IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 18 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1801026
Open Access Original Research
The re-organization of action in golf putting under different task constraints
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1 Ingeniarius, Ltd., 4445-147 Alfena, Portugal
2 Institute of Systems and Robotics (ISR), University of Coimbra (FCTUC), 3030-194 Coimbra, Portugal
3 Research Unit for Sport and Physical Activity (CIDAF), University of Coimbra, 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal
4 Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, ESEC, UNICID-ASSERT, 3030-329 Coimbra, Portugal
5 Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, IIA, ROBOCORP, 3030-329 Coimbra, Portugal
6 Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), Faculty of Human Kinetics, Spertlab, University of Lisbon,1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal
7 Sport & Human Performance Research Group, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB Sheffield, UK
8 Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT), 6200-151 Covilhã, Portugal
J. Mens. Health 2022, 18(1), 26;
Submitted: 6 October 2021 | Accepted: 18 November 2021 | Published: 19 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Biomechanics for Health and Performance)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: The behaviours of golfers could be interpreted as emergent, resulting from the cyclical relations of perception-action couplings established under the interacting constraints of competitive performance environments. Underpinned by an ecological dynamics approach, the aim of this study was to investigate how a simple adaptation of task constraints constrained the (re)organization of putting actions in skilled golfers. Methods: Ten skilled golfers, male and right-handed (42.6 ± 14.4 years old) (average handicap of 2.3 ± 1.7) were investigated when putting at different distances from the hole. Results: Our results have revealed how the coupling of perception and action captures the mutual relationship that emerges between a performance environment and each golfer’s abilities, during task performance. In this sense, the manipulation of distance constraints selectively constrained movement organization variables in specific ways. As distance to the hole increased, there was a clear increment in backswing, downswing and follow-through amplitude, speed of putter impact on the ball and maximum acceleration of the putting movement. Moreover, heart rate (HR) decreased with distance to the hole, which may have indicated that a golfer was adapting to increasing distance constraints, or that a greater distance from the hole may require a greater attentional focus. Conclusions: Underpinned by an ecological dynamics approach, these and other findings in our study suggested some regularities in the behaviour of golfers when environmental constraints (e.g., distance) are manipulated. Thus, golfers’ behaviours can be interpreted as an emergent process resulting from the perception-action coupling relations established during practice and performance.

Ecological dynamics
Perception and action
Golf putting performance
Motor control
Fig. 1.
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