For some quick background, I've got a 16 year old pitcher who I've coached for years at various levels (since 8U and up to State-level tournaments) who, for lack of a better term, has caught the yips, and I don't know how to help.
This kid has been a pitcher basically his whole life. He was never the hardest thrower but he could pound the strike zone so he became a workhorse. He probably threw ~80-100 innings a year the last few years and he is one of the few guys I could always count on to come in and get some strikes if we got in trouble. He was always among the team leaders in ERA, WHIP, S%, etc. Nothing phased him and he loved being on the mound. He threw an 8-inning complete game shutout against an 18U team last summer. He had a short memory and loved facing big hitters.
Suddenly 6 weeks ago I put him in a game and he can't buy a strike. In fact, half his pitches are bouncing in front of the plate or sailing over the catcher. It's affecting his field play too (he plays middle infield). His warmups are fine (both pitching and in the field) but when the game is on, he is making throws that look like he's never played before. I've put him in a handful of games since then and he has only completed 1 inning himself.
I've linked an article below that discusses this taboo subject, but does anyone have any advice on how to help this kid? I've tried talking to him about it (without mentioning the yips) and he says he doesn't know what is going on. We've got a good team with some great leadership and nobody is bagging on him, they're trying to get him back to his old self.
The contents of this post represent the views of the author. NDNation.com is not responsible for its contents.