Espn recently ran an article on how Tom Hanson helped Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia get over the “yips” with Thought Field Therapy®
Below is a reprint of the article from ESPN by Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston.com’s Red Sox reporter.
Saltalamacchia says yips are gone
Red Sox catcher swears by his work with sports psychologists
FORT MYERS, Fla. — There are taps to the eyebrow, the side of the eye, below the eye, below the nose, below the lips. A tap below the armpit, below the collarbone, below the pectoral muscles. A tap to the top of the head, then repeat the circuit.
Even if people watch closely during the course of a game, they may never see any of these, because you are taught how to hide these motions. They are intended for you, only you, and for you they are intended to be empowering.
The system is simply called tapping, and while Tom Hanson, the man who teaches this form of what he calls “energy psychology,” describes it as sounding “weird,” Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a believer.
Once, Saltalamacchia was too proud to acknowledge that he needed help from someone else, be it a longtime sports psychologist like Harvey Dorfman, whom he once worked with, or Hanson, a performance-enhancement coach to whom Saltalamacchia turned when he was having trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher, the simplest of tasks for a catcher.
“When I was first coming up, just being young, your ego plays into it,” Saltalamacchia said Tuesday morning after concluding a workout here with a session of batting practice, along with two other early arrivals at Sox camp, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava. “You don’t want anyone to know you’re getting help. But you’re getting help in the training room, why not get help for other issues?
“I didn’t want anyone to know I wanted somebody, I needed somebody. That was a big issue with me. But it’s done wonders for me. Going home after a game two years ago, I could have hit the bed and slept for 18 hours because my head was just going, and now, I’ve learned to be able to work with that. Think smart, think positive. You can’t put negatives in your head, it’s just going to hurt you all around. It’s been great for me.”
Saltalamacchia reached out to Hanson last spring when the throwing problem surfaced — in sporting parlance, it’s known as the “yips,” the same affliction that can affect a golfer’s putting. Saltalamacchia had had surgery the previous September to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, a group of disorders that occur when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet — the space between the collarbone and first rib — becomes compressed, causing pain in the shoulders and neck, and numbness in the fingers.
As part of the surgery to alleviate the condition, Saltalamacchia had an impinged rib removed from near his right shoulder. During his recovery, the throwing problems surfaced. They grew acute after he was sent down to the minors by the Texas Rangers one game into the season, after he’d hurt his back. Read more