Define "Yips" please.

I know its asking a lot of today's "Media" but could we please DEFINE words that we use repeatedly in reporting facts about big "stories". I know its just "sports media" but shouldn't there be like, some of sort of journalistic integrity or reporting standards or some such even in sport entertainment media?

I understand internet trolls like the LB Master Troll 'Yodel" and his incarnations who just throw out one liners and asinine statements without ever bothering to define what anything actually means, but its kind of sad when sports "Media" does essentially the same thing.

What exactly is "the Yips"? Better yet as Drew Hanlen basketball super trainer said what exactly is "kind of the Yips of basketball" which media reporters shortened in their stories to the just "the Yips".

The Markelle Fultz rational look series has been called upon again to inject just a bit or rationality to a story that strikes a very irrational response from an amazing number of both fans and media on the story around the shooting issues that surfaced for last years #1 overall pick of the NBA draft.

This time, thanks in part to remarks made by the aforementioned Drew Hanlen the popular NBA trainer who is working with Fultz to fix his shooting stroke. Hanlen made some remarks in what sounded like a pretty light hearted and humorous interview which an amazing portion of the media took as some of absolute vindication of Markelle's condition as "YIPS".

Now Hanlen said "Kind of the Yips of basketball" and also used the phrase "Completely forgot how to shoot" in his remarks. That statement now has been taken by some as Gospel Truth according to Yips and read by those same people as meaning Fultz DID NOT have an INJURY.

Its pretty amazing to me because Hanlen never said anything about the INJURY which Fultz and the Sixers and Medical Specialists say he had. Hanlen said nothing about injury but he used the term "YIPS" and for many people that meant that the injury story was bogus.

Hanlen may do wonders for Fultz shot, we hope so, but in terms of this interview Drew Hanlen did Markelle Fultz absolutely no favors with this interview. Yes he said Fultz is looking good now in his shooting progress but he probably had no idea that what people would end up doing is mostly ignoring what he said about Fultz's excellent progress and focus on 2 parts of interview

1) "kinda the YIPS of basketball"

2) Forgot how to shoot

That's all some people took from the interview. A documented case of "kinda the YIPS of basketball" is probably not the most exact definition as it leaves a lot of wiggle room.

Is "kinda the YIPS" different from pure "YIPS". :-) Is "the YIPS of basketball" different from "the YIPS of baseball" or other sports? Inquiring minds want to know.

Its amazing but then again mostly people hear what they want to hear don't we? For some reason, some people WANT to hear that Markelle Fultz was not really injured and is not really recovering from injury but simply has a mental issue. Curious why people want to believe that but in our rational series let's be clear about what this really means or implies when people say that:

and this is one reason I've posted to inject just a bit or rationality to a story that strikes a very irrational response from an amazing number of both fans and media.

The term 'yips' is probably a misnomer in Fultz's case particularly because what some fans and media are essentially doing is trying to say plainly that:

There was no, is no injury involved with Fultz's shooting problem.
The clear implication is that Its all mental, or as some arrogantly proclaim to know its "90% mental".
Now how exactly do these remarkable media or fan commentators know the following things:

A) Fultz was/is lying about his pain or simply thinks he has physical pain when of course "we of the internet" know he really didn't have physical pain because well, we know better than he does.

B) The shoulder specialists in Kentucky, world class medical personnel were either lying or completely deceived in rehabbing and reporting this as an injury because "we of internet" know better and have much more experience with injured shoulders.

C) Yes Fultz shot the ball perfectly consistent with the rest of college career all during NBA summer league but suddenly, without real injury or pain, just went mental and forgot after his left summer league early with an ankle injury.
Or was it REALLY an ankle injury? Hmm maybe it just looked like an ankle injury! Maybe he faked the ankle injury! Why not since we know he's 'mental'.

D) Fultz was not physically affected or injured in shoulder muscles by the bizarre repetitive shooting motions and exercises his mentor and personal trainer put him through.

The exercises included shooting practice such as shooting on his back from the floor, shooting from chairs and other positions mentioned by the Colangelo Burner accounts but not specified. We have no idea exactly how many of these awkward shooting repetitions Markelle was put through.

What we do know for a fact now is that Fultz was put through these drills as it has been verified and documented with video evidence which the burner accounts said existed as proof of the source of Fultz's shooting issues but most people had never seen.

This training by his Mentor/Trainer was actually pointed to as the origin of the shoulder pain and shooting issues at the very early part of the public response to the issue but if you recall, the Fultz team / agent etc. denied it and shut it down as a response.

All that said as this is a rational look background, since most people and irresponsible media will hold on to the simplistic sound bites of "YIPS" and "forgot how to shoot" no matter what the more rational observers say, can we at least we at least attempt to provide a definition of what the YIPS is?

If Fultz is one of the very few ever basketball players to have YIPS can we be clear about what exactly that means?

Here's 3 definitions one from popular source Wikipedia, one from good old Webster's dictionary and one from a world respected Medical Source in Mayo Clinic.

Now how exactly is it that these media 'experts' and internet observers know enough to confidently state A, B, C and D with certainty or even "90%" certainty?


Image result for wikipedia logo

The yips is the loss of fine motor skills in athletes.

The condition occurs suddenly and without apparent explanation, usually in mature athletes with years of experience. It is poorly understood and has no known treatment or therapy. Athletes affected by the yips sometimes recover their ability, which may require a change in technique. Many are forced to abandon their sport at the highest level.

The yips manifest themselves as twitches, staggers, jitters, and jerks. The condition occurs most often in sports which athletes are required to perform a single precise and well-timed action such as golf and darts. The condition is also experienced by snooker players, bowlers in cricket and pitchers in baseball.

Miriam Webster

Merriam-Webster Logo

Definition of yips

: a state of nervous tension affecting an athlete (such as a golfer) in the performance of a crucial action
  • had a bad case of the yips on short putts

Who first dubbed an athlete's stress under pressure the yips? We're not sure. We also can’t say for certain if this plural noun has anything to do with the singular yip, a word of imitative origin meaning "a short bark (as of a dog)." Some theories equate the "yip" sound made by a small dog with the unfortunate habit some athletes have of flinching or "hiccupping" when a steady hand is called for. What we do know for certain is that sportswriters have been using yips since 1962 and that it most often appears in golf-related contexts.

When Do Sportswriters Use yips?

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic

The yips are involuntary wrist spasms that occur most commonly when golfers are trying to putt. However, the yips can also affect people who play other sports — such as cricket, darts and baseball.

It was once thought that the yips were always associated with performance anxiety. However, it now appears that some people have the yips due to a neurological condition affecting specific muscles (focal dystonia).

Changing the way you perform the affected task might help you find relief from the yips. For example, a right-handed golfer might try putting left-handed.

So now for a rational look wrap up let's put a bow on this Yips and also even the forgot how to shoot phrase definition before the whole discussion looks stupid in the rear view mirror after Markelle Fultz has returned for a full season.

Looking at the 3 definition variations above I'm going to go with medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic as the closest thing to what we see with the Fultz situation.

It was once thought that the yips were always associated with performance anxiety. However, it now appears that some people have the yips due to a neurological condition affecting specific muscles (focal dystonia).

This is also consistent with public and official medical statement put out about Markelle Fultz's injury which is scapular dyskenesis

Since Mayo Clinic says YIPS can be associated with not only the simplistic "nervousness" or "Mental" causes but can in fact be a real affect on the physicals muscles of the body we can see that YIPS and Scapular Dyskinesis can basically be one and the same, a physical loss of muscle coordination.

Let's look at another reputable source on the topic:

Scapular dyskinesis appears to be a nonspecific response to shoulder dysfunction because no specific pattern of dyskinesis is associated with a specific shoulder diagnosis. The majority of scapular dyskinesis cases are the result of loss of muscular coordination.

So let me ask you. If you lose coordination of specific muscles in your body is that more a 'mental' issue or more of a real 'physical' issue. Can we also acknowledge that physical injury and physical rehabilitation naturally causes mental anxiety as well so that its not an either or scenario once a physical issue has occurred?

Thanks to the burner accounts that led to the ousting of Sixer GM Bryan Colangelo the source of this injury and YIPS is no longer really a mystery.

Still Balling Burner Account

Injury from Unorthodox Training? From the Ringer.

The accounts, though, peddle an alternative story that blames Fultz and Keith Williams, his family friend and longtime trainer. "If somebody would care to go look for the story of what happened with his so called mentor/father figure… it would explain a lot about the shoulder and Fultz ‘ state of mind," Still Balling wrote in a thread responding to a December post from Bodner. "The so call mentor tried to force him to change the shot. Tapes have surfaced of the guy making Markelle shooting while sitting on a chair, while on his back on the floor etc. The guy denies it as doesn’t want to say Y was forced out of kid’s life. Y nobody reports this."

In early February, in a response to Marshall Harris, at the time of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Still Balling wrote, of Fultz, "Supposedly he just had some really traumatic family personal experience which really messed him up, probably just needs some time to process (☺️) and heal."

In one particularly bizarre tweet, Still Balling even accused Brown of sidelining Fultz in order to sabotage the team. "I think that it would shorten Brett’s rope on ‘why we lost’ alibi," the account wrote in a response to a tweet from Sixers announcer Marc Zumoff. "So Brett would rather keep him out."

If we exclude the opinion about Brett Brown's reasons for not playing Fultz (evidently Colangelo's thought he should be been played sooner ? ) the video actually validates the statement about what happened to Fultz in terms of unusual shooting form training. Repetitive motions that could easily injure a muscle would almost be expected.

In fact if you've ever injured a muscle you know one movement in the wrong way, one too many can do it. in this case the tip came from what was likely Mrs. Colangelo's Burner account:

The pieces and coverage by Kevin Kinkead on is some of the best real reporting on the topic I've seen. He covers both the video and goes back with detailed transcripts of Bryan Colangelo statements on the topic on the video and implications the public should now be able to see from the Colangelo Burner account tweets.

How much of the retraining is due to repetitions with a personal trainer over the summer?

Colangelo: "That’s really a question that I can’t answer. We don’t know the answer to that. We don’t know what the cause of the injury was. There was an indication from the doctor in Kentucky that it was, perhaps, based on overuse, and maybe what I’ll call irregular motion and that’s what we said at the time.

We don’t know if it was working on the shot that led to the soreness, or the soreness that led to working on the shot. But the fact of the matter is that sometime in August the injury occurred, and now we’re dealing with the consequences of that. Again, Markelle was drafted here because of his elite talent and his ability to play the game at an elite level, and we have every confidence that he’s going to return to that.

What can’t he do that you need him to be able to?

Colangelo: "I answered that question already."

Why is he being taken out of conditioning drills?

Colangelo: "I don’t know that he’s being taken out of conditioning drills, per se. He’s taken out of various drills in practice situations, in practice settings, where he either is not able to continue or where there are situations that are situations that are more conducive for the players that are actually playing the games, meaning we have to prepare for opponents and we have to go through things that the active roster has to participate in. There are occasional moments where he is still continuing to fight through the physical fatigues of some of the rehabilitation activity. Again, a lot of physiotherapy, intensive strength and conditioning, a lot of increase in basketball activity."

How much of Markelle’s issues are mental?

Colangelo: "Mental preparedness and overcoming an injury is part of any athlete, especially an elite athlete overcoming a debilitating injury. It’s been proven in studies that it is a big component. All you have to do is talk to Ben or Joel about what they went through from a mental component, overcoming injuries and stepping back onto the court. But we’re talking about a situation where someone is relearning how to shoot a basketball and that was one of his elite skill sets and that’s got to be frustrating. But overall I think he’s making great strides in every capacity and we’re going to see a better Markelle Fultz because of it.​"

Does he need to be able to make a jump shot from a certain distance?

Colangelo: "No. I think he’s got to feel right and we’ve got to feel right and when it all comes together he’ll be out there playing. He may even get out there before that. What I see him do instinctively, drives in the lane, spin, dribbles, rise up, pull up, everything within a certain range, it’s beautiful. It’s coming, and he’s going to get more and more comfortable and as he gets more and more comfortable I’m sure he’ll start to step out on the perimeter."

Finally what do we mean by "forgot to shoot"? Does that mean Markelle one day in the NBA summer league was shooting as he had all his life like this but then one day without any physical pain or injury just woke up and forgot how to do it?

The announcer there even remarks "I tell you now that is a confident shooter.".

Did he just suddenly get nervous when he hadn't been nervous all the way through college or summer league? If he "forgot" couldn't he just go back and watch his own videos and 'remember' how he shot?

Didn't Markelle in fact shoot the same way here in general, just at a shorter distance?

Is this all a bit too much detail? Are the simple sound bites like YIPS and "forgot how to shoot what we prefer" to run with in today's sports media?

The asininity of lazy sports media, some of the media athletes that are now acting like sports journalists and internet Trolls like "Yodel" aka Master Doody Troll im my book annoyed me enough to throw up a few more detailed looks at the story.

I see that Jalen Rose has kind of modified his own public statement on the matter where he's been pretty sound bite-ish and low on intelligence up until now. He seems to want it on the record now that he thinks Fultz can "definitely play in the league" rather than only be known for calling him a bust in case he turns out to be a lot better than bust.

Rose said his remarks have been "going over some people's heads". Sounds more like a modification of his earlier remarks since he's saying he things Kelle will have a good season next year and probably should have been given more of chance for minutes even in the playoffs, something I've also said.

He notes the simple fact about the way Markelle closed the season compared to most of the media which seems limited to the YIPS and forgot how to shoot sound bites. Maybe there's yet hope for today's sports media.

With that I'll end the rational look series on this topic and look forward to Fultz in the Sixers pre-season and upcoming season where we can see for sure how much Drew Hanlen knows and had achieved working with last years #1 overall.

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