How to Overcome the Yips

Have you ever had the yips? The yips (which is a real term that I promise I didn't make up) refers to the sudden loss of ability by skilled athletes. If this phrase seems familiar to you, then you might have seen this episode of How I Met Your Mother. While the yips is typically a phenomenon of the best in the sport, it can happen to us regular people too. I've had the yips after a fall, and I've also had it for MONTHS at the beginning of a ski season. Here are some tips to get over the yips:

Get Out As Much As Possible

Getting out on your skis/snowboard/bike/etc when having the yips is important to help get over the mental block. The more you are out there, the more you can connect with your innate ability and begin to feel comfortable again. Even if it is for a short period of time, it helps to go as many days as you can.

Watch a Sports Movie

No, this is not me saying that Hotdog... The Movie is going to make you better at skiing. However, watching a professional testing the limits of the sport can give you the inspiration you need. Seeing someone complete incredible feats can give you courage to do the more simple tricks you are hoping to complete. As a bonus scientific fact, watching someone do a sport triggers the mirror neurons in your brain and can help facilitate learning (boom I finally used my biology minor).

Take a Lesson

If you have fear about making a mistake, having an expert help you out is always a good idea. They can help tweak your form to not only help improve your skills, but also to boost your confidence. You might just walk away with a new perspective into your ability that allows you to approach some skills differently.

Go With Friends

Remember, most of us aren't doing this for a living. We ski/snowboard/bike for fun! Connect with the fun in the sport and go with a bunch of buddies. Taking the focus off of yourself will help clear your mind. This tip also works extremely well if you are way better than all of your friends!

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