"Yips" are the involuntary and uncontrolled jerks, tremors, or freezing that affect certain individuals when they undertake finely controlled motor skills. In the world of sports, where fine movements can assume critical importance, the yips are most often associated with golf, especially putting or chipping, when a sudden jerk of the wrist can send a ball whizzing past the cup.According to Smith et al. [Sports Med. 2003; 33:13-31] yips-affected golfers add approximately 4.7 strokes to their scores over 18 holes. However, the yips can also affect a host of other sportsmen, including bowlers, snooker players, dart throwers, and even petanque cuckers. Considerable research has been undertaken into the yi8ps, with some neurological evidence suggesting that they may be a form of focal dystonia. Such task-specific dystonias affect groups of muscles, usually when placed under repeated stress, and they include the commonly suffered "writer's cramp." The controversial suggestion that psychological factors like "performance anxiety" or "choking" might play a contributory part in such involuntary movements on the sports field is much disputed.
Ogden Nash (1902-71)