Tennis Service Performance in Beginners: The Effect of Instructional Self-Talk Combined With Motor Imagery

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 Laboratoire “Adaptation au Climat Tropical, Exercice & Santé”, Faculté des Sciences du Sport de Pointe-à-Pitre, Université des Antilles, Pointe-a-Pitre, France
  • | 2 Laboratoire ACTES, Université de la Réunion, Saint-Denis, France
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of motor imagery (MI) combined with instructional self-talk on service performance in young novice tennis players. The participants were assigned to one of three groups: control, MI, or MI + self-talk. They performed a pretest (10 serves), participated in 5 days of intervention sessions, and finally performed a posttest similar to the pretest. During the intervention sessions, the participants performed 20 serves. The control group was not given any instructions other than verbal instructions on the steps of the serve. Before each serve, the MI group was instructed to imagine performing a successful serve towards the “correct” service box. The MI + self-talk group had to repeat the instructions during MI before serving. The results of this original study revealed that only the participants in the MI and MI + self-talk groups increased their service percentage of success and technical quality scores from pre- to posttest. In addition, at posttest, the participants of the MI + self-talk group had higher serve speeds and technical quality scores than the participants of the control and MI groups. The beneficial effect of using MI and/or self-talk during short tennis interventions and the practical applications are discussed.

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