K. G. Drugge, H. Papodoulos

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Studies have shown that coaches in a position to use Psychological Skills Training (PST) with their athletes refrain because of a lack of understanding how to implement them effectively (Gould, Damarjian, et al., 1999). Furthermore, there is a lack of understanding around the use of PST by NCAA golf coaches with their golf athletes. Robust evidence has shown that psychological skills training (PST) can improve performance outcomes, especially when administered by a coach (Brown & Fletcher, 2017). Self-talk (Hatzigeorgiadis et al, 2011; Tod et al., 2011), imagery (Simonsmeier et al., 2020), and concentration strategies such as pre-performance routines (Rupprecht et al., 2021) all have positive effects on athletic performance. PURPOSE: To examine NCAA golf coaches’ use of PST with their athletes, how they implement PST, their confidence in administering PST with their athletes, and their perceived importance and effectiveness of PST. The authors also investigated common barriers and facilitators that NCAA golf coaches reported experiencing in regard to implementing PST. METHODS: NCAA Division I, II, and III golf coaches (N = 42) were surveyed with an original survey developed by the authors. The survey was 35 questions with a mix of questions that require quantitative, Likert-scale type responses, and some questions that offered qualitative open-ended responses from the participants. The authors searched for themes from the open-ended responses and statistical analysis was utilized with the quantitative-focused questions to reveal any significant correlations. RESULTS: Most respondents viewed PST as important or very important, but their reported confidence in teaching these skills did not match. Also, there is a positive significant correlation between coaches’ education in sport psychology and their confidence to teach imagery to their athletes (p = .019, r = .41). Coaches commonly expressed that education is a barrier to teaching psychological skills. CONCLUSION: Golf coaches' current use of psychological skills is unstructured and informal. NCAA golf coaches may benefit from more education in the form of workshops with hands-on training to learn how to effectively implement PST with their athletes.

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