Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

23

The self-regulatory challenges of golf

D.S. Kirschenbaum

Center for Behavioral Medicine, Chicago, USA

Abstract

Golf is quite probably the ultimate self-regulatory challenge in all of sports. This paper reviews conceptualizations and research on self-regulation and applies them to golf. More specifically, the paper considers five phases of self-regulation (problem identification, commitment, execution, environmental management, and generalization) and qualifiers of this general model of self-regulation (affect, task difficulty, expectations, attributions, and dispositions). Methods to increase mastery of the self-regulatory challenges of golf that have been tested and proposed are also discussed.

Keywords: Sport Psychology, Self-regulation, Golf Psychology.

Concepts and research findings pertaining to self-regulation may help golfers decrease their frustration, increase their enjoyment, and lower their scores (Kirschenbaum and Bale, 1980). Self-regulation refers to those processes that enable people to guide their behaviors in pursuit of goals over time and across changing circumstances-in the relative absence of immediate external control (Kanfer and Karoly, 1972; Karoly, 1993). Self-regulatory processes include goal-setting, planning, self-observation and self-monitoring, problem identification and problem solving, self-reinforcement, and related cognitions and behaviors. Since self-regulation does not occur in a vacuum, self-regulation involves a variety of complex interactions between cognitions, (e.g., planning, goal-setting), affect (emotional states), physiology (e.g., physical fitness), and environmental constraints.

Researchers and theorists organized these complex interactions by describing them as sequences of activities or phases (e.g., Kanfer and Karoly, 1972). Kirschenbaum (1984) suggested that the following five phases most appropriately summarize self-regulation: problem identification, commitment, execution, environmental management, and generalization. Recent research and theorizing also suggest that self-regulation is further complicated or qualified by a variety of factors, some of which Karoly (1993) referred to as “metaskills.” Such metaskills include the hierarchial structure of goals, affect, memory, imagery ability, understanding of task components, task mastery, among other factors (see Carver and Scheier, 1990). In the present paper, the self-regulatory challenges of golf will be described within each of the five phases of self-regulation (from problem identification to generalization) and the impact of some of

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-150-

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