How to Not Think about Yipping a Throw
Worry about the yips, making errors, slumps and bad games are mind clutter that can affect some baseball players for an entire season.
Yips, errors, slumps and bad games can create profound, intense negative images that, once these negative images take hold, seem to lurk in your mind and be the only thing you can focus on for an extended period of time.
Most baseball players have no difficulty at all recalling some of their worst games because the images are indelibly marked on their minds.
Even if a coach tells a player, “Don’t think about that error,” it still replays in that player’s mind.
“Don’t think about it” is not an good strategy to forget making mistakes, having the yips or playing bad in a series of games.
It is no different than the age-old conundrum…”Don’t think of an elephant. Your mind immediately drifts to images of elephants. This is often referred to as “ironic rebound”.
This phenomenon is a process where deliberate efforts to suppress thoughts or images only make the images or thoughts more likely to pop up in your mind.
When you try to suppress negative images or thoughts, not only do those images come closer in your mind, you reinforce those images. When you get to that point, the negative images create more anxiety, stress and fear, making the images more even intense.
Atlanta Braves pitcher Touki Toussaint tried the “Don’t think about it” strategy to no avail.
Toussaint had the yips a couple of years ago in spring training. Toussaint tried to tell himself not to throw a bad pitch, but focusing on not throwing a bad pitch only resulted in throwing a bad pitch.
Eventually, Toussaint decided to focus on what he wanted to do rather the negative/avoidance script that lead to poor results.
TOUSSAINT: “I legit had the yips in spring training of 2017. I couldn’t even throw it near the catcher. I told myself it couldn’t get any worse, and I started figuring it out. It was like, ‘Don’t throw it away. Don’t make a bad pitch.’ But you’d make the bad pitch. I stopped telling myself that and said, ‘Just throw the ball,’ and it started clicking.”
Toussaint’s turnaround was the direct result of changing what he thought about when throwing. Instead of fearing a bad outcome, he switched his focus on just throwing the ball or immersing himself in the process.
Focusing on the failures of the past has never helped a baseball player advance their game or overcome mistakes, slumps or the yips.
Thinking of the past keeps your head in the past and takes your focus off what is important to perform your best in the moment.
Getting over the past is a matter of focusing on the present.
Overcoming Yips, Slumps and Mistakes:
Instead of thinking about what NOT to do (don’t spike the ball), give yourself a verbal cue of what you want to do as you make the play.
You don’t want to think about striking out during your at-bat. Instead, you will do better thinking about making solid contact.
For throwing, you might use; “just throw,” “hit the target,” or “see the throw and let it go.”
Remember, the fear of making a bad throw will only lead to over control, tension, and worry. Keep it simple and think about the ball hitting the glove only.
And if you want more help with overcoming the lob throw, contact me about one-on-one mental coaching for the yips.
Breaking The Yips Cycle Audio
If you can throw well when alone, but can’t take it to games, this is a mental game issue and not a physical challenge!
The Yips Cycle is a vicious cycle that causes ball players to stay trapped in over thinking and over control…
Learn to throw or pitch freely again with my proven audio and workbook program:
“Breaking The Yips Cycle” is a complete brain dump of the TOP Eight mental training sessions I do with my personal coaching students to help them overcome the yips and play with freedom again.
The Audio and Workbook Program Includes:
- Two CDs (CD purchase only). 120 minutes of mental training sessions to help you gain greater freedom, focus on the right performance cues, and simplify your prepitch routines.
- MP3 Audio (Digital Download). 120 minutes of mental training sessions you can download to your computer right away while you wait for the CDs and workbook to arrive. (MP3 Audio value = $149).
- An 8-Session Breaking The Yips Cycle Workbook to guide you through my mental game sessions and to overcome the throwing yips (Workbook value: $149.00).
- Bonus Session: Practice drills to free up your throwing to help you improve consistency and stop focusing on mechanics when you play.
Get Expert Mental Game Coaching for Yips!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“I Felt I Was Throwing Completely Free”*
“Today was a really good day. I felt I was throwing completely free, had maybe one or two tense throws and after coach told me it looked very good.”*
“Your Response To The Throwing Problem Covers Many Situations In Life”*
“Your response to the throwing problem in front of the coach covers so many situations in life…that is the beauty of playing sports…the life learning experiences. Keep up the good work…you are the best coach.”*
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.