Practise makes perfection
“The yips” was once used to specifically describe a challenge experienced by golfers, but nowadays it is used as a general term to describe an issue faced with athletes who need to use their fine motor skills to be successful in their sport. This includes but is not exclusive to golf, snooker, darts, archery, cricket or bowls. In fact, it relates to any game where precision is required to make that all important difference to winning or losing.
Yips can affect both amateurs and professionals alike at any stage of their play. Suddenly, they lose the ability to perform well during precision shots using their fine motor skills. In golf they may find they can no longer putt well, missing the simplest of shots. The golfer may tee off perfectly with his first shot, swing his club perfectly for the second and land on the green just feet away from the hole, then mess up the simplest of putts over and over again placing him way over par.
In snooker, the player can no longer line up a simple pot, missing and sending the ball all over the table. Dart players have their own specific word unique to them to describe the problem. Unsurprisingly, it’s called ‘dartitis’. The darts player suddenly can no longer aim and throw precisely, often going way off course. There is often no reason; it can suddenly appear and the more the athlete concentrates and thinks about it, the worse it can get. No amount of extra practice helps and some sports people give up completely in frustration.
If there is no apparent injury to take into consideration then it is most probably psychological. They have a bad shot once and as they line up to take the next one, whether it is immediately after or at a later date, they subconsciously fear it will happen again. Lo and behold their fear becomes a reality, and thus the vicious cycle begins and takes hold.
You could liken it to men who suddenly suffer from erectile dysfunction. The more they think about it, the more likely they are to suffer from a repeat performance. It’s the same with drivers. They may make a small mistake doing a hill start and roll back a few inches. That can lead to a fear of it happening again and before they know it they break into a sweat and can’t find the ‘biting’ point every time - the psychology is the same.
Hypnotherapy is an ideal solution to this problem. During hypnosis, the therapist bypasses the conscious mind and addresses the unconscious mind – the part that enables you to do actions subconsciously, without thought. For example, when you brush your teeth it is an automatic process - you don’t have to consciously think about opening your mouth or moving your hand up and down with the brush as it is an action that you have done over and over again, many, many times before. It became a natural process when you were young and you do not have to think about it. It’s the same with tying your shoelaces for example. You no longer actually have to think about it – you can just do it.
The reason our unconscious mind is in charge of this job is to allow us to function as human beings. Imagine if our conscious minds were given this task. We would never cope, as our minds would be overflowing with instructions to enable every muscle to work in sync. It would be impossible. Many of our synapses are fired up in the first few years of our lives, transmitting signals from one neuron in our brain to another. Repetitive behaviour enables these to be remembered and stored in our subconscious memory to be instantly repeated as and when needed.
With intensive practice, athletes in any sport store up these memories and precision movements, allowing them to give their best performance when required. Hypnosis can tap into these subconscious memories allowing the athlete to once more remember the times they played their best and were at their peak. The therapist will remind the athlete of that feeling of success and how it was achieved first time around. By placing the athlete into a trancelike state of relaxation, the therapist will guide him through times he performed well and reiterate that he can achieve these results again any time he wants.
By helping the athlete to get back into “the zone”, the athlete will once again be able to perform well without overthinking what could go wrong. The relaxation techniques used can be brought into play at any time, allowing the athlete to remain calm and focus on their shot, banishing the negative thoughts away.
With hypnotherapy, the yips can disappear as quickly as they came, so do not hesitate to contact a hypnotherapist today.
“Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”