The yips

All in the mind

How it feels to be trapped in the choking process

ESPNcricinfo staff

Text size: A | A

Ravi Shastri famously got the yips at Glamorgan in 1991 © Getty Images

What are the yips?
"Getting the yips" is a phrase used to describe a (mostly) mental affliction that prevents sportsmen from performing a repetitive task - such as bowling - in the presence of an audience. Most commonly prevalent among golfers, in cricket the syndrome usually affects bowlers, particularly left-arm spinners.

How are the yips different from an attack of nerves, or a choke?
Getting the yips is not, unlike nerves, a passing phenomenon. It is akin to being trapped for long periods in the choking process.

What causes it?
There is no one cause, but a change in bowling action to compensate for injury may be a trigger. Also, research has shown that bowlers with the yips may be overusing the analytical left side of their brains.

What are the manifestations?
At nets, yippers generally feel everything is fine, only to fall to pieces in a match situation, losing length and line, and often both.

Have any well known players been victims?
Fred Swarbrook, the Derbyshire left-arm spinner of the 1970s, was one of the first public cases. Ravi Shastri, Phil Edmonds, and Maninder Singh are among the better known players to have been affected.

Is there a cure?
There is no fail-safe cure, but victims have found help in such measures as rubbing a soft pebble kept in the pocket before bowling, and in starting a spell from over the wicket. Research also suggests bowling in the nets against a friendly batsman, then going on to an unfamiliar batsman, then in the middle with nets, then without, and so on, may help.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Email Feedback Print
ESPNcricinfo staffClose
Related Links

    What is Rohit Sharma's role?

Should India have practised slip catching in the nets? Who will play at the G?

    'I'd like to have faced the West Indies quicks'

Northamptonshire's David Willey picks his ideal partner for a jungle expedition, and talks about his famous dad

    Benn shows up in body and spirit

Tony Cozier: The spinner has brought in a sense of discipline into his bowling and behaviour on the field since his Test comeback

    The return of Bob Simpson

Rewind: When the 41-year-old former captain came out of retirement to lead Australia against India

Bowling to blame for India's poor overseas record

Kartikeya Date: The inability to build pressure by denying runs, even on helpful pitches, is India's biggest problem

News | Features Last 7 days

What ails Rohit and Watson?

Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena

The perfect Test

After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.

Hazlewood completes quartet of promise

Josh Hazlewood has been on Australian cricket's radar since he was a teenager. The player that made a Test debut at the Gabba was a much-improved version of the tearaway from 2010

Australia in good hands under proactive Smith

The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game

Karn struggles to stay afloat

The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

News | Features Last 7 days