This study employed a qualitative methodology to examine the ways in which imagery is used by high-level slalom canoeists (n = 3) and artistic gymnasts (n = 3). Participants were interviewed about their imagery use and experiences in different environments. Athletes’ responses were analyzed using inductive and deductive procedures. A total of 43 raw data themes formed 10 first order and 3 second order dimensions, characterizing the athletes’ uses of imagery. Participants reported using imagery in a variety of different environments for cognitive and motivational purposes. Data showed several differences between the canoeists’ and gymnasts’ uses of imagery, reflecting the differing task demands of each sport. The experience of imagery was unique to each individual, and athletes were able to emphasize certain aspects or manipulate the content of their images for specific cognitive or motivational functions.
Alison White is with the Department of Sports Development and Recreation at the University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, England, BA2 7AY. Lew Hardy is with the School of Sport, Health and Physical Education Sciences at the University of Wales, Bangor, Victoria Dr., Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, LL57 2EW.