Effects an Internal and External Focus of Attention on Learning Golf Skills

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Effects an Internal and External Focus of Attention on Learning Golf Skills

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2021-05

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Abstract Previous research indicated that an external focus of attention is more advantageous than an internal focus in a wide variety of skill domains for both learning and performing motor skills. However, some of the research used to arrive at this conclusion relied on irrelevant internal cues, which could have biased their findings in favor of an external focus of attention. To investigate the validity of cue importance, thirty-three novices from a University of Minnesota Physical Education (PE) golf class volunteered to participate in a putting study (Study 1) that compared an internal focus of attention cue (body focus) to an external focus of attention cue (focus on the effect). The student group included 21 males and 12 females. In contrast to a similar previous study that employed an internal cue rarely used by golf teaching professionals, Study 1 used internal and external cues selected by a PGA teaching professional. Study 1 revealed that putting performance was better for the internal than external cue. Study 2 included 68 University of Minnesota students. This group was also composed of novices from a PE golf class who volunteered to learn a golf chipping task (m=45, f=23). These students were divided into four different attentional-cue groups: Internal-arms, Internal-wrists, External, and Control. The internal-wrists cue was the more commonly used by teaching professionals and theoretically more relevant than the internal-arms cue. The external group focused on the motion of the clubhead while the control group was taught as a normal golf class. After two (25 min) practice sessions a retention test indicated no difference between the groups. However, after four more practice sessions, the control group improved significantly more from pretest to final retention (3 weeks after pretest) than the internal-arms group and the external group. The internal-wrists group was not statistically different than the control group. This latent effect suggests that findings from short-term studies may not be effective in inferring optimal learning strategies.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2021. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Michael Wade. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 79 pages.

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BENOIT, LUKE. (2021). Effects an Internal and External Focus of Attention on Learning Golf Skills. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/224635.

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