“Observation favors motor skill learning, but who should you observe to learn that new golf shot?” the study asks.
“An expert who masters the shot presumably will help you develop a reference of what to do and how to do it, but should you observe someone like you who is learning that shot and who presumably gives you a better chance of detecting and learning from errors or changes in strategy?
“Research has shown that observing both a skilled model and a novice model leads to significant learning.
“However, recent results from our laboratory showed that observational learning of a new motor skill is improved following observation of both novice and expert models rather than either a novice or an expert model alone.”
While that finding is interesting the more fascinating result was that people learn better when they not only watch both expert and novice but are told beforehand which of the two they were seeing.
“We believe that this “variable” observation format leads to not only the development of a good movement representation (expert observation) but also the development of efficient processes for error detection and correction (novice observation),” the report says.
So when you watch Adam Scott you can learn what it is you are supposed to do but when you watch your 27-marker mate you are seeing what not to do.
And both are helpful.
It all makes perfect sense when you think about it, and the good news is that you now have even more reasons to both tee up with your mates and watch the golf on TV
As long as you know beforehand which is which, of course.