Field studies investigating the potential benefit of mental-imagery training with young children have been lacking in the literature. The purpose of this investigation was to shed light on the appropriateness of mental training for children. Three groups of 7–10-year-old table tennis players participated in this study to assess the value of mental-imagery training, specifically with respect to children’s performance enhancement. The results indicated that children who used mental imagery experienced significantly greater improvement in the accuracy and technical quality of their shots than children in comparison groups. This study suggests that mental-imagery training, combined with videotaped images and relaxation, may be particularly promising for children.
Zhang and Ma are with the Beijing Institute of Physical Education, Beijing, China. T. Orlick and L. Zitzelsberger are with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5.