What Are The Yips?
At one point or another in every athlete’s career, he or she will be cursed with the infamous “yips” for a certain period of time. For those that are unfamiliar with the yips, the term was first introduced to describe golfers that missed short and easy putts due to high-pressure situations. Since then, the yips can be used to describe athletes of any sport that can’t complete routine actions or plays that the player used to be able to do without a problem. Some of the worst cases are seen in professional baseball and softball players.
Perhaps the worst baseball player yips case belongs to Steve Sax, a 13-year big leaguer. In the season of 1983, when Sax played second base for the LA Dodgers, he could not find a rhythm with his throws to first base after fielding a ground ball. He acquired 30 errors from wild throws that season. The yips he endured were so bad that they were later called the “Steve Sax Syndrome.” Lucky for him, he was able to turn things around, and ended his career as one of the best fielding second basemen of his era.
Can the Baseball Yips Be Cured?
Players struggling with the yips are asking… How was Steve Sax able to overcome the yips when so many players can’t?
Throwing the ball to first base after fielding a ground ball was second nature to you at your game last week. Nothing happened in between games besides your mindset. If you make one bad throw, you ask yourself why that happened. You might think it was a mechanics issue, and on the next play you concentrate really hard on your mechanics and form. You end up making a bad throw again, because you are thinking too much about not messing up.
Don’t think about an elephant.
Did you think about an elephant? Of course you did. When you say to yourself, “don’t throw this ball in the dirt,” that is exactly what you are going to do.
This mental barrier becomes a snowball effect and will get worse before it gets better. The key is to not feel like it’s the end of the world. When emotions are getting in the way of throwing the baseball, you need to think of something totally different. Think about something else and let your “second nature” instincts throw the ball for you. Obviously, easier said than done. Just remember, if the yips decide to mess with you one day, it will all eventually pass as long as you stay positive and change your mentality on the field.
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