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Enhancing Coaching Effectiveness in Figure Skating through a Mental Skills Training Program

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.

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Using Mental Imagery to Enhance Intrinsic Motivation

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.

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More about Exercise Imagery

Kimberley L. Gammage, Craig R. Hall, and Wendy M. Rodgers

Imagery plays important cognitive and motivational roles in many areas of life, including sport (Paivio, 1985) and exercise (Hausenblas, Hall, Rodgers, & Munroe, 1999). The purpose of the present paper was to examine how the cognitive and motivational roles of exercise imagery vary with gender, frequency of exercise, and activity type. Participants (n = 577) completed the Exercise Imagery Questionnaire (Hausenblas et al„ 1999) which measures appearance, energy, and technique imagery. Participants, regardless of gender, frequency of exercise, or activity type, used appearance imagery most frequently, followed by technique and energy, respectively. Men used significantly more technique imagery than women did, while women used significantly more appearance imagery than men did. In addition, high frequency exercisers (3 or more times per week) used all types of imagery more frequently than low frequency exercisers (2 or fewer times per week). Finally, imagery differences existed based on type of activity.

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About Hitting Golf Balls in the Water: Comments on Janelle’s (1999) Article on Ironic Processes

Craig R. Hall, James Hardy, and Kimberley L. Gammage

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Imagery Use in Sport: A Literature Review and Applied Model

Kathleen A. Martin, Sandra E. Moritz, and Craig R. Hall

Research examining imagery use by athletes is reviewed within the context of an applied model for sport. The model conceptualizes the sport situation, the type of imagery used, and imagery ability as factors that influence how imagery use can affect an athlete. Three broad categories of imagery effects are examined: (a) skill and strategy learning and performance, (b) cognitive modification, and (c) arousal and anxiety regulation. Recommendations are offered for the operationalization and measurement of constructs within the model, and suggestions are provided for how the model may guide future research and application.

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The Four Ws of Imagery Use: Where, When, Why, and What

Krista J. Munroe, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Craig Hall, and Robert Weinberg

The purpose of the study was to identify and describe the four Ws of athletes’ imagery use: where, when, why, and what. Due to the in-depth nature of the questions being asked, a qualitative approach was employed. The participants were 14 elite athletes (7 male and 7 female), representing 7 different sports. A constant comparative method of analysis was conducted by two investigators. A conceptual framework was developed to display the four Ws of imagery use during and outside practice, as well as for pre-competition, competition, and post competition. Results from the present study indicated where and when athletes use imagery, and extended previous findings on why and for what athletes use imagery. It was proposed that a better understanding of the athletes’ images can serve as a guide to future research and from a practical perspective, facilitate the development of more effective imagery interventions.

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The Use of Imagery by Athletes in Selected Sports

Craig R. Hall, Wendy M. Rodgers, and Kathryn A. Barr

The use of imagery by athletes was assessed by administering a 37-item questionnaire to a sample of 381 male and female participants from six sports. The sample comprised competitors in the sports of football, ice hockey, soccer, squash, gymnastics, and figure skating. Athletes reported using imagery more in conjunction with competition than with practice. The motivational function of imagery was found to be important, but no substantial differences were evident between how athletes employ visual and kinesthetic imagery or how they use internal and external imagery perspectives. Athletes also indicated that they do not have very structured or regular imagery sessions. The level at which athletes were competing (recreational/house league, local competitive, provincial competitive, national/international competitive) was found to influence imagery use. The higher the competitive level, the more often the athletes reported using imagery in practice, in competition, and before an event.

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The Relationship of Explicit–Implicit Evaluative Discrepancy to Exercise Dropout in Middle-Aged Adults

Tanya R. Berry, Wendy M. Rodgers, Alison Divine, and Craig Hall

Discrepancies between automatically activated associations (i.e., implicit evaluations) and explicit evaluations of motives (measured with a questionnaire) could lead to greater information processing to resolve discrepancies or self-regulatory failures that may affect behavior. This research examined the relationship of health and appearance exercise-related explicit–implicit evaluative discrepancies, the interaction between implicit and explicit evaluations, and the combined value of explicit and implicit evaluations (i.e., the summed scores) to dropout from a yearlong exercise program. Participants (N = 253) completed implicit health and appearance measures and explicit health and appearance motives at baseline, prior to starting the exercise program. The sum of implicit and explicit appearance measures was positively related to weeks in the program, and discrepancy between the implicit and explicit health measures was negatively related to length of time in the program. Implicit exercise evaluations and their relationships to oft-cited motives such as appearance and health may inform exercise dropout.

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Do Nonexercisers Also Share the Positive Exerciser Stereotype?: An Elicitation and Comparison of Beliefs about Exercisers

Wendy M. Rodgers, Craig R. Hall, Philip M. Wilson, and Tanya R. Berry

The purpose of this research was to examine whether exercisers and nonexercisers are rated similarly on a variety of characteristics by a sample of randomly selected regular exercisers, nonexercisers who intend to exercise, and nonexercisers with no intention to exercise. Previous research by Martin Ginis et al. (2003) has demonstrated an exerciser stereotype that advantages exercisers. It is unknown, however, the extent to which an exerciser stereotype is shared by nonexercisers, particularly nonintenders. Following an item-generation procedure, a sample of 470 (n = 218 men; n = 252 women) people selected using random digit dialing responded to a questionnaire assessing the extent to which they agreed that exercisers and nonexercisers possessed 24 characteristics, such as “happy,” “fit,” “fat,” and “lazy.” The results strongly support a positive exerciser bias, with exercisers rated more favorably on 22 of the 24 items. The degree of bias was equivalent in all groups of respondents. Examination of the demographic characteristics revealed no differences among the three groups on age, work status, or child-care responsibilities, suggesting that there is a pervasive positive exerciser bias.

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Moderators of Implicit–Explicit Exercise Cognition Concordance

Tanya R. Berry, Wendy M. Rodgers, David Markland, and Craig R. Hall

Investigating implicit–explicit concordance can aid in understanding underlying mechanisms and possible intervention effects. This research examined the concordance between implicit associations of exercise with health or appearance and related explicit motives. Variables considered as possible moderators were behavioral regulations, explicit attitudes, and social desirability. Participants (N = 454) completed measures of implicit associations of exercise with health and appearance and questionnaire measures of health and appearance motives, attitudes, social desirability, and behavioral regulations. Attitudes significantly moderated the relationship between implicit associations of exercise with health and health motives. Identified regulations significantly moderated implicit–explicit concordance with respect to associations with appearance. These results suggest that implicit and explicit exercise-related cognitions are not necessarily independent and their relationship to each other may be moderated by attitudes or some forms of behavioral regulation. Future research that takes a dual-processing approach to exercise behavior should consider potential theoretical moderators of concordance.