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Dr. Ken Ravizza on Dealing with the ‘Yips’

Chad Moeller and Ken Ravizza Discuss the ‘Yips’


Chad:  – So Ken, there’s a common problem in baseball and no one wants to talk about it. I dealt with it when I was in high school and I battled it my entire career although no one, or very few people, know anything about it. It often has nicknames, the thing. Its most commonly referred to as ‘the yips’ and what have you found with ball players and dealing with it. Have you had any success with dealing with this because it’s a scary, scary thing for a ball player and it’s being able to not do the most remedial thing, throw a ball where you want to?


Dr. Ken:  – Right. I think one of the things Chad that’s real important is it’s not just in baseball , in golf, it’s in almost every sport where the most basic fundamental skill. I saw it in gymnastics where they couldn’t do the most basic move you can learn as a ten year old in Saturday gym two weeks before nationals. I saw figure skaters before the Olympics; they couldn’t do the most basic things. Then a lot of the stress of the situation gets played out on that thing and I think, first thing I would say is anyone who is dealing with this or you have a child who’s dealing with this is just how courageous that person is in taking this on because their being embarrassed, their embarrassed and there’s fear and their addressing it and their dealing with it so, I mean being as supportive as you can. I think the common thing is well just do it, just throw the damn ball you know and if they could they would.


Chad: – Yeah.


Dr. Ken – I think some of the things that with different people it works different ways. I wish I could tell you do this, this and this and it’s guaranteed for success but I think one thing is that if you can just settle yourself down, get relaxed, see if you can visualize yourself, see yourself go through it, feel it, taste it. Go through it almost in slow motion, making the throw, visualizing it. If you can’t see it sitting down then stand up and go through the actual movements. That would be one thing I have found for some people that helps. Sometimes throwing into a net where you eliminate the target and you keep the focus just on good sound mechanics and stay with the mechanics and it’s almost something in some cases that you can work through over time but there’s no guarantees here. I wish I could say this is going to do it. Another thing would be after you make the throw or as you’re throwing, don’t have the throw end with the throw. Have it end with hitting the glove. If you can put the thought process, the focus, on hitting the glove it’s not on am I going to throw the ball away. Another, I have a graduate student that said what he focused on was the footwork instead of the throwing action. Whatever it takes for you but you don’t want to start well I’m going to do this this throw, this this throw, I’m going to do this today. That didn’t work. I’m going to do another one tomorrow. You want to stay with these for a little while and try them out.


Chad: – Right.


Dr. Ken: – But most importantly Chad it’s sort of like your son or daughter’s very courageous in taking this on and really be there to support them and validate them with that.


Chad: – I think you’re exactly right because it’s a scary time and I’ve found that catchers I’ve worked with and dealing with it myself, a lot of it has to do with fear, embarrassment, that whole question am I good enough? You know what they are being courageous and it is something difficult and they can overcome it. I know it never totally left me. It always was in my head. I played and 99.9% of people would have no idea that I dealt with it besides people that I divulged it to. But I also find that it makes it worse sometimes to hold everything in as opposed to just let somebody know and be open that this stinks and it’s uncomfortable and I don’t like how it feels and then I find that you can breathe a little bit easier and you know it makes it a little bit simpler from that standpoint. It’s still difficult.


Dr. Ken: – And I think it’s something Chad I know in our conversations when we used to talk about it when we were first working together. The thing I got from our conversations specifically was some days it’s there, some days it isn’t there, some days it’s there to different degrees and to have something in place for when it’s there and to not be so is it there, isn’t it there, oh it’s there ahhhh!!! But ok I got to deal with it today. This is what I’m going through.


Chad: – Yeah.


Dr. Ken: – And I think from a parental analogy, where we can tie life analogy, is hey we have good days, we have bad days, we have days where we break an arm. We got to go through work with a cast on and you’re learning to compensate and adjust.


Chad: – Yeah. Thanks that’s great Ken and it is, it’s tough and if somebody’s going through it, I feel for you and I’ve been there and hopefully you’ll be able to get through this.


Dr. Ken: – But I think the point your saying is reach out, get some support.


Chad: – Absolutely.


Dr. Ken: – And hey you’re courageous in terms of getting after it.


Chad: – Absolutely.


Dr. Ken: – Definitely.


Chad: – Thank you Ken.



Dr. Ken – Yep.

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