Effects of hypnosis on flow states and golf performance

Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, South Yorkshire. J.Pate@shu.ac.uk

This study examined the effects of an hypnotic intervention on flow states and golf-chipping performance of 3 participants. The study utilized an ideographic ABA single-subject design combined with a procedure to assess the participants' internal experience (Wollman, 1986). The intervention involved relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and trigger control procedures over 5 wk. and 7 trials. Analysis indicated the 3 participants increased their mean golf-chipping performance from the trials in Baseline 1 to intervention, with 2 returning to Baseline 1 performance after the intervention phase at Baseline 2. The intensity of flow experienced by the participants during the performance trials was measured using Jackson and Marsh's 1996 Flow State Scale. Two participants experienced higher flow during the intervention phase and much lower flow during Baselines 1 and 2. Finally, participants indicated the intervention seemed useful in keeping them confident, relaxed, and in control. These results support the hypothesis that an hypnotic intervention can improve golf-chipping performance and increase feelings and cognitions associated with flow.