Newsweek

Fultz, the Yips and Explaining the Sports Phenomenon

Rick Ankiel, Mackey Sasser and others weigh in on just how difficult the yips can be—and how the crushing anxiety can take over your life.
Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the Boston Celtics at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2017. Fultz has been trying to work through a case of the yips this summer.
markelle fultz, shooting, yips Source: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s a confounding thing, identity shaking. Like a thief in the night, the yips creep in—and you, a world-class athlete, are suddenly robbed of something so simple, a task you’ve done mindlessly for decades.

In June 2017, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. Fultz was, by nearly all accounts, a can't-miss prospect who'd inject scoring into an already promising Philly lineup.

By January 2018, Fultz's jump shot was hopelessly broken—the form so bad it'd look out of place on a playground court, let alone an NBA floor.

In months that would follow, there’d be numerous (and conflicting) reports of shoulder injuries and training gone awry. Months later, NBA trainer Drew Hanlen would finally pin his client’s issues on the yips—a frightening diagnosis but one most observers had long suspected.

The yips, simply put, occur when an athlete cannot perform a simple sports task—sometimes to nearly unbelievable levels—triple clutches with a ball in

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Newsweek

Newsweek6 min read
Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal Was 'Disastrous,' Shah's Son Says
Reza Pahlavi, the exiled heir to the now-defunct Iranian throne, tells Newsweek that the bloody unrest in his home country can only be solved by removing the regime in Tehran.
Newsweek6 min read
How Math Can Help Prevent Outbreaks of Measles and Other Diseases
The measles vaccine is incredibly effective, yet recurrences and outbreaks abound. Samoa is currently undergoing an outbreak with thousands infected, and in 2019, the United States had the most cases reported since 1992. What can we do about it? In t
Newsweek3 min read
The Key to a Greener Planet Could be Right Under Our Tires
This company is developing materials for streets that can not only turn sunlight into electricity for the grid but also generate their own light and produce heat to melt ice and snow.