Losing Control

Losing Control

Losing Control is a documentary podcast about the Yips, or what happens when elite athletes and performers lose control of their ability to do the things that they do best. Told through conversations with athletes, coaches, scientists, reporters, and more, join host and mental performance coach Justin Su'a as he goes down the rabbit hole with some of the biggest stars and sharpest minds in sports and performance today to uncover the truth about one of the strangest phenomena in the game. You'll walk away with stories that empower you to prioritize your mental health and strategies that will help you to constructively embrace the challenges you face on and off the field. It's Losing Control, with Justin Su'a.


June 28, 2022 2 mins

What’s the deal with Formula 1 racing? Is it just a bunch of European adrenaline junkies with a death wish? And how does it differ from something like the American-based NASCAR or IndyCar series? In reality, there’s way more to it. F1 combines some of the world’s great engineering feats, drivers with the athleticism of Olympians, and a captivating billionaire's playground. But while there’s never a dull moment in this sport, how do...

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From Simone Biles’ brush with the twisties to Rick Ankiel’s experience of the yips, the constellation of phenomena known as the yips–and the stories of the athletes who experience it–are some of the strangest in the world of sports. Far more common, but perhaps equally opaque, are mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and on this episode of Losing Control, host Justin Su’a talks with Karen Swartz...

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June 8, 2022 49 mins

Losing Control is a podcast about the yips. But this episode isn’t about the yips. It’s about two of the tools athletes and elite performers utilize to maintain a healthy mind: meditation and humor. Dr. Amishi Jha studies meditation and its impact on our attention, stress levels, and performance. Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas study humor, and the power of a mindset of levity. Part of the yips story is about how we l...

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Former starting quarterback Joel Stave led the Wisconsin Badgers for 31 wins between 2012 and 2015, and to this day, Stave remains the Badgers’ all-time winningest quarterback. But success isn’t only about the wins or the completed passes, and in one of the lows–and highs–of his life so far, Stave battled and overcame the yips. And although only some athletes will experience the yips or the twisties, all ath...

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Focus on what you can control. It’s a phrase you’ve heard more than once if you’ve been listening to this podcast, and it typically refers to reorienting your perspective or ideas of success from the external to the internal: from elements outside of your control, to elements within your control. But on this episode of Losing Control, host Justin Su’a talks with renowned mental performance coach Dr. Colleen ...

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May 18, 2022 34 mins

Performance anxiety and the yips are not the same thing, and feeling unable to perform or compete before a big event is far more common than actually being unable to perform or compete due to the yips. But these ailments share more than a few similarities, and on this episode of Losing Control, host Justin Su’a talks with a concert pianist who has not only performed on many of the world’s great stages, but who has battl...

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The yips has been described as a wiring problem in the brain. But what is a wiring problem in the brain? It may be dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle spasms or jerks, and on this episode of Losing Control, host Justin Su’a talks with Dr. Steven Frucht, a neurologist who has been treating people who suffer from movement disorders for decades. And for a broader exploration of how we move, ...

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The yips is not only present in a sport like gymnastics, which requires an almost unparalleled degree of athleticism, but also in sports like archery and golf, which demand extraordinary mental fitness. In archery, it’s known as target panic, and in this episode of Losing Control, we explore the mental game of one of the world’s top archers, Paige Pearce, who has battled–and is currently managing–target pani...

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April 27, 2022 40 mins

We’ve talked about the yips, but what about the twisties? The infamous variety of yips that afflicts aerial athletes, the twisties is a term which describes the experience of athletes who lose their sense of proprioception, or their awareness of where their bodies are in space. It was this unusual malady that led to Simone Biles stepping away from the 2020 Summer Olympics, and although she may be the best known athlete to hav...

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Today the Atlanta Braves’ Tyler Matzek is a World Series Champion and one of the top relief pitchers in Major League Baseball. But just a few years ago, Tyler Matzek was ready to walk away from the game, and not because he was ready to retire, but due to a bad case of the yips. Matzek had tried everything he’d heard of to fix his throwing, and nothing was working–nothing, that is, until he met Jason Kuhn, a mental...

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April 13, 2022 40 mins

What are the yips? Imagine something you do every day, an ability that is so practiced that you can do it without consciously thinking about the specific movements necessary to perform it: something like driving, walking, typing, or even breathing. Now imagine not being able to do that thing, and for no apparent reason. You have no idea how long you’ve lost the ability for, and no idea how to get it back. That is...

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April 4, 2022 2 mins

Have you ever, suddenly and without explanation, lost your ability to do something that you’ve done your entire life? What if that ability had come to define you, and had taken you to the pinnacle of your profession? Losing Control is a podcast about one of the strangest mysteries in sports: the yips, the twisties, or by whatever name you know it, when an athlete or elite performer suddenly loses their ability to do something...

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