- First of all, change your attitude/alter your approach. You need to move from seeing your yips as a problem to seeing them as a challenge. Stop dreading the situation when it occurs and see it as an opportunity to recondition yourself.
- Next you need to work on relaxing. Focus on breathing deeply and loosening your muscles. Count as you walk to the ball, hum a tune. Do whatever you need to do to relax.
- Have a good pre-shot routine to follow that gets you to commit to the shot, commit to the target. Visualise what you want to happen and focus on your tempo.
- Finally work on judging yourself on how well you followed the first three steps, the process, not the outcome of where the ball goes.
Short putt yips are caused by a subconscious conditioned response and that response if you have the yips, is a sudden jerky, stabbing action or freezing up, when faced with a short putt situation.
This becomes your conditioned response rather than a smooth, rhythmical swing with the putter and has seen golfers switching to long handled putters, or different styles of holding the putter in an attempt to cure the problem.
Golfers with the yips experience more muscle tension and movement in the wrists forearms and hands than golfers without this problem and they also experience a higher heart rate when faced with the situation that triggers the yip.
Basically, the cause of the yips is that you perceive the situation, in this case a short putt, as a threat to you and everyone’s instinctive response to a threat is a 'fight or flight' response, get ready to fight or ready to run. This instinct stems from our caveman days when we would be in situations threatening our lives quite frequently.
The threatening situation is not to our life nowadays but the response is still there within us. When you have this fight or flight response - there is a perceived threat in our brain so our body gets ready to either fight or run. Our brain fires the neurons that make our bodies ready for this, our heart beats faster, our breathing shallows and quickens, we have an adrenaline surge and our muscles get ready to either fight or run. Your perceived threat is the short putt, what will people think when I miss from here, will I look like fool? etc and the response kicks in as you have conditioned yourself, inadvertently, to respond like this. Your heart beat quickens, your breathing shallows, your muscles tighten and you yip.
Yips, or this conditioned response, develop when you view the putt as a threatening situation and when you have a weakness in this area, you have elevated stress levels (golf or non-golf related) and you have experienced one and then multiple embarrassing, frustrating failures.
To recondition your response, or cure your yips, you need to follow these four steps;
You will need to commit to working hard on these four steps for several months to rid yourself of the yips, but if you do you will cure them forever.