The purpose of this study was to examine the role of imagery practice as supplementary practice in the performance of a throwing task. A secondary purpose was to ascertain if different cognitive demands of a motor task affected the use of this supplementary practice. Forty adolescents with mild mental retardation were randomly assigned to the following groups: low cognitive loading-physical practice, low cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice, high cognitive loading-physical practice, high cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice. Subjects engaged in seven practice sessions during which performance scores of a throwing task were recorded. Groups supplemented with imagery practice were superior in performance to nonimagery groups. A higher cognitive loading of the task did not enhance the use of this type of supplementary practice more than a lower loading. The results of this study reflect the efficacy of imagery practice as a means to improve motor performance of students with mild mental retardation.
Paul R. Surburg and Vins Sutlive are with the Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. David L. Porretta is with the Adapted Physical Activity Section, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.