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Yips Newsbeat

Monday, January 03, 2022

“I Was So Lost”: How Tyler Matzek Conquered the Yips to Become a World Series Champion

### started slowly. It always does. A game of catch with teammate Chad Bettis, there at the Rockies spring training facility. Low pressure, no stakes, just the ball moving through the air into a glove, into a throwing hand, and back into the air again.

But then, he remembers, one throw spiked straight into the ground. Another sailed far over Bettis’s head. And then another. And another and another. Bettis told him it was fine; he didn’t mind chasing down wayward throws. Matzek nodded. He kept throwing. But he wondered.

“Do I have the yips?”

TheThe names pass through baseball history as whispers. Steve Blass, Chuck Knoblauch, Steve Sax, Mark Wohlers. Baseball players who reach the very top of their profession, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, lose the ability to perform the most basic task of their job.

The phenomenon often seems like a mystery. For decades, it was called “Steve Blass disease” after the man with the first high-profile case. Rick Ankiel famously fell out of the majors as a pitcher when he developed a case, eventually returning as an outfielder. Golfers get them, losing the ability to putt. Gymnasts experience something similar, and more dangerous, called the “twisties.” The most recent season of Ted Lasso featured a story line in which a soccer player loses the ability to take penalty kicks, and those around him refuse to say the word, “yips,” out of superstitious fear.

So: What are they?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2022 at 06:39 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: tyler matzek, yips

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


On Tuesday afternoon, Matzek, a key member of the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen, will head to Minute Maid Park for Game 1 of the World Series a happier man and an improved pitcher. What changed him was acceptance of the fear he had always strived to suppress.

“It’s taking that fear and keeping it there,” he said. “Instead of letting it hold me back, I’m using it as fuel for an aggressive mindset. When I go out there, that fear that my body is feeling is telling me that this is exciting for a reason. Let’s not be afraid of it. Let’s attack it. When you start learning to harness that fear instead of being afraid of it, it fuels you.”

It has fueled Matzek, and he has fueled the Braves. Without him, it’s unlikely they would have won the NLCS in six games, if at all. If they are to win the World Series, it will be in significant part because of a 31-year-old reliever who, two years ago, lived out of a trailer 250 miles from here while pitching in front of a few handfuls of fans.

“To say he hit rock bottom would be an understatement,” said John McLaren, a former major-league manager who managed Matzek in Independent ball. “He went through hell, and he survived, and he’s back on the top of the mountain.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2021 at 02:06 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: tyler matzek, yips



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