The Effects of Motivational versus Instructional Self-Talk on Improving Motor Performance

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Thessaly, Greece
  • 2 Miami University of Ohio
  • 3 University of Thessaly, Greece
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This study examined the effectiveness of different self-talk strategies on increasing performance in different motor tasks. Specifically, four laboratory experiments were conducted to examine the effect of motivational versus instructional self-talk strategies on four different tasks. Included in the experiments were a soccer accuracy lest, a badminton service test, a sit up test, and a knee extension task on an isokinetic dynamometer. Results of the first two experiments indicated that only the participants of the instructional group improved their performance significantly more than the motivational and control groups. Results of the third experiment indicated no significant differences between the three groups, although all groups showed improvements across trials. Results of the fourth experiment showed a significant improvement for both the motivational and instructional groups compared to the control group. It appears that when the task requires fine motor movements, an instructional self-talk strategy is more effective, whereas when the task requires predominantly strength and endurance, both motivational and instructional strategies are effective.

Yannis Theodorakis, Petros Natsis, Irini Douma and Panagiotis Kazakas are in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at the University of Thessaly 42100, Trikala, Greece.

Address all correspondence to Robert Weinberg, Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Phillips Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.