What Simone Biles Can Teach Ted Lasso About 'the Yips'

Ted Lassos most favorite piece of advice is "Be a goldfish." This refers to putting the negative and anything that occurred more than a few seconds back behind you and just playing the game. Some things can be difficult to let go of. We are not fish living in empty glass bowls. We are human beings with complex emotions and sometimes it is impossible to forget.AdvertisementTed Lassos season 2 premiere featured Dani Rojas, a star footballer in exactly this situation. Dani sets up the winning goal just seconds before the clock expires and unleashes a perfect kick, only to misdirectly execute Greyhounds mascot the Greyhounds mascot as the pup leaps out of nowhere to meet him in midair. How can one be a goldfish in the face of such a ridiculous and yet so sad trauma? Spoiler: He doesnt. Dani is suffering from the dreaded yips and Ted and his coaches set to work solving the problem.AdvertisementAdvertisementIn the scene, Richmond's coaching staff considers all options to get Dani back on track. Nate, the new coach, suggests that Dani's paycheck be used as motivation. Higgins, the head of operations for the team, is more sympathetic and says, "The first thing we have to do is locate the problem." But Ted Beard and Coach Beard are not listening. Although they are quick to recognize Danis' condition, they don't have a plan for how to fix it.AdvertisementTed Lassos second season premiered on the same day that the Tokyo Olympics was delayed. In which the yipsmore specifically the gymnastics variant known by the twisties took center stage, Ted Lassos first season also debuted. Simone Biles, the world's most famous gymnast, unexpectedly pulled out of the women's all-around competition. She explained that her mind and body were not in sync.AdvertisementTed Lassoit makes it clear that Danis yips are a fiction. However, the reason for Biless twisties isn't exactly what we know at the moment. It might be. It's been a difficult time in our lives, with a deadly pandemic ravaging us all. This includes those who are considered untouchable and unsinkable by the public, such as Biles.AdvertisementPerhaps it's the immense pressure that we place on our elite athletes. Perhaps it's a personal problem. Perhaps it's all of these. It could literally be anything. It is possible to speculate as much as we like, but it is not our business. We do know that Biles suffered from a form of the yips. Instead of trying to minimize the negative and emphasize the positive, like Ted Lassos favorite goldfish, she courageously took a step back and recognized that there was something more.Ted Lasso will continue to promote a vital conversation Simone Biles has begun openly.Biles is not like Coach Beard, who views the concept of the "yips" as a frightening and mysterious condition. They are unable to say it out loud and have a complete freakout when others try to. The term has been used historically to describe the symptoms of an athlete who can't perform, but not the root problem that causes them to fail.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe concept of yips is a complex one. Tommy Armor, a golfer, coined the term. Given its long history, it is understandable that it ignores the complex psychology of athletes. In the early 1900s, talking about feelings was not a common practice. Seven years later, Freud's outdated theories were starting to gain popularity. Even though mental wellness is difficult to discuss, the sports world still accepts the yips as valid, even though they don't really explain much.Ted Lasso quickly realizes this. Ted reluctantly agrees for Richmond's new sports psychologist, to visit Dani. But while they wait, he continues to use his yips treatment-all. He manages to corral Dani and gives him his patented pep talk. He encourages him just to have fun. This tactic backfires immediately, and Ted takes a painful kick to the keister.AdvertisementTed's skeptical attitude towards talk therapy seems strangely to be in harmony with his unwavering positivity. He is a coach who inspires kindness and understanding. However, he doesn't like to dwell on the negative. Although he wants to protect his players, positive thinking can only go so far before it becomes toxic.AdvertisementExtremes can cause serious injuries, and this is especially true in an environment where athletes are at risk. Biless's recent announcement brought back old memories for many elite gymnasts like Dominque Moceanu or Kerri Strug. Both women took to social media to support Biles. They recalled the terrible emotional abuse and neglect they suffered from coaches Marta Karolyi and Bela Karolyi at the 1996 Olympics.AdvertisementThe United States felt proud of the Magnificent Seven's win at those games. But, looking back, it stands out against Biless's courageous decision in Tokyo. Strug was badly hurt on a vault that failed, and viewers cheered as she returned to the mat. She played through her pain and the nation cheered her, applauding her determination and her strength instead of worrying about how she was doing. The Olympic mentality of just pushing through it toward pro athletes does not only apply to the Olympics. It's still very much alive today. It is evident in the NFL's poor record with concussed athletes and in the rise in injuries in NBA. As athletes are encouraged not to get enough rest, it is clear that they have failed to realize the importance of this concept.AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementTed Lasso would not, of course.Ted would take care of a player who was physically injured like he would a baby bird. He would lavish praise on them, give them biscuits and make references to 90s pop culture until they were 100%. Ted is a positive person, but he avoids directly dealing with any psychological problems his players may be experiencing. He wants simple explanations and solutions that can solve complex problems, just like so many people around the world. He feels that Danis yips will be diagnosed and that he can then solve the problem. Although a common term can be useful in diagnosing a problem, it is only the first step to wellness. A diagnosis is a common language that both patients and providers can use to find the best treatment. Even though we work in a shared world of terminology, a diagnosis can only be a starting point to explore further.AdvertisementMany people want easy answers. However, in sports and mental health, it is necessary to sacrifice and suffer in order to achieve success. Dani emerges from his session with Dr. Sharon Fieldstone a changed man. The team cheers him on as he bounces onto the field. Although it is unrealistic to expect a psychologist to completely cure a man from his doggie death trauma, this is a good step in the right direction.Subscribe to the Slate Culture newsletter and receive the best movies, TV, books, music, etc. directly to your inbox. Signing you up was not possible due to an error Please try again. To use this form, please enable jаvascript. Email address: I would like to receive updates on Slate special offers. You agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms by signing up. Thank you for signing up! You can cancel your subscription at any time.Ted Lasso's second season clearly advocates for mental health. Many viewers may be watching the second season of Ted Lasso following the Biless culture-shaking announcement. However, these prominent depictions that sports stars take mental health seriously could help shift the narrative around seeking out help when needed. Stoicism can only be used as a way to cope with distress before it can lead to serious consequences. The current season of Ted Lasso will continue to show viewers that there is a growing emphasis on the dangers of not heeding psychological warning signs.AdvertisementSome may feel this storyline is out of place for a show that has been viewed as a comfort-binge. But, there is a sea shift. In sports, comedy, dramas and documentaries, honest messaging about mental health is a growing trend. Ted Lasso will help to continue the important conversation Simone Biles started. Ted is beginning to look inward and reject his inner goldfish. He would be well served by looking to a more advanced way of living for inspiration. Maybe a GOAT.