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Preliminary Evidence for the Treatment of Type I ‘Yips’: The Efficacy of the Emotional Freedom Techniques

Study Shows Evidence of EFT Reducing Golfing Yips and Twitches

Citation: Rotheram, M., Maynard, I., Thomas, O., Bawden, M., & Francis, L. (2012) Preliminary evidence for the treatment of type I ‘yips’: The efficacy of the Emotional Freedom Techniques. The Sport Psychologist, 26, 551-570. Click here to view Abstract http://goo.gl/VnIAeT

Abstract

This study explored whether a meridian-based intervention termed the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) could reduce Type I ‘yips’ symptoms. EFT was applied to a single figure handicap golfer in an attempt to overcome the performance decrements the player had suffered. The participant underwent four 2-hr sessions of EFT. The EFT involved the stimulation of various acupuncture points on the body. The appropriate acupuncture points were tapped while the participant was tuned into the perceived psychological causes (significant life event) associated with his ‘yips’ experience. Dependent variables included: visual inspection of the ‘yips’, putting success rate and motion analysis data. Improvements in ‘yips’ symptoms occurred across all dependent measures. Social validation data also illustrated that these improvements transferred to the competitive situation on the golf course. It is possible that significant life events may be a causal factor in the ‘yips’ experience and that EFT may be an effective treatment for the ‘yips’ condition.

Editor’s Note

So what are “yips”? Yips is a term said to have been popularized by golf champion Tommy Amour and is used to describe a type of jerking movement or twitch that is estimated by the Mayo Clinic to affect between a third to half of all serious golfers. They are said to effect high achieving athletes as well as amateurs and increase with skill and age, affecting athletes who also play baseball, tennis, basketball and more. This study explores a condition that can have tremendous application for the use of tapping with competitive athletes. While this study did show yip symptom improvement in all measures, it is limited by being a study of an “n” of one, meaning that a single golfer was used, receiving four 2-hour EFT sessions. Hopefully this study will be replicated in a larger scale. Full study unavailable for review by author.