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  1.  Methods, Results, Conclusions, and Discussion sections for proposal 






    Using your work up to this point you will produce your Methods, Results, Conclusions, and Discussion for instructor review. You should be able to draw conclusions from your work on Effective training programs that focus on mental skills that encourage the deliberate practice of breathing, mindfulness, visualization, and self-talk yielding performance enhancement in the game of golf. Use a qualitative method preferably but a quantitative method also works. Write in the past tense.
    Attached is the work that has been produced thus far for this assignment.


Subject Writing a proposal Pages 9 Style APA



Overview of Design

In a bid to determine the extent to which leveraging on the mental capabilities of golfers assists in the achievement of optimum results, qualitative research methods were utilized. A total of 10 participants volunteered to take part in the present study. The ‘sampling’ and ‘research procedure’ stage was concluded within 48 hours whereas the ‘data collection and analysis stage was concluded within one week. The research utilized video recording and interviewing as discussed below.

Participant Sampling

While seeking to conduct the research in accordance with the interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) guideline (Cotterill, Collins, & Sanders, 2010), an analogous sample was deliberately collected. The sample contained professional golfers who were still at the beginner stage in their golfing career. The golfers were approached with respect to the current study and they agreed to participate in the study. A total of 10 male golfers agreed to participate in the study. They were aged between 23 and 30 years (M age = 26, SD 2.2 years). With respect to all the ten candidates, it was determined that the cumulative years of participation in competitive golf ranged between 4 to 7 years (M years playing = 5.5). Whereas all the participants were associated with distinctive teams, all the teams were under the umbrella of the English Golf Union. The existence of this common factor meant that the process of approaching the individual participants was less tedious than it would have been in the event that the players did not belong to one union.

Research Procedure

All participants were reported to have engaged in various mental training programs that lasted a minimum of 12 months. They were then consciously reminded of the mental skills they had accumulated over the said period of time. Each candidate was then required to participate in a competitive round of the game in a bid to measure the extent to which the skills aided in the achievement of optimal outcomes. The participants took part in complete rounds while playing in pairs alongside other participants. These sessions were videoed and the data was later edited so as to come up with distinctive sets of video clips for each of the participants. The video data was then used to assess specific behaviors and expressions of the golfers’ vis-à-vis the results that were recorded. Interviews were then conducted within 24 hours from the time the sessions had been concluded.

In the course of the interview, the ‘think aloud’ modality was utilized. This modality was relatively similar to the one that had been utilized by Ericsson and Simon (1993). This modality entailed asking the participants to verbalize the inherent cognitive processes that underlay certain observed behaviors. It is arguably a self-reporting modality. Through the ‘think-aloud’ modality, the interviews were able to understand the extent to which the training programs that focus on mental skills encourage the golfers to engage in the deliberate practice of breathing, mindfulness, visualization and self-talk so as to yield optimal performance.

In the course of the interview, the participants would be asked to watch the available video clips and the interviewers would focus on specific behaviors or occurrences during the respective sessions.  The interviewers would then pose question to the participants regarding the various psychological strategies that they were using at different points of the session. The participants were essentially encouraged to watch the clips as they ‘think-aloud.’ The interview process was, therefore, guided and not dictated since the participants were regarded as the ‘experts.’ The presumption was that the participants were aware of instances when they were deliberate about utilizing the mental skills that they had come to acquire. The entire interview process was guided by an interview schedule. This was done with the sole aim of seeing that the intendments of the research process (with respect to the extent to which the mental skills served to foster cognitive development) are achieved. In the development of the schedule, a vast range of issues were canvassed by the researchers and these issues were placed in an appropriate sequence. Appropriate questions that were related to the respective areas were then formulated. Examples of the questions include the following; “How do you engage in meditation before going into a game?”; “what is the frequency of the use of mindfulness, visualization and self-talk in the course of the game?” The entire respective interviews were recorded and those that needed to be transcribed were transcribed.


Data Collection and Analysis

The data collected in the course of the interview were then carefully analyzed. This was done while utilizing the IPA guidelines. The researcher sought to become familiar with each of the accounts that were presented by the respective participants. The emergent thematic titles were identified and duly noted and anything that was considered interesting was also highlighted. The emergent thematic titles were then interpreted by the researcher. Any additional points of the researcher as per his understanding of the data before him were duly bracketed in a bid to separate between the thought processes of the researcher vis-à-vis the points that were fronted by the participants. This was aimed at producing trustworthiness in line with the approach that was adopted by Hardy, Hall, Gibbs, & Greensdale. All the transcripts that were made were also returned to the participants so as to verify the authenticity of the translations. Any unclear meanings were also returned to the participants for clarification.

In line with the description provided above, the researcher arrived at various findings. Firstly all the participants reported the use of psychological skills to improve performance. Some of the psychological skills that were utilized include; breathing, mindfulness, visualization and self-talk. The psychological skill that was particularly utilized by all the participants was visualization. Variances were, however, recorded with respect to the manner in which the other above-listed psychological skills were utilized.

Another finding from the research was that most of the participants were keen on having a routine mind-set. They were aware of the role of their mental state in achieving productivity and were deliberate about fostering the right mindset throughout the various sessions. It was essentially apparent that the use of psychological skills aided in the achievement of productivity.


As noted above, the analysis that was conducted led to two major themes. These themes are the subject of the subsequent discussion. The aforesaid themes include; the use of psychological skills (such as breathing, mindfulness, visualization and self-talk) and routine mind set.

1. Psychological skills

The main psychological skills that the golfers were said to have utilized included; relaxation techniques (such as breathing), self-talk, visualization (by making visual calculations before taking a move), as well as, fostered confidence. Whereas the use of these techniques was common among most of the players, they were not utilized by all of the participants. This served to prove that the research was authentic since individual differences had to be seen. Visualization was the most common psychological skill that was utilized by the all the participants. Some participants indicated that this skill was used so as to gain the right perspective regarding their respective positioning. Others indicated that visualization was used to gain clarity. Essentially, whereas visualization was the common skill that was utilized by all the participants, the manner in which the skill was applied was unique. The common usage of imagery in the present case served to support the findings that were reported by Hall, Rodgers, and Barr (1990) which were to the effect that the use of visualization results in better performance.

Another major psychological skill that was utilized by the participants was self-talk. This was the second most-popular skill that was reported to have been utilized in this study. As a result of the training program that they had engaged in, the participants were conscious of the internal monologue that prevailed in the course of the sessions. They were as such conscious about taking charge of the said monologue. Whereas this psychological skill was also popular, the meaning or applicability of the skill was different for the respective participants. Some participants reported that self-talk assisted in uplifting their mood and motivation. Others reported that self-talk assisted in dealing with any negative outcomes so as to conduct some restructuring steps towards the recording of better outcomes. With respect to the aspect of self-talk, the main issue for consideration was not whether or not the phenomena occurs but whether or not the participants were aware of it. Once they were conscious of it, they had the capability of taking charge of it. What clearly arose from the study was that conscious self-talk played a significant role in the registration of good performance.

2. Routine Mind Set

Most of the participants reported that they were conscious of their mind set at various points during the sessions. This essentially connoted that there were instances when they were not entirely deliberate about achieving the outcome they recorded. In essence, some participants noted that during the times when they had great performances, they were not particularly deliberate about achieving the said performance since they were simply applying their mental and physiological skills. When they were not making a deliberate attempt towards controlling the outcome, they would end up achieving success. This discovery was in line with the findings of Cotterill, Collins, and Sanders (2010) who noted that “the best performance appeared to elicit a response similar to amnesia, or that the participants were at least not consciously focusing on what they were doing but were just involved in the skill execution, highlighting a focus on process goal” (Cotterill, Collins, & Sanders, 2010, p. 59).

Limitations of the Study

It is arguable that the major limitation of the study relates to the sample size for the study. As noted above, 10 participants were involved in the study. The sample size was, therefore, relatively small. It is, therefore, imperative that additional work is undertaken so as to determine whether the themes that have emerged in the present paper are consistent with respect to various other groups of participants. It is similarly important to determine whether the approaches outlined in the present paper are individualistic (unique to the circumstances that emerged in the present study) or similar to the approaches that have been undertaken at various other locations (and in respect of various other groups). The findings of this study are, therefore, not conclusive or applicable to all related situations. It serves to contribute to literature on the importance of the application of psychological skills in the realization of optimal results in the game of golf. 

Implications of the Study

The findings of this research have potential implications for sports psychologists and coaches with respect to the development of formidable training programs that focus on the development of mental skills. Unique programs should be developed while being cognizant of the various personalities of the recipients, as well as, any situational appraisals. Coaches and sports psychologists should facilitate the development of such programs. This will ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure that the golfers have the correct frame of mind. The findings of the research also have potential implications for the golfer with respect to the development of an appreciation for the role of the mental state of the golfer vis-à-vis the realization of optimal results. This consequently means that whereas the physiological skills relating to golfing are important, psychological skills are equally important. It is, therefore, imperative that every golfer takes the initiative of establishing the correct frame of mind before undertaking the competitive golfing sessions.

General Findings and Conclusion

Considering the fact that the participants had been engaged in training programs that focus on the development of mental skills, it was expected that they would use various psychological skills during the recorded sessions. The plan, therefore, was to individually tabulate the psychological strategies that would be utilized. It was apparent that various psychological skills were utilized by the participants depending on the task that needed to be undertaken. Certain skills were also utilized during all situations and for the performance of almost all sorts of tasks that arose during the sessions. One such skill was visualization. All 10 participants recorded the consistent use of visualization. The second most common psychological skill that was recorded was self-talk. It became apparent that this factor played a key role in the achievement of optimal results. It was also determined that a golfer’s consciousness regarding the inherent internal self-talk is key to the determination on the direction the self-talk will take. This study essentially served to prove that training programs which focus on mental skills that encourage the deliberate practice of various psychological skills (such as breathing, mindfulness, visualization, and self-talk) assist in the achievement of optimal performance.

   Improved performance and positive outcomes in golf, just like in other sports, requires players to develop a set of mental skills necessary for enhancing their psychological wellbeing. Reviewed literature and existing research studies cite imagery, self-talk, centering and relaxation, and goal setting as the key mental skills required of golfers to attain higher performance in golf putting. Various mental training programs and approaches have been recommended and adopted to help players develop these mental skills. The approaches include attentional focus, cognitive-behavioral training, imagery training and self-talk training.   



Cotterill, S. T., Collins, D,  & Sanders, R.,. (2010). Developing effective pre-performance routines in golf: Why don’t we ask the golfer? Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22(1), 51-64.

Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1993). Verbal reports as data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hardy, J., Hall, C. R., Gibbs, C., & Greenslade, C. (2005). Self-talk and gross motor skill      performance: An experimental approach. Athletic insight, 7(2), 72-85.

Hall, C. R., Rodgers, W. M., & Barr, K. A. (1990). The use of imagery by athletes in selected sports. The Sport Psychologist, 4, 1–10.


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