The Relationships among Skill Level, Age, and Golfers’ Observational Learning Use

in The Sport Psychologist
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The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of skill level and age on golfers’ (n = 188) use of observational learning for skill, strategy, and performance functions, as assessed by the Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire. Golf handicap was used as an objective measure of golf skill level, with a lower handicap reflecting a higher skill level. It was hypothesized that both age and skill level would predict observational learning use, with younger and less experienced golfers reporting increased use of all three functions of observational learning. It was also predicted that age and skill level would interact to predict use of the performance function, with younger golfers employing more of that function than older golfers at the same skill level. Partial support was obtained for these hypotheses. Regression analyses revealed that the interaction of age and skill level predicted use of the skill function. Younger golfers employed more of the skill function than older golfers; however this discrepancy increased as skill level decreased. Age, and not skill level, was a significant predictor of golfers’ use of both the strategy and performance functions, with younger golfers employing more of these functions than older golfers. These results suggest that age-related factors may have a greater impact than skill-related factors on observational learning use across the lifespan.

Law is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6. Hall is with the School of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7.

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