The Effects of Hypnosis on Flow States and Golf-Putting Performance

John Pates, Rachael Oliver, Ian Maynard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the effects of hypnosis on flow states and golf-putting per-formance in 5 competitive players. The investigation utilized an ideographic single-subject multiple baseline across subjects design combined with a procedure that monitors the internal experience of the participants (Wollman, 1986). The method of intervention utilized in this study involved hypnotic induction, hypnotic re-gression, and trigger control procedures. The results indicated that all 5 partici-pants increased both their mean golf putting performance and their mean flow scores from baseline to intervention. There were no overlapping data points be-tween the baseline and intervention for either performance or flow state. Addi-tionally, each participant indicated that they had felt the intervention was useful in keeping them relaxed, confident, and focused. Three of the golfers also re-ported experiencing reduced concerns about performing and more control over their putting stroke. Psychologically golfers are an interesting group of athletes because they spend an inordinate amount of time between shots waiting to play. This time spent be-tween shots provides an opportunity to facilitate an appropriate or an inappropri-ate psychological state for performance. Recently, Catley, and Duda (1997) have indicated that a golfer's ability to control pre-performance psychological states is as important as skill level. Their study also revealed that a psychological state described by Csikszentmihalyi (1975) as flow was strongly associated with peak performances in golfers. A similar finding was echoed in the work of Cohn (1991) who indicated that improved performances, a lower handicap, and greater enjoy-ment of the game could be associated with techniques designed to facilitate the flow experience. An interesting aspect of flow is that one cannot force it to hap-pen. However, according to Loehr (1994), many top-level athletes have identified their own ideal performance state, and have learned strategies to create and
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-354
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes

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