Yips is the loss of fine motor skills without apparent explanation, in one of a number of different sports. Athletes affected by the yips demonstrate a sudden, unexplained loss of previous skills. Athletes affected by the yips sometimes recover their ability, sometimes compensate by changing technique, or may be forced to abandon their sport at the highest level. Yips are involuntary wrist spasms that occur most commonly when golfers are trying to putt. However, the yips can also affect people who play other sports such as cricket, darts and baseball.
The most common symptom associated with the yips is an involuntary muscle jerk, although some people experience tremors, twitches, spasms or freezing.
In cases of primary dystonia, it is thought that the basal ganglia does not produce enough neurotransmitters, or it produces the wrong type of neurotransmitters, resulting in problems with muscle function. The basal ganglia is a collection of brain cells at the front of the brain. They are responsible for sending messages from the brain to various muscles in order to move them.
In some people, the yips are a type of focal dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions during a specific task. It's most likely related to overuse of a certain set of muscles, similar to writer's cramp. Anxiety worsens the effect. Because the yips may be related to overuse of specific muscles, a change of technique or equipment may help.