Nick Djorgonoski ’09 knows all about the pressures of being at the top of your game. Whilst still at School, Nick was selected by the Victorian Institute of Sport and played in numerous state teams and also was selected in the under 16 Australian squad. He was affectionately known by his peers as the ‘Baseball Guy’. His dream was to play professional baseball in the US. That was his goal. Approaching the end of 2009, Nick was approached by ten US colleges and eventually ended up in Austin, Minnesota. Prior to leaving for the States, Nick wasn’t feeling himself. He knew something wasn’t quite right. He recalls ‘it was a slow build, and looking back now it probably started at the end of year 12. Initially I thought it was anxiety. I had always been a nervous kid but when I started playing and pitching it would go away’ but something was different. Nick now knows it was the ‘yips’. The yips are a state of nervous tension, a neurological condition affecting specific muscles (focal dystonia) predominately in athletes. For Nick the yips got worse over in the US. It was a ‘taboo topic’, there was minimal knowledge on the yips and he struggled to deal with these mental challenges in a time where it wasn’t understood or talked about. He returned back to Melbourne two years later after playing a handful of College games and felt embarrassed about his lack of playing time. He “didn’t want to talk” about his playing time or lack there of in the US to friends and family. He reached out and saw a Sports Psychologist who helped him through it.
Now, eight years on, he wants to put the yips in the spotlight. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while, how I can help others that may be in the same position I was. It’s time we got the story out there”. He started his Root of All Yips Podcast two weeks ago, and since then he’s had 400 plays and over 1200 followers on Instagram. When asked why he thought the podcast has grown so rapidly Nick said “I think people genuinely appreciate the honesty. I have had athletes reach out to me to tell their story from all sports. A lot of people have struggled with the yips and no one would even know”. Nick credits being able to “start loving the game again” through the support and help he has received by seeing a sport psychologist. He is now looking to expand his podcast by interviewing sports psychologists, musicians and artists. It can affect anyone he says, from the casual golfer to the elite athlete to a musician.
Root of All Yips can be readily accessed on Instagram, Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Anchor with new podcasts being dropped weekly. The OIGA wishes Nick every success with his podcast and shining the spotlight on ‘the yips’. #Egoyah