Thought processes during golf putting: a concurrent verbal protocol approach

Luis Calmeiro, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The use of verbal protocols may help to shed light into athletes’ thoughts processes while performing. Think-aloud protocols are especially useful because data represent information that is heeded in short-term memory. However, little is known about how verbalizing during a motor task can influence performance. The present exploratory study has two purposes: (1) to determine if verbalizing during a self-paced sport task–putting in golf interferes with outcome-putting performance, and (2) constructing a coding scheme that may be used to compare and analyze golfers thought processes while putting. Creating a model that describes golfers thought processes while putting can enhance our knowledge about cognitive mechanisms leading to expert performance, and provide guidelines for the design and implementation of interventions consistent with deliberate practice. The sample was composed of three advanced and four beginner golfers, ranging in age from 24 to 27 years of age. Advanced players had a mean experience of 13 years, while beginners have been playing golf for less than one year on average. By means of a talk-aloud procedure, subjects verbalized their thoughts while performing four series of five putts alternating with four series of five putts without verbalization. Performance in both conditions (i.e., verbalization and silent) was measured average error. A Wilcoxon sign rank test indicated non-significant differences between both conditions. Analysis of verbal reports showed that advanced golfers process more information concerning gathering information, planning strategies and goals than beginners. Beginners were found to have limited diagnosing capabilities comparing to advanced players. The present results are consistent with findings that deliberate preparation, planning, reasoning and evaluation mediate experts’ superior performance (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996). Advanced golfers gathered more detailed information, planned more thoroughly, and diagnosed more often in order to make better shot decisions and putting more efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event9th European Congress in Psychology - Granada, Spain
Duration: 3 Jul 20058 Jul 2005


Conference9th European Congress in Psychology


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