Mental Imagery in Athletes with Visual Impairments

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Kate A.T. Eddy University of Wales, Swansea

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Stephen D. Mellalieu University of Wales, Swansea

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The purpose of this study was to investigate imagery experiences in performers with visual impairments. Structured, in-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted with six elite goalball athletes regarding the processing and use of mental images in training and competition. Interview transcripts were analyzed using deductive and inductive procedures and revealed four general dimensions describing the athletes’ uses of imagery. Participants reported using imagery for cognitive and motivational purposes in both training and competition. Imagery was also suggested to be utilized from an internal perspective with the processing of images derived from a range of modalities. The findings suggest that visual impairment does not restrict the ability to use mental imagery and that psychological interventions can be expanded to include the use of all the athletes’ sensory modalities.

The authors are with Department of Sports Science, University of Wales, Swansea, Vivian Tower, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom. E-mail: adskate@bath.ac.uk.

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