Psychological Skills Training in Golf: The Role of Individual Differences in Cognitive Preferences

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Griffith University
  • 2 University of Southern Queensland
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Individual differences in cognitive preferences were examined in analyzing the effects of imagery and self-talk training on the psychological skills and performance levels of amateur golfers. Thirty-two men and women participated in a series of four counterbalanced training workshops and activities conducted over 2 months at two golf clubs. A repeated measures MANOVA revealed significant improvement on five psychological and psychomotor skills measured by the Golf Performance Survey: negative emotions and cognitions, mental preparation, automaticity, putting skill, and seeking improvement. Participants’ responses to the Sport Imagery Questionnaire and ratings of their imagery and self-talk techniques increased significantly after training. Players also lowered their handicaps and performed significantly better on a Golf Skills Test after training. Imagery and self-talk training benefits were not linked to participants’ cognitive preferences. The cognitive flexibility displayed by these golfers signals the need for more research on processing preferences and has implications for practitioners working with athletes.

Patrick R. Thomas is with the Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia 4111. Gerard J. Fogarty is with the Faculty of Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia 4350.

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