EFT: A Promising Solution for Overcoming the Yips

yips Mar 06, 2023
Putting Green, trees in the distance, blue sky

Have you ever experienced the yips?

If you have, you know exactly how that feels and the impact it has on the quality and enjoyment of your game.

If you haven't heard of them, the yips are a phenomenon characterised by involuntary movements or spasms that interfere with the ability to execute a well drilled movement or skill. It typically affects individuals who repetitively repeat fine motor movements, such as golfers, baseball players, and tennis players.

They can manifest in several ways, such as a sudden loss of control, jerky or twitchy movements, or freezing up at the critical moment. It's often described as a mental block or a psychological barrier and significantly affects your confidence and performance.  Some players experience so much anxiety when it comes to performing they feel they can no longer go on playing like this and retire from competing in their sport.

While the exact cause of the yips is not fully understood, it's believed to be a combination of physical, neurological, and psychological factors. Some studies suggest that the yips may be related to a breakdown in the brain's motor control system, while others point to anxiety, stress, or past traumas as potential triggers.

Whatever the cause, The yips can be frustrating and demoralising, and can have a significant impact on an athlete's career and mental well-being.

Before it gets this far, it’s essential to seek professional help, such as a sports psychologist or a therapist, to develop strategies and techniques to overcome this challenge. With the right approach and mindset, the yips can be beaten, and an athlete can regain their confidence and return to peak performance.

Unfortunately, most athletes don’t seek the right support until they have tried everything else. 

If you've been struggling with the yips, you may have tried several approaches to overcome them.

  • Changed your technique
  • Changed your equipment
  • Had more lessons
  • Played blindfolded
  • Played with the opposite hand

The may well have worked in the short term or in practice, but have probably not lasted for the long run.

Still, have you considered trying EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)?  This works in both the short term and the long run.

EFT is a form of therapy that can help you physically, psychologically and neurologically. It's been used successfully to treat a wide range of issues, including anxiety, stress, and trauma, and the yips.

Here's how EFT can help you beat the yips:


  • Reduces tension: The yips can lead to tension in the muscles and joints, which can further exacerbate the condition. EFT can reduce tension by promoting relaxation, leading to a reduction in spasms and involuntary movements.
  • Improves motor control: The yips can affect an athlete's ability to control their movements and execute skills accurately. EFT can improve motor control by enhancing communication between the brain and the muscles, leading to better coordination and movement.
  • Promotes relaxation: EFT can promote relaxation by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. This can lead to a sense of calmness and relaxation, reducing heart rate and promoting overall well-being.


  • Releases negative emotions associated with the yips: The yips can be exacerbated by various negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety, embarrassment and self-doubt. EFT can help release these emotions by tapping on specific points, allowing you to clear your mind, relax your body and play freely and easily.
  • Enhances focus and concentration: EFT can improve your focus and concentration by reducing distractions and promoting mental clarity. This technique can help you stay present and focused on what you are currently doing and not wander to anxiety provoking thoughts.
  • Increases confidence: The yips can lead to a lack of confidence, which can further exacerbate the problem. EFT can help you build your self-confidence by letting go of the thoughts and events that zap your your confidence, making room for your ability and skill to shine through.


  • Reduces activity in the amygdala: The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for processing fear and anxiety. Studies have shown that EFT can reduce activity in the amygdala, leading to reduced feelings of fear and anxiety which can exacerbate the symptoms.
  • Increases activity in the prefrontal cortex: The prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision-making and emotional regulation. EFT has been found to increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, leading to improved emotional regulation and decision-making abilities.
  • Enhances neuroplasticity: Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to adapt and change in response to new experiences. EFT has been found to enhance neuroplasticity, promoting brain health and function.This can help the brain to learn new motor patterns and unlearn the involuntary movements associated with the yips.

To try EFT for the yips, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the negative emotion: What emotion are you feeling when you experience the yips? Is it fear, anxiety, or self-doubt? Identify the specific emotion you want to release. 
  2. Note down the intensity of this emotion out of 10.  0 being not at all an 10 being excruciating, the worse it can be.
  3. Tap on specific points: Use your fingertips to tap on specific meridian points on your face and body while repeating your unwanted emotion.
  4. Note the intensity of the emotion. Repeat until you get to 2 or less.
  5. See how you feel on the golf course.

EFT goes against most sport psychology practices as it focuses on the negative, unwanted emotion.  Not because it's good to dwell on them but because as you focus on them intentionally and tap at the same time, they are released form your mind and body. It sounds pretty far fetch, but it's been under intense scrutiny the last few years and fMRI imaging has shown the physiological changes that take place when you tap. Providing the much needed scientific evidence that's needed to make it a mainstream treatment for this life changing phenomenon.

In conclusion, the yips can be a frustrating and challenging obstacle for athletes, but EFT can be a powerful tool in overcoming them. By releasing psychologically, negative emotions, overcoming the physical manifestations, and rebuilding new neurological pathways, EFT can not only help you overcome the yips but help you take your game to the next level.

If you have the yips and would like to overcome them once and or all, please get in touch for more details.   

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