Despite some prior studies demonstrating the benefits of positive comments to athletes, there are still those of the opinion that a criticism-based commentary style is better for development. New research out of the University of Exeter may put those opinions to rest.
The study focused on golfers, both professional and amateur. The golfers received consistent positive emotional support from researchers. The support ranged from listening to their thoughts and problems to giving positive feedback regarding skills and performance to helping with everyday tasks, such as travel arrangements.
And the results were clear – over the 10 competitive events played by the golfers during the course of the study, they showed an average score reduction of 1.78 strokes. How significant are these results? Given that four players at the top of the leaderboard were separated by only 2 strokes this weekend at Quail Hollow, they seem to be pretty important.