Now, I know what you’re thinking – that this is impossible, that this is too good to be true. But I can assure you that this can be achieved, with a little bit of APPROPRIATE help. You don’t need to spend $200 on a new putter!
First, lets look at what exactly is happening when you have the yips. You are standing over the ball, putter (or wedge) in hand, you take your practice stroke, your logical mind tells yourself that you can do this, that you can hit the ball as you want to but despite all this logical self talk your putt is yet again an embarrassingly jerky stab at the ball. You then feel annoyed/upset/frustrated and your brain records this latest experience of the yips, adding this to your pattern of past yipping experiences, confirming and reinforcing the pattern, thereby creating even more certainty of it happening next time.
This is how your mind works; it stores patterns. When you sit in the driving seat of your car you will immediately activate your “driving pattern match” and so instinctively know how to drive. When you go to the airport you will automatically search for a pattern match with airports/flying and respond in accordance with your learned behavior. Your brain will immediately recreate this same emotional response…and you feel and act accordingly; without logically thinking about it…you just act instinctively.
Now this is very useful in a case where you need to feel fear, but not when you don’t. Not only that, whenever you feel “primitive emotions” – those of fear or anger – your brain immediately gets locked into instinctive behavior patterns and you CANNOT access the higher, logical thinking parts of your brain.
Applying this knowledge to your experience of the yips, I’m sure you can now understand better why all that logical talking to yourself (“You can do this”,”it’s just a putt”, “there’s no need to feel anxious”, etc) simply doesn’t work – your brain is effectively locked into its primitive response as soon as the pattern matching takes place. The two parts of your brain cannot communicate at this time and therefore you cannot modify your response to the situation.
Whether or not you can remember your first yipping experience, or even if you can work out how or why it began is not actually relevant to the cure. What is relevant is that you understand that in order to change your pattern match you have to access the emotional/primitive part of your brain. Using logic will very, very rarely affect a cure because your logical mind is locked out before it can interact in the experience.
The million dollar question is how do you gain access to and modify this primitive/emotional reaction? The answer is…HYPNOSIS. In hypnosis your brain waves alter from the beta of normal waking consciousness to the alpha-theta waves of relaxation and REM sleep. The purpose of REM sleep (dreaming) is to resolve conflicts and find solutions to problems, and research has shown that we cannot survive without this mechanism. Whether you are aware of dreaming or not, you do dream, and hypnosis is this same completely natural and restorative state in which you can choose to resolve mental conflicts and retrain your mind to modify instinctive patterns of behavior.
So, don’t go off to spend your dollars on new equipment, go straight to the root of your problem and retrain your brain to putt smoothly and consistently.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in mind training hypnosis for golf and author of the GolferWithin program for great mental golf.