Purpose. This study investigated if (1) the beneficial effects of an external focus of attention on learning a motor skill were influenced by an internal focus of attention provided at initial instruction (2) or by an internal focus of attention at the early stage of the acquisition phase and (3) their relation to the automation hypothesis. Methods. Three separate experiments were performed with 168 college students on the acquisition, transfer, and retention of a golf-putting task. Results. In conjunction, the results of the three experiments pointed to the positive effects of an internal attention of focus instructions followed by an external attentional focus on motor learning. Conclusions. These results support the development of an alternative hypothesis on the effects of attentional focus on motor skill acquisition.
Key words: instruction; attention; motor learning; golf; external focus; internal focus