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herrburgess
12-11-2009, 09:39 AM
I was reading a couple of older threads about the (specifically service) yips and wanted to follow up on a few things I read. One was that some of you have experienced the yips once (or twice) and never had them since (I think it was Cindy and Raiden); is that still the case or have they returned? The other question had to do with a response in one of these threads that a good kick serve might be a "cure." Anyone follow up on this or know the reasoning behind such a claim? (Is it that the erratic "behind-the-head" toss that seems to result from the yips lends itself easily to a kick serve?)

I have had the yips on and off for years, but they recently resurfaced at States. I did manage to fend off the yips and win in the finals, but now I'm facing Sectionals and am looking for a "cure." Right now the most promising hope for a cure from specialists in sports medicine seems to be Botox injections to deaden the "yipping" muscle and stop the erratic motions. Would hate to have to go that far...anyone else have any thoughts/experiences to relate here?

JavierLW
12-11-2009, 11:18 AM
I was reading a couple of older threads about the (specifically service) yips and wanted to follow up on a few things I read. One was that some of you have experienced the yips once (or twice) and never had them since (I think it was Cindy and Raiden); is that still the case or have they returned? The other question had to do with a response in one of these threads that a good kick serve might be a "cure." Anyone follow up on this or know the reasoning behind such a claim? (Is it that the erratic "behind-the-head" toss that seems to result from the yips lends itself easily to a kick serve?)

I have had the yips on and off for years, but they recently resurfaced at States. I did manage to fend off the yips and win in the finals, but now I'm facing Sectionals and am looking for a "cure." Right now the most promising hope for a cure from specialists in sports medicine seems to be Botox injections to deaden the "yipping" muscle and stop the erratic motions. Would hate to have to go that far...anyone else have any thoughts/experiences to relate here?

It's probably just mental, especially if you are about to enter a big moment where you are putting more stock in your matches then you normally would.

Have you ever seen the movie "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner? In it, he is about to play in a PGA Tournament and he suddenly gets "the shanks" and is slicing everything way wide.

He goes nuts screwing around with toys (garbage bought from the "Golf Channel") to try to "quick fix" his form and he cant seem to figure it out.

He gets to the tournament and is at the driving range with the pros and he's still so nervous and out of whack that his shots are pretty much slicing sideways in danger of hitting the other golfers.

Then his caddy (Cheech Martin) makes him put his hat backwards, pull his pockets out of his pants, stick a tee in his ear, and now just DRIVE. He hits his next drive and it's perfect. It's explained that this is because he's not thinking anymore, he's too busy occupied with how foolish he looks.

I saw this movie a week before our local playoffs this summer. My doubles partner is a avid movie and music buff, and he was going thru a spot on the court where he kept missing his first serve everytime.

Normally he's pretty good about just having fun out there and not getting too overwelmed, but I noticed that he was talking an awful lot about how "we should really win this one", etc...

So after he blew a couple service games (and he's by far the strongest player on our team), I asked him if he saw the movie "Tin Cup". Then we just kind of talked about how funny the movie was and we laughed and he started playing great again.

Anyway you may not agree or not, but I think a lot of times yips are caused by overthinking and pressure, not by any technical issue. You obviously dont do it all the time, so it cant be a technique flaw, it's just your brain recalling some bad habit you have or you are letting the thinking side of your brain dominate your technique.

Just relax, have fun, remember that you're out there because you enjoy tennis and dont worry about the outcome.

herrburgess
12-11-2009, 03:38 PM
Thanks Javier. That's actually encouraging to hear. Still, I think I may have the focal dystonia (involuntary muscle spasms) type of the yips. I can sometimes just be thinking about my service motion and a muscle in my arm will twitch. I agree that much of it is mental, and I have even been able to beat the yips (albeit temporarily) using the techniques in "The Inner Game of Tennis." Still, as the saying goes, "once you have the yips, you have them." And hearing that Botox potentially provides a cure for focal dystonia, I can't help but wonder...

raiden031
12-12-2009, 04:25 AM
I occasionally have yips that last 15-20 minutes at a time where I cannot toss the ball for the serve and it will take about 10 tosses before I get a servable-toss. When this happens I usually have to stop attempting the full service motion, and only do the toss over and over until it goes away. Luckily this has only happened when I was out with my hopper, and not during match play.

In recent months I have had yips involving backhand slices and backhand volleys that were shoulder height and above. Basically I would lose coordination in this shot and the racquet face would hit the ball practically straight up because I am unable to hit through it. This usually only would happen during a warmup but after hitting a few it would go away, sometims carrying over into a match but sometimes clearing up before then.

In both cases I think this might happen when I try to focus too hard on these shots, which is why it happens more in a practice environment where I'm heavily focused on my technique. The more I practice these strokes though, the less often the yips have been happening.

I don't know if a kick serve would be a cure to service toss yips, because my yips make the ball unhittable, because it is nowhere near my contact point, and in fact sometimes the ball goes 3-4 feet to my side.

burosky
12-14-2009, 01:57 PM
For about a couple of months some years back I thought I had the yips. My service toss was all over the place. I got my service toss back only after reviewing the basics and figuring out what I was doing wrong. What I thought were yips was basically caused by the swaying of my body as I was tossing the ball. This was one of those that I just took for granted. I was relying too much on muscle memory that when my muscle memory failed me it took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong.

JavierLW
12-14-2009, 02:06 PM
For about a couple of months some years back I thought I had the yips. My service toss was all over the place. I got my service toss back only after reviewing the basics and figuring out what I was doing wrong. What I thought were yips was basically caused by the swaying of my body as I was tossing the ball. This was one of those that I just took for granted. I was relying too much on muscle memory that when my muscle memory failed me it took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong.

I had an experience like that a couple years ago. I had a great summer playing tennis and the serve was the best part of my game I felt and the part I felt the most comfortable about.

But I dont remember why (probably either switched racquets or was trying something new), I totally lost it and I got to this place where nothing felt comfortable anymore. The toss was way out of whack, which screwed everything up, and I lost where the contact point is.

Then I watched this video that was posted on this site called "how to hit a topspin serve". It's the one where the guy starts out with a very simple motion just to feel out where the contact point is, and then he gradually adds to it once he gets it down.

I went out with a basket of balls and did this and sure enough not only did I get the serve back down, I was serving very well after an hour of hitting balls.

herrburgess
12-14-2009, 04:11 PM
Then I watched this video that was posted on this site called "how to hit a topspin serve". It's the one where the guy starts out with a very simple motion just to feel out where the contact point is, and then he gradually adds to it once he gets it down.

I went out with a basket of balls and did this and sure enough not only did I get the serve back down, I was serving very well after an hour of hitting balls.

Wow. I've been wanting to develop a topspin serve for a while now. As a matter of fact, I've played matches when I was at my most relaxed (i.e. when I had told myself not only that winning didn't matter, but that losing might be the best outcome in that situation) and "miraculously" I was hitting topspin serves. Javier, if you could help me locate that video (I searched but was unsuccessful) I'd be grateful!

Z-Man
12-14-2009, 04:37 PM
If I'm feeling yippy, I just take a little off the 1st serve so I don't have to hit many 2nd serves. If I do have to hit one, I try not to think at all between serves. I never talk between serves or let my mind wander. Maybe I should take more time to compose myself, but time = thought, and thought is bad when you're playing. Thought is fine between points and on changeovers, but during a point, you need to be in the zone if possible.

JavierLW
12-14-2009, 05:23 PM
Wow. I've been wanting to develop a topspin serve for a while now. As a matter of fact, I've played matches when I was at my most relaxed (i.e. when I had told myself not only that winning didn't matter, but that losing might be the best outcome in that situation) and "miraculously" I was hitting topspin serves. Javier, if you could help me locate that video (I searched but was unsuccessful) I'd be grateful!

I'll have to search for it, it's been quite awhile since Ive seen it.

Just to be clear though, I already had a topspin serve, I mainly used it because it was a great representation of how to break the stroke down and simplify it.

They do this with a lot of kids when they pick up bad habits or have odd looking serves. Rather then complicate everything they get used to a little at a time starting with the contact point.

Actually all my serves are more or less topspin or kick serves.

I play a lot of doubles so it just doesnt pay to blast flat serves on the first serve that are going to come back just as fast anyway. I have a partner that if I can help him get setup we're going to have a game that's a lot harder to crack then if I just manage to get a few easy winners off of the first serve here or there.

Which in turn makes it a lot easier for me to not mentally break down, because Im not out there wasting first serves and then getting nervous on the second serve.

(singles though is different there is a lot less downside to getting a lot of winners because you dont have a partner to help setup)

I'll see if I can find that video, Id like to watch it again myself. There was a reference to it on the board but that might of been in 2007.

herrburgess
12-15-2009, 09:20 AM
I play a lot of doubles so it just doesnt pay to blast flat serves on the first serve that are going to come back just as fast anyway. I have a partner that if I can help him get setup we're going to have a game that's a lot harder to crack then if I just manage to get a few easy winners off of the first serve here or there.

Which in turn makes it a lot easier for me to not mentally break down, because Im not out there wasting first serves and then getting nervous on the second serve.

(singles though is different there is a lot less downside to getting a lot of winners because you dont have a partner to help setup)

I'll see if I can find that video, Id like to watch it again myself. There was a reference to it on the board but that might of been in 2007.

Thanks, I'd appreciate that. I play mostly doubles myself, and have been using a serve and volley strategy. I had been playing at levels where my flat first serve was a weapon, even with the reduced amount of time it gave me to get to the net. This year I got double bumped, and will be facing people against whom a kick serve will be more effective. Plus, like I've said, I can hit a topspin serve already, so it shouldn't be too much of an adjustment (I hope).

kopi360
12-19-2009, 10:37 AM
The yips, at least from a golfing standpoint, are almost always mentally related. I know people who have had the botox injections for the yips with putting and I think a lot of that is a placebo effect (and even then it improved their putting slightly). My short game in golf is amazing and I attribute that to a focus on repeating temporal rhythms when I practice. Not focused on the putt but on repeating rhythms. I believe muscle memory develops best against involuntary motions when linked to rhythmic patterns. You see marching drummers practice rudiments at a slow tempo that allows them to build into fast speeds without any involuntary motions that throw off the pattern. If you allow your mind the sort of wander and second guess itself then you make yourself susceptible to causing the yip.

When I watch someone like Federer practice taking forehands it's hypnotic how his motions will have a consistent rhythm. To me it's like watching Phil Mickelson practice short putts over and over with the same rhythm.

herrburgess
12-19-2009, 04:39 PM
The yips, at least from a golfing standpoint, are almost always mentally related. I know people who have had the botox injections for the yips with putting and I think a lot of that is a placebo effect (and even then it improved their putting slightly). My short game in golf is amazing and I attribute that to a focus on repeating temporal rhythms when I practice. Not focused on the putt but on repeating rhythms. I believe muscle memory develops best against involuntary motions when linked to rhythmic patterns. You see marching drummers practice rudiments at a slow tempo that allows them to build into fast speeds without any involuntary motions that throw off the pattern. If you allow your mind the sort of wander and second guess itself then you make yourself susceptible to causing the yip.

When I watch someone like Federer practice taking forehands it's hypnotic how his motions will have a consistent rhythm. To me it's like watching Phil Mickelson practice short putts over and over with the same rhythm.

Thanks for the info. That's very interesting. So when you talk of focusing on "repeating temporal rhythms" do you mean focusing on, for example, the rhythm of the service (or, in the case of golf, putting) motion. Something like a "1, 2, 3" rhythm that corresponds to a "set, toss, hit" motion? Are you kind of saying "1, 2, 3" in your head at the time, as Tim Gallwey suggests in "The Inner Game of Tennis" (like where he talks about getting into a "bounce, hit" rhythm during a rally)?

Also, when you say the Botox had a placebo effect, did you mean that they did experience improvement, but only a slight improvement? Are they satisfied with the results? Thanks again for your insight. It's really extremely helpful.

athiker
12-19-2009, 05:28 PM
I'll have to search for it, it's been quite awhile since Ive seen it.

Just to be clear though, I already had a topspin serve, I mainly used it because it was a great representation of how to break the stroke down and simplify it.

They do this with a lot of kids when they pick up bad habits or have odd looking serves. Rather then complicate everything they get used to a little at a time starting with the contact point.

Actually all my serves are more or less topspin or kick serves.

I play a lot of doubles so it just doesnt pay to blast flat serves on the first serve that are going to come back just as fast anyway. I have a partner that if I can help him get setup we're going to have a game that's a lot harder to crack then if I just manage to get a few easy winners off of the first serve here or there.

Which in turn makes it a lot easier for me to not mentally break down, because Im not out there wasting first serves and then getting nervous on the second serve.

(singles though is different there is a lot less downside to getting a lot of winners because you dont have a partner to help setup)

I'll see if I can find that video, Id like to watch it again myself. There was a reference to it on the board but that might of been in 2007.

Wow. I've been wanting to develop a topspin serve for a while now. As a matter of fact, I've played matches when I was at my most relaxed (i.e. when I had told myself not only that winning didn't matter, but that losing might be the best outcome in that situation) and "miraculously" I was hitting topspin serves. Javier, if you could help me locate that video (I searched but was unsuccessful) I'd be grateful!

This might be the topspin video series Javier was referencing. The link is to the 1st video of the series, you can click on the next ones from there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRaONZgUg-k&feature=PlayList&p=449CB89CC472D35F&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=48