Can hypnosis help with the yips?

Steph McGee

I’m a Trauma Informed Clinical Hypnotherapist on a mission to help. Hypnosis feels like a magic wand. But in truth? The real magic is you.

So you’re a good golfer, and you deserve to be. You’ve put in the practice and you’ve worked hard to be this good (or maybe you play another sport entirely, but let’s stick with the golf theme for now as the theory of hypnosis for the yips applies to all sports).

But now something has shifted and you’ve got the yips. And whether it’s affecting your putting or chipping or some other aspect of play? You’re now stuck in a frustrating cycle of anticipating failure and making bad shots.

And sure, you’ve tried to fix this yourself. Maybe you’ve adjusted your play, if you’re a right handed golfer, you’ve switched to the left, gone back to your old clubs (yes really). And if its dartitis, maybe you’ve tried moving to a lighter dart. Maybe you’ve tried lots of things. But whatever you’ve done? It hasn’t worked. Yet.

So work with me & I’ll teach you a different approach.

Table of Contents

To understand more about hypnosis for golf keep reading this article.

I will cover:

  1. Hypnosis for the Golf Yips
  2. Hypnosis at the Sotchi Olympics
  3. The psychological side of golf
  4. What are the yips
  5. What causes the yips
  6. Stress & the Yips
  7. Seven things you can do to help yourself when you’re still on the fence about hypnosis.

Or go right ahead and visit my prices and booking page.

If you’re completely new to hypnosis? You might like to start with this 4 minute youtube video. You’ll get a quick overview of hypnosis then it covers sports hypnosis & the Sotchi Olympics from 2.25.

Hypnosis for the golf yips

Sports hypnosis is powerful and it’s often used as part of sports psychology.

But it’s important to know I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist, not a sports coach.

So I won’t be telling you HOW to perfect your technique, rather HOW to be the player, athlete or musician you want to be.

Sure I’ve worked with professional sports people, high performing amateurs and people who play for fun.

I know you are good at what you do and you’ve got everything you need to be good again.

You have the passion, the drive and the technical know-how of your game. Even if you can’t see it.


So we will work together to get your powerful subconscious mind back in your game. We’ll help quieten those self doubting thoughts. And get shot of all those frustrating negative images.

Sports hypnosis uses the power of your subconscious mind to positively affect your mental & physical sporting performance.

So whether you are struggling with a specific aspect of play like the yips? Whether you play golf, cricket, darts or basketball, hypnosis might be the solution you need.

Here’s a quick list of how hypnosis can help:

  • Reducing sports performance anxiety
  • Revisiting the details of past successful play
  • Visualising, reliving & feeling your best shots
  • Mentally rehearsing your perfect performance & motor control
  • Reframing poor performance and poor shots, hoops or throws
  • Anticipating success that ‘winner’ instinct
  • Increasing confidence & self belief
  • Addressing subconscious over analysis



In your Hypnotherapy sessions I will combine therapy, hypnosis & NLP techniques to help you overcome the yips and return to your usual play. And you’ll have tried & tested techniques that you can use before a round including a combination of these 9 hypnosis techniques for the yips.

But it’s not just golf that hypnosis can help with.

In my teens I was trained by professional UK & NBA basketball players and what did we do? Cybernetics aka hypnosis for basketball – the results on my ‘swish’ were AMAZING!

As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I trained in Sports Hypnosis with former WBC Super Middleweight Boxing Campion of the World, Glen Catley who himself used hypnotherapy to perfect his title winning moves the ‘cobra’ and the ‘mongoose’.

Roll on a few years and I’ve helped sports people across areas such as golf, cricket, cycling, open water swimming & even sky diving.

If you feel your mind is holding you back from your best play?

Start by booking an Inital Consultation here.


Or you might like to start with this 4 minute video. You’ll get a quick overview of hypnosis before it covers sports hypnosis & the Sotchi Olympics from 2.25 when the athletes perfected their ski runs without snow!


How does hypnosis help the yips?

As we’ve already established, you are good at your game.

So the chances are, something has affected your confidence or at least your ability to play golf at a deep subconscious level.

It might have been a crucial putt, a bad shot, something someone said or just realising the enormity of the tournament level you are playing at. Or perhaps something less obvious like a new opportunity at work, a promotion or something in your home life?


You don’t need to know what causes the yips to cure the yips.

If it’s psychological that is. And btw, as a Clinical Hypnotherapist I’m not allowed to say that I ‘cure’ only that I ‘help’.

What to expect in your hypnotherapy session:

I will need to know best hopes. What do you want to achieve?

What will that look like? What will you be doing? What will other people think?

Building this picture creates a new pathway for your conscious & subconscious mind. It gives us a goal and a way to assess progress.

Like setting a satnav to your preferred destination.

I’ll ask you to think back, and identify when you have been at this standard before.

What was going on back then? When you were happy with your play?

What was your play like, right down to the details?

It’s even useful to know what shoes you were wearing!

Maybe you used to enjoy tournament play. Maybe you used to teach.

It’s all useful.

We’ll work all this into your hypnosis. And your neurolinguistic programming (nlp). Remind your subconscious of just how brilliant you are. And teach you simple techniques that you can use on the course.

We will rehearse your best play in hypnosis!

Want to work with me?

Start by Booking an Initial Consultation

So we’ll take you back…

But not with regression, it’s too woo woo by far

Instead I want you to tell me about when you played golf (or darts, tennis or basketball) at your best.

What was going on back then? When you enjoyed your game.

What did your play like look like? Right down to the details?

Who did you play your best rounds with? Where did you play?

It’s even useful to know what shoes you were wearing!

Did you enjoy tournament play? Maybe you taught golf.

It’s all part of the story…

We’ll improve your golf with hypnosis

And neurolinguistic programming (nlp).

We’ll remind your subconscious of just how good your golf is. And teach you simple techniques that you can use on the course.

So if you think your mind is causing your yips? Hypnotherapy could be the solution.

You can start by booking an initial consultation which is the first important step before booking hypnotherapy sessions. Or just drop me a message with any questions.


The psychology of golf

I’ve worked with some wonderful sports people over the years. And they’ve all recognised the benefit of positive mental imagery. Because laying down a perfect mental blue print before play, or any form of performance (even public speaking) sets out a mental path and pre-informs your muscles.

Think satnav again!

It tells your brain what to prioritise. 

Your brain is designed to prioritise your own internal theories.

So if your brain is primed to notice the yips and your failures?

Your unconscious mind will:

  • Focus you attention on failure like a heat seeking missile
  • Subconsciously seek out evidence of the yips
  • Prioritise incoming information that supports your internal theory that you are a failure
  • Ignore incoming information that suggests you are a success
  • Easily write off any success as a one off or ‘luck’

And anxiety makes the yips worse.

‘Some athletes become so anxious and self-focused — overthinking to the point of distraction — that their ability to execute a skill, such as putting, is impaired. “Choking” is an extreme form of performance anxiety that may compromise a golfer’s or any athlete’s game.’ (Mayo Clinic)

What are the yips?

A term first used by Tommy Armour, the yips are described as involuntary wrist spasms or jerks. These involuntary muscle movements most commonly effect golfers performance when trying to putt or when chipping. So for this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the putting yips or the chipping yips.

But the yips are not exclusive to golf.

They can affect athletes in other sports such as basket ball, tennis, darts and cricket and they can also affect musicians. This condition is characterised by the way it effects the most competent of performers.

Other names players use for the yips are the twitters, jitters, jerks, staggers and freezing up (in gymnastics lost move syndrome or the twisties).

What causes the yips?

Know as Paralysis by Analysis the yips is often caused by subconscious crisis of confidence or step backwards, into conscious play.

Explaining why so many of clients arrive saying they’ve lost their ‘zone’.

But the cause of the yips isn’t always that clear.

Here are a few more possible reasons:

  • Continual overuse of a particular set of muscles.
  • A crisis of confidence, sometimes caused by a known trigger.
  • Age
  • Experience
  • Tournament play
  • Focal Dystonia

Whilst younger golf players are not immune, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that more than one third of all serious golfers have suffered and that age (as well as experience and tournament play) could be a factor as well.

But whatever the cause? It’s almost certain that anxiety hampers your muscle movement and so worsens this condition. And the anxiety that causes? Exacerbates it further.

Your best play happens subconsciously

When you are playing well, you don’t need to micro analyse every move. Sure you might think about your moves, but you’re not worrying about them.You’re not worrying about you finer muscle movements or your physical attributes. And you can already feel your success on a subconscious level.

How subconscious play works:

1. Unconscious Incompetence: Before you care about a sport, you don’t know about it, don’t know how to do it & you are clueless.

2. Conscious Competence: When you are new to your sport (or musical instrument) you have to think about what you are doing. You know you are learning, so you have to concentrate when you’re practising.

3. Unconscious Competence: When you become an experienced amateur, professional golfer or baseball player (for example) you are able to play at your best without having to stop to think about it. You are in your Zone!

So at first, you know you’re a good player and you still have to concentrate on your moves. But then you become so good, that focus becomes automatic, you can can perform well, follow your instincts under pressure, using muscle memory & perform at your best subconsciously.

In hypnosis this is known as a state of flow. In sport, you may have heard it referred to as being in your zone and in music, your grove.


Stress and the Yips

But now you’ve got the yips? You’re right back in that conscious awareness. So you consciously think about your body or grip and you start over thinking your putt, chip shot or stroke. You start anticipating this happening (which it then does). And the repeated fears of this happening makes finding your natural flow state even harder.

The putting yips, or chipping yips force you out of your relaxed, subconscious state. Where you find yourself over analysing, worrying and doubting your play.

Muscle movements become awkward and conscious.

And even your mental game starts to include visualisations of your bad play.

Stress & doubt create a self fulling prophecy.

And the more you do it? The better you get!

If you’d like to stop this vicious cycle & get actionable techniques to take to the golf course? Check my diary here.


The yips are every sports persons worst nightmare. But when the cause is psychological or exacerbated by stress, hypnotherapy might be the solution you need.

Hypnotherapy helps to focus the whole of the mind on what you truely do want, learn to move away from forecasting and unwaranted stress responses.

And Hypnosis can take you back to unconscious learnings and skills, experiencing your best play from the safety net of the hypnotic state.


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. I disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.