By Paul Myers
When you think golf yips, you almost certainly think about the putter. And, true enough, the putting green is where most golfers experience the dreaded yips. However, the golf yips are also a battle off the tee for some golfers, and they can be even more destructive in this form. If you are afflicted with the yips on your driver swing it can seem like a challenge to even make contact with the ball – let alone to hit good tee shots on a consistent basis. It will take a little bit of work to get over this problem, but it can be conquered.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
Assuming you have had a time in the past where you were comfortable and confident off the tee, the key to this process is getting back to that point. To do that, you are going to need to get out of your own way and let the technique and ability that you possess do the work. To start, commit to taking a little time off from golfing on the course. This might be a sacrifice, depending on your usual golf schedule, but it could be worth it in the end. You may need some time away to get your mind sorted out and in a good place.
During the time off, think about what has worked before and spend time imagining yourself swinging like that in the present. Basically, instead of physical practice, you’ll be doing mental practice, swinging correctly and confidently in your mind 100% of the time for a week or more to help break the habit.
Head to the Range
When you are ready to return, head to the driving range to get started fixing your golf yips once and for all. Start by hitting a few shots with your other clubs, just to get warmed up. Once you feel warmed up, pull out your driver and five range balls. With each of these five balls, the only goal is to hit them as hard as you can. It doesn’t matter if they go straight – just try to smash them as far as possible.
Why? One problem with the golf yips is that the fear you feel for hitting a bad shot makes you tentative, and you start to swing slower and slower just trying to make good contact. It can be a downward cycle that is hard to stop. Swinging hard will free you up and allow your natural coordination do the job of hitting the ball.
After you have hit your five shots as hard as you can, hit five more with your regular swing. Hopefully, the first five shots will have freed you up nicely and, combined with your mental practice, you can hit some quality shots with a normal swing. At this point, you might feel like you are cured and ready to go back out onto the course – not so fast.
The golf yips aren’t something that are always cured with just one range session. Try to perform the drill above at least two or three times on separate days before you make the trip back out onto the course. Ideally you want to have the golf yips completely gone from your mind and be in a place of swinging confidently before you play so they don’t pop back up at the worst time. Dedicate yourself to a couple good weeks of mental and then range practice and only go back to the course when you feel sure that the golf yips are in your rearview mirror.
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