How to detect the yips in golf

Martin K Klämpfl, Babett H Lobinger, Markus Raab
Human Movement Science 2013, 32 (6): 1270-87
The yips is a multi-aetiological phenomenon that is characterized by an involuntary movement that can affect a golfer's putting performance. Diagnostics are crucial for a better understanding of what causes the yips but are still lacking. The purpose of the present study was therefore to identify sensitive methods for detecting the yips and evaluating its aetiology. Forty participants, 20 yips-affected golfers and 20 nonaffected golfers, completed a psychometric testing battery and performed a putting session in the laboratory. They answered questions about their golfing and yips experience and filled in standardized questionnaires measuring trait anxiety, perfectionism, stress-coping strategies, somatic complaints, and movement and decision reinvestment. In the laboratory, they had to putt in five different conditions that might elicit the yips: as usual with both arms, under pressure, with one (the dominant) arm, with a unihockey racket, and with latex gloves. Measures included putting performance, situational anxiety, kinematic parameters of the putter, electromyography of the arm muscles, and electrocardiography. The groups were separated only by putting performance and kinematic parameters when putting with the dominant arm. Future research should use kinematics to investigate the aetiology of the yips and possible interventions.

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