Working With the Yips

Sep 21, 2018


Gordon Morrison and Dr Noel Rousseau

The Belfry, Wednesday 24th April 2019 


Recent research has indicated that over 30% of golfers have experienced the yips at some time in their career. Yet, there is very little (none until now) coach education on how we help golfers unlucky enough to have this highly debilitating affliction.

As a coach, there is nothing worse than feeling helpless as your student struggles on in front of you, yet a standard technique based intervention will often just make things worse.



By definition, the yips is an involuntary movement so trying to just change the action via a normal technical intervention is going to be a frustrating experience. Where we put our attention will make a massive difference to your ability to make a smooth and uninterrupted stroke.



In 2017 I got in touch with Gordon Morrison to see about putting together a training workshop for professional coaches working with the...

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If You Want to Hit Your Irons Solidly You Need Lead Wrist Flexion

Aug 28, 2018

This is all about creating a strong impact alignment to get the multiple benefits below.

Bottom of Arc 

A forward leaning shaft at impact will push the bottom of your arc forwards of the ball giving you:

  • A downward angle of attack
  • Contact with the ball before the ground.
  • A better chance of an IN-OUT patch (dependant on horizontal plane/swing direction)

Dynamic Loft

You will also have greatly decreased the dynamic loft to effect of:

  • Greater smash/ ball compression and ball speed
  • Lower spin rate
  • Lower launch
  • Greatly improved distance (see dynamic loft video)


This is a big topic for irons where a shaft lean at impact is hugely desirable. With a wood and to a lesser extent, a rescue, we are looking for the shaft to be inline with the ball and return with approximately the neutral loft of the club.

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Creating Back Spin

Aug 20, 2018

Sorry folks, there is no trick, slight of hand or flick of the wrist that creates spin. You need to manage these factors.

Factors Influencing Spin Rate

Having to factor in all these aspects seems like a lengthy process but with experience, it all happens fairly quickly.

  • Loft: More loft = more spin until we go over the spin loft threshold (see Spin Loft video)
  • Angle of attack: It is instinctive to think that hitting down gives us more spin but this is only the case if you are not delofting the club as is often the case as angle of attack increases.  
  • Clubhead speed: More speed =more spin so be mindful on short shots that you may have to rely on height to 
  • Water on the ball or club: (See dedicated video)
  • Wind: Most people are comfortable that playing into the wind is going to all but guarantee the ball to stop but then don't fully appreciate the opposite effect when playing downwind. This is especially...
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Heightened Focus and My Interview with Karl Morris

Aug 15, 2018

I was recently invited on the 'Brain Booster' podcast with Karl Morris. We discussed my research, swing changes and key performance factors in general. If you are interested in the interview then just click on the link at the bottom of the page.

The Red Dot

Karl Morris has been one of Europe's top Sports Psychologists for many years and has worked with numerous major champions including Darren Clark and Graeme McDowell. He is probably most famous for the 'Red Dot' intervention that he and Louis Oosthuizen used when he won the British Open.


How to Create Your Own Red Dot 'Anchor'

This was a Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) technique known as 'anchoring' that is based on the work by Ivan Pavlov on 'classic conditioning'. It works by associating peak performance states (the mood and level of focus present at moments of peak performance) with the red dot.

This is how it is done: :for this to work you really need to get associated into the moment of peak...

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You vs The Robot: A Dynamical Systems View on the Golf Swing

May 10, 2018

One of the highlights of the World Scientific Congress of Golf (St Andrews 2016) was Gene Parente. Gene has a golf testing business (Golf Laboratories) that started in 1990 with a machine that was powered by a garage door spring. This has since evolved into the 'Go-to Robot' that is used by all the US-based major manufacturers for equipment testing. The Robot (Eldrik) is powered by Lithium ion batteries and is capable of re-creating any kind of golf shot and launch conditions.

Eldrik was put to test on the "Bear Pit' 168 yrd par 3 at the Waste Managment TPC where it was tasked with getting a hole in one in front of 20,000, mostly alcohol infused fans. If the Robot didn't feel any pressure, you can be sure the Gene did, especially when the first ball was a miss and it takes 45 minutes to fully adjust the robot. Incredibly,  the short-cut solution was to adjust the position of the ball so that the club made contact on a different location on the face. This quick...

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Leg Action in Downswing

May 01, 2018

The motion of the legs is often described in very broad terms with terms like 'slide' or 'turn'. Given the affect the lower half pivot has on the motion of the club, it is worth understanding what an optimal movement looks like.

David Griffiths has very long legs and could end up looking extremely clumsy but in fact; he exemplifies a powerful pivot. 

Linear vs Rotation

In the subscription part of the site, I cover the topic in more detail and discuss the merits of rotation vs sliding laterally. In basic terms, a slide of the pelvis in transition will encourage a steep shaft angle and 'pivot stall/club flip' action through impact. Conversely, pelvis rotation will more naturally lead to the arms moving outward and the shaft shallowing through the downswing, thus enabling the continued pivot through the ball and all the benefits that brings.


Double External

In transition, David squats down rotates both hips externally while the pressure...

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Launch Your Driver

Apr 20, 2018

Like most of my coaching, training the optimal movement with a driver revolves around having a clear concept of the end point; in this case, the sweeping motion of the club through strike. You have probably heard this before but let's be clear on our main objective:

"To maximise distance and accuracy the driver needs to hit the ball in middle (or slightly above centre) of the club face and with the club head moving from the inside and as much as 6 degrees upward through contact."


How to Create These Launch Conditions

In the modern coaching environment of launch moniters players are often tasked with hitting more up on a driver but there are various protocol that would lead to this.

CAVEAT- If you scoop/flip your wrists though impact you will hit up but create added undesirable spin and lose distance. Here are some better moves to consider.

Width of Arc

If your downswing is narrow then it is very unlikely that you will be able to shallow out the bottom of...

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Incredible Movement Synergy

Apr 20, 2018

This is one of dozens of 'Phantom' slow motion swing videos that are on the subscription site.


It's no wonder that the world of movement science is so heavily represented by research undertaken in golf. Hugely POWERFUL, yet GRACEFUL to the point of exhibiting fine CONTROL and massive SPEED. This does not occur overnight. Well done David Griffiths (swing model above). 


For the Coach

The swing is a hugely complex arrangement of movement synergies built around well documented constraints such as the TASK, EQUIPMENT, PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES/RESTRICTIONS. This all interplays with the player's swing 'schema'; learned habits, swing beliefs, intentions (Basically, what the player is trying to do with their swing right now but also through prior learning). In this case the golfer is 'self organising' around the launch requirements (impact alignment) of hitting a driver with the required sweeping motion.

In my experience, the most influential 'constraints' in a...

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High Floating Bunker Shot - Masterclass

Apr 20, 2018

Everything David does here is built around the need to 'whack' the sand with the back of the club. In doing so, the club slides under the ball without ever digging in, slowing down and losing loft. Here are some technique keys:

Set Up

  • Open the face as much as 45 degrees and re-grip it. This may look like the ball will go a long way right but when we lower the handle the loft brings the face back to aiming straight, just with more loft and an exposed bounce (sole of the club).
  • Stand further back than a chip, lower the handle and squat down into our legs.
  • Have 80% of your weight on the front knee.


  • The club is swung upward to the 'L' shape, while keeping the face open.
  • Swing down and whack the back of the club into the sand (2-3" behind the ball) and slide the face under the ball.
  • Stay low in knees and keep your body very still throughout the action. This needs to feel like a 'hands and arms swing' where the club head is swung past our head.
  • Keep the face open...
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Automaticity in Golf: The Reality of Swing Thoughts

Apr 02, 2018

You would think that an 8 year study on the benefits of relinquishing swing thoughts would lead me to become a sports psychologist, complete hippy or otherwise esoteric character. To give you a clue as to the personal impact of the study, I am a technical coach that utilizes 3D motion analysis technology. I value greatly self-awareness of one’s movement and view technical awareness as the route to positive automaticity.

It is easy to be seduced by the notion that optimal performance occurs in the absence of conscious control. Golfers are all too familiar with what it is like to think too much about the swing, be that through their own hypothesis testing or explicit coaching. I don’t know who best to credit with the phrase, “paralysis through analysis”, but I would like to bet it was a golfer.

It follows logically to contrast this crippling experience of extreme conscious control with our retrospective reflections of moments of peak performance, which...

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