The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of skill level and age on golfers’ (n = 188) use of observational learning for skill, strategy, and performance functions, as assessed by the Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire. Golf handicap was used as an objective measure of golf skill level, with a lower handicap reflecting a higher skill level. It was hypothesized that both age and skill level would predict observational learning use, with younger and less experienced golfers reporting increased use of all three functions of observational learning. It was also predicted that age and skill level would interact to predict use of the performance function, with younger golfers employing more of that function than older golfers at the same skill level. Partial support was obtained for these hypotheses. Regression analyses revealed that the interaction of age and skill level predicted use of the skill function. Younger golfers employed more of the skill function than older golfers; however this discrepancy increased as skill level decreased. Age, and not skill level, was a significant predictor of golfers’ use of both the strategy and performance functions, with younger golfers employing more of these functions than older golfers. These results suggest that age-related factors may have a greater impact than skill-related factors on observational learning use across the lifespan.
Barbi Law and Craig Hall
Jennifer Cumming and Craig Hall
The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of competitive level on athletes’ use of imagery in the off-season and to examine whether their use of imagery was related to their physical and technical preparation. A total of 324 athletes completed a modified version of the Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ; Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998) that was designed to reflect an athletes’ use of imagery in the off-season. MANOVAs indicated that competitive level differences existed in athletes’ use of imagery in the offseason as well as in their use of physical and technical preparation for the upcoming season. More specifically, provincial and national level athletes engaged in significantly more imagery, regardless of the function, and physical and technical preparation than regional level athletes. In addition, bivariate correlations indicated that the more physical and technical preparation athletes engage in during the off-season, the more imagery they use.
Jacquelyn Paige Pope and Craig Hall
This study tested the degree to which coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and identity prominence were associated with their positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. In total, 413 coaches with an average of 14 years’ experience served as participants and completed an online survey that included six sections: Demographics, basic psychological needs, identity prominence, positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. The present study findings provide initial support for the links from coaches’ basic psychological needs and identity prominence to their positive affect and commitment. In contrast, the findings did not provide support for the relationship between coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and their intentions to persist or the association between their identity prominence and intentions to persist. The results offer an explanation of the mechanisms that may play a role in facilitating coaches’ optimal functioning.
Kendra Nelson Ferguson and Craig Hall
Biofeedback is among the various self-regulation techniques that mental performance consultants can utilize in their practice with athletes. Biofeedback produces psychophysiological assessments in real time to enhance awareness of thoughts and emotions. Quantitatively, research shows that biofeedback can facilitate self-regulation, allowing an athlete to gain control over psychophysiological responses that could be detrimental to performance. With technology becoming a widespread tool in monitoring psychophysiological states, an exploration of consultants’ use of biofeedback, their perceptions of effectiveness, and limitations of their use was warranted to qualitatively evaluate efficiency of the tool. A qualitative descriptive approach was taken through semistructured interviews with 10 mental performance consultants. Inductive reasoning uncovered three themes: positive implications, practical limitations, and equipment options. With biofeedback, athletes have the ability to develop a deeper level of self-awareness and thereby facilitate the use of self-regulation strategies intended for optimal performance states and outcomes.
Nicole Westlund Stewart and Craig Hall
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-week CG imagery intervention on strategic decision-making in curling. A secondary purpose was to determine whether curlers’ imagery ability and CG imagery use would be improved. Eleven varsity curlers from a Canadian postsecondary institution engaged in weekly guided imagery sessions that were held at the curling club before their regularly scheduled team practices. Curlers’ response times on a computerized curling strategy assessment significantly improved from baseline to post-intervention (p < .05). In addition, their kinesthetic imagery ability, CG imagery use, and MG-M imagery use significantly increased (p < .05). These results suggest that when curlers are exposed to new scenarios, they learn to store, process, and retrieve relevant information quicker (Simon & Chase, 1973). From a practical standpoint, CG imagery training can improve curlers’ strategy performance, including their ability to use various strategies in game situations.
Kathleen A. Martin and Craig R. Hall
It was hypothesized that subjects who used mental imagery would spend more time practicing a golf putting task and would have higher task specific self-efficacy than control subjects. Thirty-nine absolute beginner golfers were randomly assigned to either an imagery treatment condition (performance plus outcome imagery or performance imagery) or a no imagery (control) condition. During the first three sessions all subjects were taught how to putt a golf ball. Imagery treatment subjects also participated in an imagery training program designed specifically for the golf putting task. For the final three sessions, subjects were told that the emphasis of the study was on performance. Subjects in the performance imagery group spent significantly more time practicing the golf putting task than subjects in the control group. Subjects who used imagery also set higher goals for themselves, had more realistic self-expectations, and adhered more to their training programs outside of the laboratory.
Craig R. Hall and Wendy M. Rodgers
Research on various psychological techniques indicates that their use by athletes, particularly in combination with one another, can produce enhanced performance. An extension of this finding would seem to be that coaches should be able to incorporate combinations of various mental training techniques in their teaching to improve their coaching effectiveness. A work-shop was developed and conducted for figure skating coaches on the use of various psychological techniques with their skaters. Prior to and following the workshop, the coaches were asked about their use of the psychological techniques. While most coaches were familiar with the techniques before participating in the workshop, they evaluated the workshop as being informative and felt it helped them to more effectively use the techniques. The more qualified and experienced coaches generally were the most positive toward the workshop and the various mental training techniques covered. The skaters they coached reported improvements in their lessons following the coaches’ participation in the workshop.
James Hardy, Kimberley Gammage, and Craig Hall
In this descriptive study, the four Ws (i.e., where, when, what, and why) of the use of self-talk were examined. Varsity athletes (78 male, 72 female), with a mean age of 20.68 years (SD = 1.90) read a self-statement oriented definition of self-talk and then answered the four questions in an open-ended format. Athletes reported using self-talk most frequently while partaking in their sports (when), at sport related venues (where). The “what” or content of self-talk use was categorized into five themes: nature, structure, person, task instructions, and miscellaneous. With regard to why athletes use self-talk, two main themes emerged from the data: cognitive and motivational. It was possible to further classify the two themes into seemingly specific and general levels, similar to Paivio’s (1985) classification of athletes’ use of mental imagery. Results for the present study provide descriptive data for the development of a conceptual frame work for the use of self-talk.
Melanie Gregg, Craig Hall, and Esther Nederhof
Carla Sordoni, Craig Hall, and Lorie Forwell
To determine whether athletes use motivational and cognitive imagery during injury rehabilitation and to develop an instrument for measuring imagery use.
A survey concerning imagery use during rehabilitation was administered to injured athletes.
The Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic in London, Ontario, Canada.
Injured athletes (N = 71) receiving physiotherapy.
Main Outcome Measure:
The Athletic Injury Imagery Questionnaire (AIIQ).
As hypothesized, 2 distinct factors emerged from the items on the AIIQ: motivational and cognitive imagery. Motivational imagery was used more often than cognitive imagery in this context, yet less frequently than in other sport situations (eg, training and competition).
The study indicates that the AIIQ is a potentially useful tool through which physiotherapists and sport psychologists can examine athletes' use of imagery in injury rehabilitation.