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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tyler matzek, yips

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 04, 2022 at 12:00 AM (#6059531)
### started slowly. It always does.

Judging from context (and the fact that there aren't a lot of three-letter swear words), I'm guessing something got chopped off here.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: January 04, 2022 at 12:06 AM (#6059532)
Mackey Sasser says hi.

and good for Matzek.

lots of banal oversharing in the culture these days, but successful athletes who let vulnerable young people know that even as star athletes they struggled mightily - yet came out ok - seems like an incredibly valuable message to put out there.
   3. You can keep your massive haul Posted: January 04, 2022 at 01:24 AM (#6059537)
Great article and great story.

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