The Yips — And the Courage to Deal with It

Let me tell you about my experiences with the Yips (and how to deal with it)

Jerwin Parker
3 min readApr 7, 2024

In sports, they call it the yips — that inexplicable freeze, the sudden loss of fine motor skills athletes experience under pressure, even with years of training. But the yips aren’t just confined to the playing field. They can sneak up on you in any high-stakes moment of life.

Harper Lee’s character, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird puts it best: “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway.” It’s about standing up to the yips with courage, even when all signs point to defeat.

I’m no stranger to the yips. They’ve been a shadowy companion since I wasa reserved-shy kid trying to navigate life in Whalan, Mount Druitt.

For those unfamiliar, Mount Druitt is a suburb in Sydney known for its tough exterior. Here, strength is valued, and challenges are a daily norm. It’s a place that teaches you about courage because, frankly, there’s no getting by without it. But I love it here, it’s home. via: Spaniard YouTube

In high school, the yips nearly had me — you see, my goal was to get into Uni because no one in my family had ever gone, and my academic record was a mixtape of hits and misses, mostly misses — and I almost got kicked out of school.

Then senior year rolled around, and I hit back. I exceeded my own academic expectations and landed in a dream university program. The yips in academics had met their match. And again, five years later, when I graduated with three degrees in five years, I was among the first to do so, but let me explain this story another time.

In highschool, basketball presented another battle with the yips. The weight of the game-winning shot was on my shoulders, but my hands betrayed me. The miss haunted me, and I walked away with the yips conquering me in that domain.

The yips didn’t stop at sports or school. They followed me into my career.

Standing before an audience, the familiar tightness would grip my chest. But each shaky start led to a steadier finish, and now, the anxiety that once felt like a chokehold has loosened its grip.

The yips in public speaking have taken a backseat to confidence. But they’re still there.

Today, as I train for a natural bodybuilding competition, I face a new variant of the yips — body dysmorphia, when posing infront of an audience.

It’s a warping mirror, but I’m learning to see through it, sculpt muscle, and a mindset fit for a world champion — with the help of my world champion coach, Graden Leong, from GMF team.

Jerwin Parker and Graden Leong — GMFTeam
Jerwin Parker (left) and coach Graden Leong (right) from GMFteam

In the fast-paced world of a startup at TrustOnCloud, where I lead marketing efforts amidst shifting sands, the yips take on yet another form.

Yet, the courage forged in the fires of my youth, the resilience built through overcoming and achieving against the odds, that’s what I bring to these new challenges.

How did I learn to grapple with the yips?

It came from living where you couldn’t afford to back down, seeing my parents’ unwavering efforts to give us a better life, and heroes who showed me that every setback is a setup for a comeback.

To those still staring down their version of the yips, know that it’s not the absence of fear but the presence of bravery that defines you.

Courage isn’t something you’re born with; it’s something you build, one shaky step at a time.

Trust me, with courage; you can do anything to battle the yips — in whatever form they may come.



Jerwin Parker

Helping you develop mental strength and how to be more productive.