Golf & Sport & YIPS & Gefühl

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practice and science

On this website I inform about Golf & Sport & YIPS.

As a result of my many years of practical work as a trainer and my scientific research project with the support of the German Federal Institute for Sports Science, I offer current and comprehensive knowledge in the area of movement disorders and tips for an effective and sustainable training.

Irregular and stuttering movements are the result of incorrect perceptual processes before the movement is triggered. A disturbed sensory system influences the quality of movements.

Perception through clarity in the sensory systems is the path to mastery and high performance.

Successful approaches to cure Yips:

  • Changing the sensory system - improving the input through specific training of the appropriate receptors (eyes, ear -macular organs and arcades, proprioception - joint, tendon and muscle spindles, peripheral nerves, skin sensors)
  • Improvement of the functionality of distal tension patterns (foot/hand)-distal release phenomenon
  • Unlearning of old movement patterns: learning the right muscle tension in the respective situation- theme: looseness and relaxation in movement execution
  • Change of resonance in the sensory systems
  • unlocking of joints - switching off arthrokinetic reflexes
  • Establishing unity of shoulder, forearm, and wrist movement of the dominant side of the body
  • Change of the movement sequence-timing

Yips is an unconscious and partly learned disturbance of the sensory system and leads to a desynchronization of movement. An impact panic develops. Arthrokinetic reflexes can build up to the point of impact. The joints especially in the dominant wrist are blocked.

The timing of individual movement elements such as take away, downswing and follow-through does not fit: the impulses are not (or no longer) smoothly connected. The movement is not controlled by the large muscles and from the ground. On the way to the moment of impact, the position of the wrists changes and leads to unsteady hands.

The sequence of the partial impulses does not run optimally.

Result: The movement becomes uncoordinated and in parts uncontrollable. Wild and impetuous reactions occur or as a counter-reaction a "freezing" of the movement. Chaotic failures are pre-programmed.

Yips means something happens too soon. Often the dominant forearm and wrist react too early to the impact.

The disturbed sensory system can lead to a poor neuronal control.

The causes of sensory disturbances and the resulting development of yips can be manifold:

  • old traumas (e.g. head traumas like concussions, whiplash), tendon, muscle or ligament injuries with the corresponding sensory changes
  • intensive technique training with a conscious dissection of movement elements
  • Wrong ideas of movement
  • Feeling of a threat and the feeling of stress, e.g. due to the expectation or the occurrence of an underperformance, injuries with reduction of receptor input performance.
  • The transfer of movement from other impact sports, where the time factor forces uncoordinated movements (e.g. squash)

The motion imaging and the body feeling associated with them shape the action. Input is king.

Already before the start of a movement the successful execution is decided. Here, the input via the athlete's sensory systems prior to movement execution and the associated selection in the central nervous system plays the decisive role over movement quality. 

successful solutions - reprogramming through functional training

First steps for improvement are to create exercise conditions under which the athlete moves (again) without disturbances. As a consequence of so-called reference movements, a feeling and self-confidence for a holistic movement structure develops again.

A specific training program (reprogramming) leads to a renewal of the movement pattern. Old and unproven movement patterns are overwritten. Learning new movements involves unlearning old movements.

First exercises in putting for reprogramming:

  • Practice swings without ball
  • The golf ball is tucked under the foot and touched with the club
  • The golf ball is put down freely and touched only with the club
  • The golf ball is played as a "micro putt" - only a few centimeters away
  • Goal: A dorsiflexion of the right wrist (for right-handed players) in specific swing phases.
  • Putting with swing triggers - e.g. the conscious use of leg impulses
  • Create fade or draw swing patterns - "straight"/linear thinking and swinging are to be avoided
  • various grip adjustments, e.g. pressure change of the non-dominant hand when putting or fade grip with the lead hand when driving and western grip with the tennis forehand
  • Change of mental state before action execution through neuroathletic exercises

The disturbance does not disappear immediately but is repeatedly checked through systematic trial and error and transformed into a new feeling through practical action. In combination with specific movement ideas and an improvement of the neuronal control, lasting changes are produced.

Perception and feeling for the movement control are the way to mastery. A functioning visual system is primarily responsible for this. Furthermore, the athlete's vestibular and proprioceptive systems play an important role in the successful execution of complex movements.

Why not become one of the best golf players in the world at the short game (putting, chipping)?

Every player can hole 18 putts in a row: His brain just doesn't know it yet.

» Safely hole short putts and play long putts to the hole in a measured manner

» Feeling and repeatable chips

» Play reliable drives and tee shots

» Safe and fluent movements in other sports or activities

recurring problems and failures

  • Do you know the fear of putting or the insecurity with other golf shots?
  • Are your hands not doing what they should?
  • Do you feel a powerlessness even before the start of the movement?
  • Do you know movement blockades?
  • Or do you fail to reach your true performance potential in certain situations?

reflection of training principles and failures

I explore the following questions:

  • how do bad movement habits and movement disorders develop?
  • how do movement disorders manifest themselves?
  • what can I do about it?

It is my concern to make recurring failures such as certain misses in golf explainable and to point out dangers in the (excessive) practice of techniques. Here, an unconscious learning of context-specific movement patterns plays an important role. As a consequence of "wrong" training, such as practicing a "neutral" movement technique, movement disorders can develop up to chronic YIPS.

Every person is unique and movements are accordingly individual. This website helps to question training principles and to reflect on failed movements.

movement as a unit

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts." (Aristoteles)

A holistic approach to movement and the right feeling lead to successful movement control.

Cramping, loss of control, hecticness, restlessness and insecurity are not the causes of YIPS but their consequence. Consequently, instructions such as "move loosely, rhythmically and in a coordinated manner" cannot be effectively implemented by the affected athletes.

no lasting solutions

As a consequence of too little and superficial knowledge about movement disorders, effects are not sustainable and do not work under competitive pressure. The danger of frustration up to the abandonment of the (sportive) activity are typical consequences of helplessness, ignorance and ineffective exercises.

In my experience so far, an isolated psychological approach does not help to master Yips. Hypnosis and other mental approaches have also not led to any sustainable improvement in my experience so far.

Mastering Yips is similar to learning a new complex movement and involves unlearning old and stuck movement patterns. Old habits die hard. This process takes time and a high quality of practice.

Bernd Paul Gerland

Expert of movement disorders (e.g. YIPS) and PGA Masterprofessional
Doctor of sports science

About me

Article about my research

Puzzling hiccups
during putting
(Quelle: Spiegel)

zum Artikel

Pure desperation
comes out

zum Artikel

im Golfsport

zum Artikel

all about YIPS -
interview with researcher Bernd Gerland
(Quelle: YouTube; Golf Post)

to the report

Do you know this too?



loss of control

You practice regularly and are committed to your work. You have a feeling for the ball and movement and can successfully use the technique you have learned. And then you experience this...

Short putts always just miss the hole, and with the longer putts you lose control over the right measuring. You feel uncertainty or even a twitch in your hands when you make contact with the ball.

read more

Chipping and pitching often result in thin and fat hits as well as hits on the heel of the clubface, so-called sockets/shanks.
Your drives or tee shots "suddenly" have a noticeable spread in all directions.

Your movement becomes hectic in certain situations and your muscles tense up. Your handicap has stagnated for years or has even worsened.

In tennis your forehand "wobbles" at the moment of hitting the ball or during the serve the timing of the ball throw is disturbed and the direction and height of the throw is experienced as uncontrolled.

You feel like a beginner in your sport...but you practice regularly and are committed to the game!

Eight aspects worth knowing about YIPS!

1. The movement disorder is expressed in golf by a situational or chronic twitching or trembling of the hands in the approach phase to the ball.

2. Often, YIPS symptoms are felt in the forearm area of the dominant side of the arm. However, the symptoms can also appear on the non-dominant side or even in both hands.

3. According to my research, YIPS is a conditioned movement pattern and may be tied to a specific context. The unconsciously "learned" responses often lead to unrestrained movement performance with disastrous results. The true performance capacity can no longer be retrieved.

4. Bad learning can affect anyone and should be understood as a natural process that can cross sports.

read more

5. Bad learning can affect anyone and should be understood as a natural process that can cross sports. Scientific studies show that, depending on the study group and measurement method, between 15% and 50% of the golfers studied have Putt-YIPS.

6. Aktuelle Forschungsberichte weisen nach, dass auch Golfanfänger Putt-YIPS haben können. Es ist anzunehmen, dass hierbei ein unbewusster Transfer aus anderen Sportarten stattfindet („Anfängeryips“ und „Transferyips“).

7. Bad learning can affect anyone and should be understood as a natural process that can cross sports. Scientific studies show that, depending on the study group and measurement method, between 15% and 50% of the golfers studied have Putt-YIPS. In most of those affected, the movement can proceed without interference under certain conditions. The YIPS symptomatology appears reversible.

8. Specific exercises and their systematic application initiate counter-conditioning. With the recovery and the experience of a disturbance-free movement, a process of relearning and change of perspective begins.


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