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Stephen R. Bested, Gerome A. Manson and Luc Tremblay

aimed to test if error reduction guidance on trajectory accuracy, combined with the motor learning benefits of unassisted practice (i.e., errorful performance), can further optimize the performance and learning of a novel golf putting task. Although guidance has been shown to temporarily improve

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Ming-Yang Cheng, Chung-Ju Huang, Yu-Kai Chang, Dirk Koester, Thomas Schack and Tsung-Min Hung

Sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) activity has been related to automaticity during skilled action execution. However, few studies have bridged the causal link between SMR activity and sports performance. This study investigated the effect of SMR neurofeedback training (SMR NFT) on golf putting performance. We hypothesized that preelite golfers would exhibit enhanced putting performance after SMR NFT. Sixteen preelite golfers were recruited and randomly assigned into either an SMR or a control group. Participants were asked to perform putting while electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded, both before and after intervention. Our results showed that the SMR group performed more accurately when putting and exhibited greater SMR power than the control group after 8 intervention sessions. This study concludes that SMR NFT is effective for increasing SMR during action preparation and for enhancing golf putting performance. Moreover, greater SMR activity might be an EEG signature of improved attention processing, which induces superior putting performance.

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Wim H. van Lier, John van der Kamp and Geert J.P. Savelsbergh

We assessed how golfers cope with the commonly observed systematic overshoot errors in the perception of the direction between the ball and the hole. Experiments 1 and 2, in which participants were required to rotate a pointer such that it pointed to the center of the hole, showed that errors in perceived direction (in degrees of deviation from the perfect aiming line) are destroyed when the head is constrained to move within a plane perpendicular to the green. Experiment 3 compared the errors in perceived direction and putting errors of novice and skilled players. Unlike the perceived direction, putting accuracy (in degrees of deviation from the perfect aiming line) was not affected by head position. Novices did show a rightward putting error, while skilled players did not. We argue that the skill-related differences in putting accuracy reflect a process of recalibration. Implications for aiming in golf are discussed.

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Marcelo Eduardo de Souza Nunes, Umberto Cesar Correa, Marina Gusman Thomazi Xavier de Souza, Luciano Basso, Daniel Boari Coelho and Suely Santos

the learner’s attention to critical aspects of movement patterns ( Chen & Singer, 1992 ; Magill & Anderson, 2012 ; Schmidt & Lee, 2011 ). For instance, a study by Chauvel et al. (2012) pointed out that during the learning of golf putting, older adults showed a greater attentional deficit than

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Tim Rees and Paul Freeman

This study examined the impact of a social support manipulation on performance. Participants with high and low levels of perceived support were randomly assigned to an experimental support or control condition, before completing a golf-putting task. Participants with high levels of perceived support performed at a higher level than those with low levels of perceived support. Participants in the support condition performed at a higher level than those in the control condition. A significant interaction was primarily attributable to the low perceived support participants in the support condition performing better than the low perceived support participants in the control condition. Participants in the support condition also experienced less frequent and distracting task-irrelevant thoughts compared with those in the control condition. These results suggest that experimentally manipulated support may lead to improvements in the performance of novices completing a golf-putting task, and that such support may be particularly important for those low in perceived support.

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Gonçalo Dias, Micael S. Couceiro, João Barreiros, Filipe M. Clemente, Rui Mendes and Fernando M.L. Martins

The main objective of this study is to understand the adaptation to external constraints and the effects of variability in a golf putting task. We describe the adaptation of relevant variables of golf putting to the distance to the hole and to the addition of a slope. The sample consisted of 10 adult male (33.80 ± 11.89 years), volunteers, right handed and highly skilled golfers with an average handicap of 10.82. Each player performed 30 putts at distances of 2, 3 and 4 meters (90 trials in Condition 1). The participants also performed 90 trials, at the same distances, with a constraint imposed by a slope (Condition 2). The results indicate that the players change some parameters to adjust to the task constraints, namely the duration of the backswing phase, the speed of the club head and the acceleration at the moment of impact with the ball. The effects of different golf putting distances in the no-slope condition on different kinematic variables suggest a linear adjustment to distance variation that was not observed when in the slope condition.

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Dave Smith and Paul Holmes

This study examined the effect of various imagery modalities on golf putting performance. Forty experienced male golfers were randomly assigned to one of four groups. A “written script” group received a personalized, response proposition-laden script. Participants in the audio and video groups either listened to an audiotape or watched an internal-perspective videotape of themselves putting. Control participants spent an equivalent amount of time reading golf literature. Each participant completed a 15-ball putting task twice a week for 6 weeks and also performed his imagery or reading daily during this period. Pretests revealed no significant differences in performance. Posttests, however, showed that the video and audio groups performed significantly better than the written script and control groups. This indicates that the form in which an imagery intervention is delivered can have a significant impact on its performance effectiveness.

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Luis Calmeiro and Gershon Tenenbaum

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of concurrent verbal protocols to identify and map thought processes of players during a golf-putting task. Three novice golfers and three experienced golfers performed twenty 12-foot putts while thinking aloud. Verbalizations were transcribed verbatim and coded using an inductive method. Content analysis and event-sequence analysis were performed. Mapping of thought sequences indicated that experienced players’ cognitive processes centered on gathering information and planning, while beginners focused on technical aspects. Experienced players diagnosed current performance aspects more often than beginners did and were more likely to use this information to plan the next putt. These results are consistent with experienced players’ higher domain-specific knowledge and less reliance on step-by-step monitoring of motor performance than beginners. The methods used for recording, analyzing, and interpreting on-line thoughts of performers shed light on cognitive processes, which have implications for research.

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Sian L. Beilock, James A. Afremow, Amy L. Rabe and Thomas H. Carr

The present study examined the impact of suppressive imagery (i.e., trying to avoid a particular error), the frequency of this suppression, and attempts to replace negative error-ridden images with positive ones on golf putting performance. Novice golfers (N = 126) were assigned to a no-imagery control group or to 1 of 6 groups in a 3 × 2 design, with imagery type (positive, suppression, suppression-replacement) and imagery frequency (before every putt, before every third putt) as factors. Results showed that the accuracy of the positive imagery group improved across imaging blocks—regardless of imagery frequency. The suppression and suppression-replacement imagery groups’ accuracy improved when imaging before every third putt, yet declined when imaging before every putt. These findings suggest that frequent application of suppressive imagery hurts performance and that attempting to replace negative images with corrective ones does not ameliorate the damage.

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Sandra E. Short, Jared M. Bruggeman, Scott G. Engel, Tracy L. Marback, Lori J. Wang, Anders Willadsen and Martin W. Short

This experiment examined the interaction between two imagery functions (Cognitive Specific, CS; and Motivation - General Mastery, MG-M) and two imagery directions (facilitative, debilitative) on self-efficacy and performance in golf putting. Eighty-three participants were randomly assigned to one of 7 conditions: (a) CS + facilitative imagery, (b) CS + debilitative imagery, (c) MG-M + facilitative imagery, (d) MG-M + debilitative imagery, (e) CS imagery only, (f) MG-M imagery only, (g) no imagery (stretching) control group. A 3 (imagery direction) X 3 (imagery function) X 2 (gender) ANCOVA with pretest scores used as the covariate was used. Results showed a main effect for performance; means were higher for the facilitative group compared to the debilitative group. For self-efficacy, there was a significant imagery direction by imagery function by gender interaction. These findings suggest imagery direction and imagery function can affect self-efficacy and performance and that males and females respond differently to imagery interventions.