top of page


Dreaded in the game of golf, “the yips” is defined by a sudden, unexpected spasmodic jerk of the hand or forearm muscles. In golfing, the yips may manifest during a player’s putting game. Also noted in other sports, some well-known and experienced athletes have also unexpectedly developed the yips to such a degree they were never able to recover and subsequently left competition and their sport (Meisel, 2013). Outside of neurological focal dystonia, the yips appear to occur more frequently under situations involving high stress and heart rates, and in competition, when athletes are required to perform a single, precise and well-timed action (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Obviously, the emotional states, decisions, and outcomes associated with human survival are more than those related to competition. However, similar to the stress experienced by the golfer attempting a tournament-winning putt, law enforcement officers may also be required to take significant action under high stress by executing a single precise action- perhaps the press of their firearm’s trigger before sight alignment is achieved.


Are “the yips” a known phenomenon in athletics? How do you know this? Could they be?

Are “the yips” in an athletic context predictable or preventable? Why? How?

Are “the yips” a known phenomenon in law enforcement operations and/or uses of force? How do you know this? Could they be?

Are “the yips” in a law enforcement context predictable or preventable? Why? How?

Could a law enforcement officer experiencing “the yips” have their intentions and actions misinterpreted? Why, or why not? How?

How would a law enforcement use of force, possibly involving “the yips,” be objectively evaluated for reasonableness? If the condition is not considered, should it be? Why, or why not?


Champagne, B. (2017). Quarterbacks and the Law Enforcement Use of Force? Facebook: Analyzing Law Enforcement Uses of Force. June 12.

Mayo Clinic Staff. YIPS. 1998-2018 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER).…/y…/symptoms-causes/syc-20379021

Meisel, Z. (2013). "The Yips: Difficult to understand, difficult to cure"., May 10.

bottom of page