Few words of encouragement really work when it comes to sporting success

May 2nd, 2009 - 12:26 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 2 (ANI): A new study has confirmed what many people already knew- a few words of encouragement can significantly boost a sportsperson’s performance on the field.

Researchers from University of Exeter have revealed that emotional support in personal as well as professional lives give the players or athletes an edge over their opponents.

During the study, the team focused on three male golfers, who all competed at regional, national and international level.

For half of the golfers lead researcher Dr Paul Freeman gave them regular one-on-one support.

He offered a range of support including listening to the golfers as they talked through their problems, offering encouragement and reassurance before competitions, and helping with practical issues, such as organising accommodation during competitions.

The researchers found that all three golfers performed better when they were receiving support.

The players improved by an average of 1.78 shots per round, which could be significant at high-level golf.

“The benefits of social support on sports performance have been demonstrated in previous studies,” said Freeman.

“In this study we have taken our understanding of the significance of social support a step further. By actually providing support to the golfers we were able to measure the actual improvement in performance.

“It is significant that the support I offered, as a relative stranger, had such a marked influence on their results.

“The findings suggest that amateur and professional athletes would benefit from seeking social support, whether this is from a friend or family member or even from a professional,” he added.

The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. (ANI)

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