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Something succeeds like success: Positive self-monitoring for unskilled golfers

Abstract

The generalizability of prior laboratory findings and Carver's (1979) model of self-regulation were tested by examining the effects of differential self-monitoring in golf. Subjects were 109 unskilled (Mhandicap = 30) volunteers who first received instructions on the components of the effective golf swing and then participated in three experimental sessions. All subjects practiced their golf swings during each session by hitting 6 Wiffle golf balls. Stratified random assignment determined whether a subject positively self-monitored (recorded effective execution of components), neutrally self-monitored (recorded recognition of components), or did not self-monitor (control). To induce two levels of self-focused attention, subjects were assigned randomly either to obtain feedback by observing videotapes of their performance or not to obtain videotaped feedback during the intervention. Thus, self-monitoring occurred either during the review of videotapes (feedback groups) or mentally (no-feedback groups). Measures included ratings by observers of change from baseline in the golf swing (quality, consistency, missed shots) and self-reported change in relevant attitudes. As expected, positive self-monitors improved significantly more than neutral self-monitors and controls, respectively, on most measures of performance and attitudes. In accord with Carver's model, the use of videotaped feedback (i.e., heightened self-focused attention) slightly exaggerated these group differences. The potency of differential self-monitoring and the parallels between the effects of attention and experience are discussed.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals to various aspects of the present research: Miron Zuckerman, Don Green, Kris Sorg, Latta Lea Gold Club, and the Irondequoit Town Recreation Department.

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Johnston-O'Connor, E.J., Kirschenbaum, D.S. Something succeeds like success: Positive self-monitoring for unskilled golfers. Cogn Ther Res 10, 123–136 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173388

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Key words

  • self-Monitoring
  • self-awareness
  • videotape
  • sports
  • training
  • success/failure