As in many sports, the conventional wisdom in golf is that if you overthink a shot, you may blow it.
Now two psychologists have put some science to the notion.
Michael Anderson at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Kristin Flegal at the University of Michigan had 80 golfers — some skilled, some novice — practice a putt until they sunk it three times in a row.
Then one group of the golfers was asked to spend 5 minutes describing what they'd done. The other group were distracted with non-golf chatter. Each golfer then tried the putt again.
Those who'd described their technique took twice as many attempts to sink the putt in Round 2, according to The Telegraph.
"This effect was especially dramatic in skilled golfers who were reduced to the level of performance of novices after just five minutes of describing what they did," Anderson said.