Yips in Golf
”Going Beyond Traditional Wisdom”
by Carey Mumford - KeyGolf
Click here to read Carey's amazing bio!
If you Google the phrase “Yips in Golf,” you will get more than 30 pages of reference concerning this scourge of golfers. Most focus on putting tips. A very few mention other parts of the game, yet all parts of the game are vulnerable. What you won’t find are any on the most critical issue, the origin and cause of the yips.
In a word, what they are missing is the relationship and difference between the conscious thinking process and the non conscious thinking process, especially regarding when, how, and under what circumstances these two modes of thought perform their respective tasks.
It is easy to ignore, or overlook the principal origins of a symptom. The mind's first act in defense against any stressful situation is to block the invader, even if we see it as friendly. This Blocking Action is the culprit we know as “the yips”. It produces physical changes that stiffen muscles, cramp brains and generally mess with your swing and putting stroke. The mind will do this to some degree every time we are faced with a stressful situation, whether we realize it each time or not. We may not even notice it at the time. Upon realization of “the symptom”, (by missing or hitting several bad shots) the stress of the next situation magnifies, creating an even worse case of the "Yips” and so on.
While this whole process is complex in formation and far too detailed to go into here, there is a solution for “The Yips” that is quite simple. It is simple because it is fact that we humans can only think one thought at a time, thus when we are anxious or nervous we can insert a "clear key" which will stop the defensive blocking signal long enough to make a freely moving swing or putt! The next time you approach a shot that gives you cause for a second look, just insert a simple phrase(*) like "Easy peezey, lemon squeezy," or one like Moe Norman used, "I am puuurrrre energy." while you make your shot. You will be surprised at the positive gain when you mind is occupied on a thought other than the action at hand or the fear of it.
(*)"the simple phrase" takes two pages of explanation to be fully informed (as I do it with players face to face). I have them learn and practice using the key phrase aloud, since it is stronger that way. (The "inner" guys are only responding to the fear of embarrassment if it is aloud on the course, but I have players that do it anyway, and almost all will, if they are faced with a very difficult shot situation). After the process is well developed and the player is truly on automatic, it works fine in the head, but that can easily get unseated if the player doe not learn to literally focus on the key. (so when in doubt, say it aloud until you're able to "use the force" within.)
There's plenty more on Carey's website at: http://clearkeygolf.com
Carey Mumford has taught and coached in PGA Junior schools in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, California and Montana,as well as college golf programs at Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Brevard Community College, West Point, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Miami, and with individual coaches and players from other schools.
In their special issue on the mental game in 1990, Golf Magazine recognized him among the top dozen golf psychologists in the country, and Golf World Magazine devoted two pages to his second book (The Double Connexion) in the Pro-Report section of their June 19, 1992 issue.
His work is extensively used in books by Michael Hebron ("The Art and Zen of Learning Golf") and Phil Ritson ("Golf Your Way"), both of whom are listed among the top 100 golf teachers in the country. John Andrisani's book, "Think Like Tiger" also references his work, as does Mel Sole's "Golf, Step-by-Step." The content of the fourth tape in the Ritson series called "The Encyclopedia of Golf," is based on Carey's creative process, which is also incorporated as the core of mental game teaching at all of the Phil Ritson/Mel Sole Golf Schools around the country.
His unique approach to the mental game has earned wide acceptance among golf professionals, largely because it goes beyond "what" ought to happen and shows "how" it is implemented and used by any player or instructor, by providing the tools to get it done. Unnecessary complications are removed in the process by integrating principles of behavior, psychology and physiology. Thus teachers and players have "user-friendly" resources to reshape widely held, though misleading, notions that have unwittingly influenced players to "shoot themselves in the foot."
Two of the books he has written, GOLF'S BEST KEPT SECRET and THE DOUBLE CONNEXION, describe "playing the game within yourself" and the natural principles and processes essential to balance and integrate mental and manual skills. These processes allow players to move naturally, and without hindrance from the practice tee to the golf course. Applications to life and work are equally present also. It was the cross-currents of common denominators in these seemingly dissimilar arenas that stimulated both books.
Carey authored two other books, "The Putting Book," and "The Mental Game."
We're thrilled Carey has befriended us at ISUCKATGOLF and has agreed to share some of his vast wisdom with our site. So enjoy and absorb his teachings, as "this guy knows of which he speaks!"