Considering intervention efficacy: the effect of a pre-shot routine on competitive youth golf performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer A. Thomas (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Renee Appaneal

Abstract: A pre-shot routine enables athletes to focus on well rehearsed cues (Schmidt & Pepper, 1998). Pre-shot routines are commonly discussed in golf literature as well as in consultation. Research on routines is scattered; a consistent line of inquiry has not studied all three components of a pre-shot routine (e.g, cognitive, behavioral, and relaxation). Studies have begun to suggest that elite players create their own routines (Cohn, Rotella, & Lloyd, 1990); and thus routines may be particularly beneficial for youth sport performers. Lastly, the literature is still missing studies that employ sound methodological designs, comprehensive interventions teaching adequate mental skills that form a pre-shot routine and social validation of the protocol and results with youth participants. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential efficacy of a pre-shot routine on improving competitive youth golf putting and approach shot performance. The research question was will learning the psychological components (e.g. cognitive cues, behavioral focusing strategies, and relaxation) of a pre-shot routine improve approach shot and putting performance of competitive youth golfers? There were two aims that addressed this research question. The first aim was to determine the impact of learning the mental skills components of a pre-shot routine on the total number of approach shots and putts in tournaments during the competitive season. The hypothesis was that learning a pre-shot routine would result in participants becoming more consistent and/or improved sport performance (e.g, decreasing total number of approach shots and putts per round). The second aim was to examine the potential impact of learning the pre-shot routine on competitive performance from the participants' perspectives and involved them in evaluating the intervention and its impact on their competitive performance. Three youth high school golfers participated in a 10 week program to learn 3 mental skills (i.e, cue words, deep breathing, & behavioral focusing strategy) that would form a pre-shot routine. Participants' competition and practice scorecards were collected, and the total number of strokes per round were graphed and examined for performance improvements. Also, participants completed self-report surveys after each tournament round that asked them to indicate their perceived ability to focus on each hole and whether they adhered to their pre-shot routines. Lastly, participants completed interviews after learning each skill and at the end of the program to evaluate the overall intervention protocol. Performance improvements were observed for 2 participants putting and approach shot performance. Participants found the intervention to be helpful and agreed that their performances (i.e, ball striking, overall performance, iron, wood, & sand shots) improved. Practical implications for sport psychology consultants and future directions were forwarded.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Improving, Intervention, Performance, Psychology, Sports, Youth
High school athletes.

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