Are you one of the many caravanners to experience “yips” when playing golf, bowls, or playing an instrument? Tony Allsop may have something close to a solution.

Many bowlers and golfers suffer from the "yips" in their limbs.

Many caravanners are bowlers or golfers. Some head north for the winter, and then leave for home when it’s time for the bowling season to begin in southern states. Indeed, bowls and golf are taken very seriously by some RVers. As a past single- figure golfer, and reasonably good bowler, I can relate to these travellers.

I gave golf away several years ago when I developed the "yips" and had to putt left-handed. More recently it also crept into my tennis and table tennis, so that I could not play a forehand shot. After four good years of lawn bowls, it suddenly affected my bowling, so much that I had no idea where my hand would throw the bowl. I actually became embarrassed and depressed.

Now this is a problem that probably affects a fair number of bowlers and golfers, and there are a few in my club who have this problem. However, they don’t know how to diagnose it or what causes it.

My wife, Denyse (Caravan World readers will recall she’s a doctor who also wrote the ‘Health Wise’ column for several years) came down to video me practising, and came up with the diagnoses of ‘Focal Dystonia’. It is a neurological problem where the brain causes un-coordinated muscle contractions in muscles that have been trained to act together in a certain way. It can also affect musicians and writers.

It is all rather complicated, but it is thought that brain plasticity is a possible cause for this problem. A lot of research into treatments using brain training and even brain irradiation is now being done in America and there has been a lot written about it lately. If you Google it you will find a heap of scientific data.

The end result is that I went to our family doctor, who also diagnosed Focal Dystonia.  As no specific treatment is available here yet, he wrote me a certificate to use a bowling arm. I am now back to bowling better than ever, as I am using different muscles.

YOUR SAY: Have you or any of your friends or family been affected by the "yips"? Has it affected your sport, playing a musical instrument, writing, or some other activity? Did you find a solution?