Yips: all about this sports term

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Cricket is not only a set of complex rules, the ability to serve the ball and hit it beautifully. There is also a place for interesting and very strange phenomena that can periodically manifest themselves. One of them is yips. This term can be attributed to the psychological sports terminology since its manifestation is very strange and does not depend on the player. Perhaps many people will be surprised that yips exists at all. However, even if rarely, it manifests itself in athletes, because of which their career may come to an end. Read more about this unusual phenomenon in this article.

Yips: what is it

Before you understand how yips manifests itself in cricket, you need to understand what kind of phenomenon it is in general. We will tell you briefly and in simple words:

Yips is a sudden and unexplained loss of the ability to perform certain skills, which is manifested in experienced athletes.

It sounds strange, doesn’t it? However, history is full of examples when athletes suddenly had yips. The symptoms of this phenomenon are manifested in the loss of fine motor skills, as well as in psychological problems that affect muscle memory and the ability of an athlete to make a decision. As a result of all this, he cannot perform the basic skills of his sport.

Sometimes yips can be cured. The treatment method includes clinical sports psychological therapy, rehabilitation of physical actions. This phenomenon can manifest itself both in the short term (until the athlete regains his composure) and for a long time when a long course of correcting the technique is required until it is fully restored. In exceptional cases, yips do not leave at all, and the athlete is sometimes forced to give up a sports career.

Yips in cricket and examples

In cricket, the concept of “yips” mainly refers to bowlers, and, oddly enough, it manifests itself mainly in left-arm spinners. This problem is due to the fact that bowlers lose the ability to release the ball at the end of the innings correctly. Here are two real examples:

  • Keith Medlycott. This England player had to leave cricket at the age of 26 (end of 1991) due to developing yips. However, in 1997, he managed to return to the sport, but as a coach.
  • Collins Obuya. This athlete was one of the stars of the 2003 World Cup in Kenya, but soon his game began to crumble because of yips. However, thanks to his perseverance, the player managed to recover. As of 2021, he continues to play cricket.

As you can see, the manifestation of this psychological phenomenon in cricket is quite real. And not everyone can get rid of yips and continue their sports career after that.

Yips in other sports

Yips is a phenomenon that is typical not only for cricket, but also for some other sports. We tell you about some of them:

  • Golf. The term “yips” was invented by golfer Tommy Armour, so it is not surprising that it is found in golf. There it is used to explain the sudden loss of skill to correctly and accurately hit the ball. It is noted that mainly golfers who have been playing for more than 25 years suffer from yips.
  • Gymnastics. Here, the term “yips” is used to explain the sudden loss of the ability to maintain control over the body during aerial maneuvers. Many gymnasts also say that at this moment, they have a feeling of disorientation or ignorance of where the ground is, which is very important for the correct performance of the maneuver.
  • Baseball. In baseball, yips is called the loss of the ability to throw the ball accurately. Most often, this ailment manifests itself in pitchers and catchers, that is, players who touch the ball more often than others.

Of course, yips is also present in other sports (for example, basketball), but it is most often manifested in the above–mentioned ones.

Nisha Bhavani
Author: Nisha Bhavani Position: Cricket Expert

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