The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a specific cognitive race plan on 100 m sprint performance. Twelve elite sprinters (11 male and 1 female) performed 100 m time trials under normal (control) conditions and then under experimental conditions (use of race cues). In the experimental condition, participants were asked to think about specific thought content in each of three segments of the 100 m. A multiple baseline design was employed. A mean improvement of 0.26 s was found. Eleven of the 12 participants showed improvement using the specific cognitive race plan (p < .005). Participants also produced more consistent sprint performances when using the cues (p < .01). Subjective evaluations made by the participants unanimously supported the use of the race plan for optimizing sprint performance. Environmental conditions, effort, and practice effects were considered as possible influences on the results.
Clifford J. Mallett was affiliated with the Department of Psychology and Stephanie J. Hanrahan is with the Departments of Human Movement Studies and Psychology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072. Mallett is now at the Australian Institute of Sport/Queensland Academy of Sport, South Brisbane, Australia 4101.