The purpose of this review is to discuss the theoretical and empirical support for the use of cognitive behavioral preperformance routines in sport and also to provide suggestions for the practitioner in developing and structuring cognitive and behavioral preparatory routines given the nature of the task and personal preferences. The first section discusses the underlying theoretical assumptions supporting the use of preperformance routines. The second section elaborates on empirical research that has been conducted on cognitive behavioral interventions and preperformance routines in sport. The final section details the practical implications of routines based upon theories and research in the area and provides recommendations for developing and teaching preperformance routines to athletes.
Patrick J. Cohn
A qualitative study investigated the psychological characteristics of peak performance in golf. Nineteen professional and collegiate golfers (ages (19–38) participated in structured open-ended interviews. A content analysis of the interviews revealed that certain psychological qualities of peak performance exist among golfers. During peak performance the golfers were highly focused and immersed in the task at hand, performed effortlessly and automatically, felt physically relaxed and mentally calm, and felt in control of themselves and their performance. In addition, the golfers had no fear of negative consequences, maintained high self-confidence, and experienced fun and enjoyment. These results corroborate other studies examining peak performance with athletes in different sports. The results are discussed and suggestions are made for striving toward a unique and superior mental state.
Patrick J. Cohn
This was an exploratory study to determine the most frequent sources of stress reported by high school golfers and also to ascertain the perceived causes of athlete burnout in golf. A guided interview approach consisting of both open-ended and specific questions related to golfing experiences was used to collect data from 10 high school competitive golfers. A typological analysis of the interviews identified a number of competitive sources of stress for golfers, including playing a particularly difficult shot, playing up to personal standards, and striving to meet parental expectations. All golfers said they had experienced a short period of burnout. Some of the most frequently cited reasons for burnout in golf were, too much practice or play, a lack of enjoyment, and too much pressure from self and others to do well. It was concluded that the perceived sources of stress need to be considered when investigating the causes of athlete burnout in golf.
Patrick J. Cohn, Robert J. Rotella and John W. Lloyd
The effects of a cognitive-behavioral intervention on adherence to preshot routines of elite collegiate golfers was evaluated using a multiple baseline (across subjects) design. Three male golfers served as subjects for the assessment of percent of mental and behavioral preshot routines completed for nine holes during baseline and treatment conditions. Players’ shots and putts were videotaped and the tapes were scored to determine the percent of behavioral routines completed. Mental routines were assessed after each round via interview format. In addition, the number of strokes, putts, fairways hit from tee, and greens hit in regulation play for nine holes were also counted. The intervention taught each golfer how to consistently align to the target, make a good decision on each shot, and be totally committed to each shot. It was effective in improving players’ adherence to both mental and behavioral preshot routines. Immediate improvements in performance did not occur. Post-treatment interviews showed that the golfers felt the intervention had a positive effect upon performance.