How to calm the “yips”
The recent win by golfer Charlie Beljan in a PGA to tour event which qualified him for the full tour received extra notice because Beljan spent a night in the hospital between rounds to deal with the extreme anxiety he was experiencing on the course. The golf press remarked that he came back from the hospital, overcame his nerves, without using banned performance calming (or enhancing) medicines and still won the event.
The victory prompted New York Times sports writer Larry Pennington to discuss the mental side of golf and other sports and how to overcome nerves, aka, the “yips”
At CommCore we often work with speakers who suffer from everything from nervousness , to anxiety, to absolute fear of speaking in public. Depending on what survey you like public speaking is considered one of the leading fears of humans.
We also have been asked whether a beta blocker drug – which lowers blood pressure and generally calms down a person with anxiety – is a good idea for a speaker who is extremely nervous. We’re not medical doctors, just speech doctors, and don’t usually recommend prescription drugs for nerves. The edge that a drug can take off the nerves, might be the edge that’s necessary to communicate the passion and conviction in a speech or presentation.
What we do recommend for those who get nervous are practice, practice, practice, along with physical and breathing exercises to deal with nerves and anxiety. The more comfortable you are in the situation, the better the speech will go.