The yips are involuntary spasms in the wrist that occur in athletes. While the condition is most often observed in golfers attempting to putt, the yips might affect sports like baseball, darts, and cricket as well. Originally, researchers believed the yips were exclusively caused by performance anxiety. But more recent research indicates some individuals get the yips because of a neurological condition called focal dystonia, which affects specific muscles. Patients may find relief if they change how they perform an affected task. It’s also helpful to practice techniques to reduce anxiety. Even when the condition is caused by focal dystonia, anxiety can worsen the symptoms. Some athletes experience an impaired ability to execute skills because their anxiety and overthinking causes distraction.
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In some cases, the yips may occur when an athlete has overused certain muscles. Adjusting the grip on the golf club can help alleviate symptoms for many golfers. When an individual’s grip changes, they use different muscles to make the putting stroke. These muscles may not be overtaxed and might also not be affected by the yips in general. Golf grips are fitted to the club’s handle, and they come in four average sizes: oversize, midsize, standard, and undersize. If individuals don’t want to replace their golf grips entirely, they can customize it by adding layers of tape. When the grip isn’t properly fitted, it can cause individuals to pull the ball through extra hand action, or it can limit their wrist pronation and shorten the potential shot distance.
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