Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A good game of golf—mind over matter


Ever stood on the tee and as you feel the eyes on the other golfers on you, your heart starts to race, your palms become sweaty, and you worry about making a mess of the shot? If this has happened, you are experiencing performance stress. A new study from the University of Alberta shows the strategies that elite golfers use to manage performance stress effectively.

A study of 18 of Ireland’s best young international male golfers aged 14 to 21 revealed differences between golfers’ attempts at coping with stress. The golfers were asked to report on times when they coped very well under stress, and times when they coped badly.

"We found some interesting differences between effective and ineffective coping. In general, effective coping involved gaining a sense of control, while ineffective coping involved the golfers trying to force their play," said co-author Dr. Nick Holt, a professor of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, and a Certified Consultant with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology. The study, published in the June edition of The Sport Psychologist, was conducted jointly with Dr. Adam Nicholls from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.

During effective coping golfers maintained a positive mindset by using positive self-talk, blocking negative thoughts, and focusing on the next shot (rather than on past shots). They stayed physically relaxed by using deep breathing exercises and stretching. Finally, they sought advice from their caddies, and were sure to follow their playing routine.

Alternatively, the golfers had very different thoughts and behaviors during ineffective coping episodes. Ineffective coping strategies were identified as trying too hard, speeding up, and making sudden changes to their learned playing routine. Changing the playing routine is a common mistake, Dr. Holt said. "Rather than making changes during a round, they should be sticking with what they know. Pre-shot routines can be adapted during practice, but not under the stress of competition."

Common stressors for players included worries about scores, missing putts, making mistakes, using the wrong club, being watched and opponent performance.

A key observation was that when they were asked to reflect on their ineffective coping experiences, some of the golfers realized that they had not even tried to cope. "We found it surprising. We thought at this level they would already be aware of the importance of coping with stress. It goes to show that technical ability got them this far, but if they could build up their mental skills, that would probably help them make the transition as players from an elite youth to an elite adult," said Dr. Holt.

Golfers at every level need to be proactive about forming and then practicing strategies for effectively coping with stress, Dr. Holt said. "In a lot of sports people focus on the technical side and the mental side is neglected. But like the technical skills, you have to learn mental skills and practice them. If you look at the best golfers--people like Tiger Woods--they are renowned for really strong mentality. They can cope really well with stress."

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>