The Effects of a Mental Skills Training Package on Equestrians

in The Sport Psychologist
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The present study examined the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) package employing relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk (strategies for improving performance and perceptions through cognitive-somatic techniques) on equestrian performance. A stratified random sample of 17 competitive collegiate horseback riders participated in this study: 8 received MST and 9 were controls. Riders’ goal orientation was also assessed and used to determine if there might be a relationship with performance change over time. Assessment of participants via performance in 2 horse shows revealed no interaction effect for group by time in either flat or show-jumping performance, but there was a significant main effect of time for performance improvement. Riders demonstrated a dominant mastery-approach goal orientation as hypothesized, but no significant correlations with performance change emerged. Findings do not rule out MST as a possible performance enhancing technique, but more research is needed to assess nomothetic MST package effects.

Blakeslee and Goff are with the Dept. of Psychology, Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA.

The Sport Psychologist
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