This Week in Catcher Yips


Ever since our podcast with Robert Hansen about his struggles with the elusive ‘disease’ they call the yips, it seems small cases have been popping up all over the place. I don’t know if the disease is contagious, or maybe we’re just more aware of it now.

Either way, I’ve noticed tons of catchers struggling with the dreaded illness lately. Now since there is still no science or much psychological research behind any of it, nobody knows what really constitutes having the yips versus just having a unique tick in your throwing motion. But for purposes of conversation, I consider any sort of tick that inhibits your ability to perform such simple precisions tasks that usually required no thought in the past, like a catcher throwing the ball back to the mound. Last weekend we saw LSU’s catcher with his version.

Couple days later, University of Georgia’s catcher gave us a peek into his struggles. Two very different cases, but both show clear signs of something inhibiting this throw back to the mound. Of course we all saw Rube Baker in the Major League movie have his issues, too, remember? UGA’s catcher it seems has to throw back to the mound with a good bit of velocity, which sometimes comes back to haunt him.


Some people have given me some flack lately about making humor out of this so called “yips” stuff. Give me a break. This isn’t a life threatening disease I’m having fun with. Do you think these guys don’t know that they have these ticks? Of course they do. But they’re playing for LSU and Georgia and we’re here writing about them. I think they’re doing just fine. In fact, I saw their teammates tagging them in our tweets laughing along with us. It’s all in good fun. The yips are certainly a serious issue, but they’re still fun to watch.


  1. I know you are just a “kid” and don’t mean any harm by saying it “fun to watch” catcher’s yips. …but dude, my 15 year son has been battling the yips for just about year now. Imagine battling with something so explainable and so frustrating that you are willing to give up your passion for playing baseball, something you been doing practically all your life. The yips happen a lot more than spoken about. The embarrassment prevents players from talking about and most of them just end up quitting. If anyone is reading this and has the yips and wants to get help, google Dr. Richard Crowley. He’s the doctor that specializes in the yips and has worked with Steve Sax and many many other athletes.