Speeding Past the Yips in the Business of Life

Posted by Vince Poscente on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

According to Tiger Wood’s former swing coach, Hank Haney, more than 1/4 of golfers suffer from the yips. It seems that the yips could be a corporate condition as well.

Some of you are going, “Wow, that’s high.” Others are saying, “Yips? What are yips?”

To get us all on the same page, yips are a slight tremor occurring just before the forward swing of a club. In effect, a golfer can have all the skill and experience in the world, but if he or she has a slight “yip” before striking the ball it will end up in an unintended location.

Speaking at a PGA Merchandise Show, Haney talked abou the yips and a Golf Digest interview he did. The average response to any article is about 30 emails. Golf Digest registered over 3000 emails from the yipping community. “The articles hit a nerve,” explained Haney.

Golf is considered to be a slow, meandering sport but it really is a speed game. In less than three seconds a myriad of physical and mental skills need to align for the perfect shot. Flawless execution in such a brief period is the holy-grail for all golfers.


The yips are a natural human condition. Unlocking the mysteries of the human condition is the quest for golf coaches and business guru’s alike.

In business, the yips would be analogous to real time, forced decision making. In other words, when there is no time for conscious deliberation. It could be that crucial point in a sale where you immediately need to know exactly what to say. Or a negotiation that requires the perfect words. Or a speech in front of industry specialists scrutinizing your every word.

One yip and you’re toast.

Here’s how to get past the yips in business (and golf):

  1. Interrupt your patterns. If you have a habit of one sort, break up the habit by doing something different. For example, in a speech if you typically walk on stage and say, “Good morning,” then change it up. Pause first, look at the audience, take a breath and then say something else like, “We are going to have some fun this morning.” Haney recommends that instead of looking at the ball, look at the bill of your cap at the top of your swing. In either case you are interrupting the unconscious patterns that circumnavigate the patterns associated with yips.
  2. Keep your eye on the prize. Any behavior that is self destructive in nature reveals a deeper, unconscious pathway to an undesirable outcome. Even subtle behaviors like gossiping or forgetting to call someone back can be clues to an unconscious agenda that needs to be corrected. Ensure that you are clear on the prize that you desire. Know what closing a deal or sinking a birdie would feel like and then take a swing.
  3. Let go of yips gone by. Fixating on a problem only exacerbates the problem. You will give power to problems by obsessing on them. Acknowledge the yip and move on.

May you speed past the yips as you golf, work or manage to do both at once.


Tags: Sales, Business Leadership