Athletic Performance & Anxiety: Overcoming the Yips

When Traumatic Experiences Lead to Athletic Performance Issues | Psychotherapy Networker Magazine

Sports injuries sometimes present themselves psychologically as PTSD-type symptoms, and are very common among athletes. Our brains have a natural, protective mechanism called a “withdrawal reflex.” If you were to reach your hand out to a hot stove, your nerve endings would sense the heat and quickly send a message to your brain, telling you to pull your hand away to avoid injury. Athletes who have experienced accidents, injuries, shaming coaches and humiliating performances sometimes develop a “withdrawal reflex” on the field, on the ice, on the track, on the court, or on the road. But that brief withdrawal reflex is now a game-losing play, a missed opportunity, and the dreaded mental block. Golfers refer to this as the “yips.” When it happens, athletes often experience shame, frustration and even some mild depression due to the loss of identity and activity. Brainspotting Therapy helps athletes beat mental blocks and performance anxiety for good. Click on the “Brainspotting” link above for lots more info, and an ESPN video highlight of Brainspotting with athletes.