Good luck! 
 

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Great!  All of these suggestions require a change in concept or by adding a new challenge.  Perspective changes until something resonates.  The only work of caution is locking any joint from moving.  This has caused more problems than it has helped.  The data shows that our body moves and needs to within reason.  Keeping stuff from moving is the major issue of high handicap golfers.  

 

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... One of my favorite drills for students with the yips was putting with your eyes closed. Line up your putt like normal, but just before starting your stroke, close your eyes and focus on your stroke. Everyone feels something different and depending on what you use for power ie: rocking your shoulders, swinging your forearms, moving your hands, etc concentrate on your power source, not the putt. Hit your putt and hold for 1 second and then open your eyes and look where your putt ended up. Don't initially worry about contact or line or distance, just concentrate on the feel. For most (although sadly not all) the yips will not be there when they can't see the hole and are not concentrating on making the putt. Once you get a feel for putting with your eyes closed, start opening them sooner:

Keep them closed to the end of the stroke but don't wait 1 second.
Open them right after making contact with the ball.
Open them at contact. 
Open just before contact.
Open at the end of your backstroke.
Open as you start your backstroke. 

... If at any time along the way the yips return, go back a step and engrain the feel. I would add one of the big reasons the yips occur is excessive body/head movement. Never lift your head to look at your putt after stroking the ball. Always rotate your head by swiveling at the neck keeping the body as still as possible. Just watch any good putter on tour and you will see their only movement is their head swiveling long after the putt has started rolling. Good luck! 
 

As usual great advice from chisag. I would add doing some form of breathing exercises. Most books on the mental side of the game (re:yipps), recommend doing breathing exercises as a way to relax which tends to reduce the issues.


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On 4/8/2020 at 11:17 AM, WpgJimmy said:

I'm not ashamed to admit it (maybe I should be?), but I've been battling the yips for a good 10 years now. I can't 'shake' them (pun intended). Wanted to start a thread here to find out what has worked for the community to cure this dreaded condition!

I've tried absolutely everything. Grips, mental approach, equipment, different stances (even left handed), you name it. When the time comes to hit that putt, my arms quiver on the through stroke. Every. Time.

If I could rid myself of this not only would I score a lot better, I'd enjoy the game about 1000% more. I don't care what I score (well, maybe I do), but knowing I'm able to hit putts where I want to would make me so gosh darn happy.

Thoughts?

It happens and will happen again for me. Typically part of a round or could be a whole round. My suggestion is develop a routine. So the same thing every Time regardless if it’s a 2h’ putt or 45’ putt. 
Mine is Mark my ball. I the. Make quick reads and I go with my gut on line. I take about 3-4 seconds on the side of the ball then Check the opposite side again 3-4 seconds. I do not rush in between and get a feel for the green. 
I put my ball down with the alignment aid in the general direction of where I want to putt. I line up with 1 practice stroke and then get over the ball and do not hesitate, hit the ball.

hiw are you missing usually are you just completely mis reading? Blowing it by? Short?

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I played with a guy last year that had the yips like I have never seen before. I felt horrible for him and it felt horrible watching. On a scale of 1 to 100 his yips were at 100. We told him to try looking at the hole as Kenny B suggests and he dropped to about a 40 to 100 on the yips scale. It really smoothed out his stroke in comparison. Who knows, you might end up doing it full time.


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Remember one thing if you make any change... never, ever set up to the putt and stand there.  Don't think over the ball.  Get the read, step up to ball, one look at the hole and pull the trigger.

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Please watch Tin Cup, there is a tutorial in this movie that worked well!  You may need to buy a few things off of Amazon but it will pay off in the end.  I have attached a picture below to show you how everything should come together for you!  Good luck!

 

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