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Phillip G. Post and Craig A. Wrisberg

The authors would like to extend their gratitude to the ten gymnasts participating in this study. Their willingness to share their time and experiences made this research project possible.

Phenomenological interviews were conducted with ten female collegiate gymnasts (M age = 22.2; SD = 1.68 yr) to determine their lived experience of sport imagery. Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed a total of 693 meaning units and produced a final thematic structure consisting of five major dimensions: preparing for movement; mentally preparing; feeling the skill; controlling perspective/speed/effort; and time and place. Among the results not reported in previous studies were athletes’ manipulations of imagery speed for various purposes, the incorporation of abbreviated body movements during imagery to accentuate the feel of the action, correcting inadvertent mistakes in an imaged performance, and the imaging of upcoming segments of a serial skill during execution. The findings extend previous sport imagery research and provide suggestions for sport psychology consultants working with elite gymnasts.

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Duncan Simpson, Phillip G. Post, Greg Young and Peter R. Jensen

Ultramarathon (UM) running is a rapidly growing sport throughout the world, yet to date it has received little attention in sport psychology literature. To obtain further insight into this sport, the current study examined the training and competition experiences of UM runners. Phenomenological interviews were conducted with 26 participants ranging in age from 32 to 67 years (M = 44.1 yrs, SD = 8.1). Qualitative analysis of the interview data identified meaning units, which were grouped into major themes. A final thematic structure revealed five major themes that characterized the participant’s experience of UM running: preparation and strategy, management, discovery, personal achievement, and community. Taken together, the present results extend previous research on UM running and provide a number of suggestions for sport psychology consultants working with UM runners.

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Phillip G. Post, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, Joao A. C. Barros and J. D. Kulpa

Allowing self-control over various modes of instructional support has been shown to facilitate motor learning. Most research has examined factors that directly altered task-relevant information on a trial-to-trial basis (e.g., feedback). Recent research suggests that self-control (SC) effects extend to the manipulation of other types of factors (e.g., total number of practice trials completed). This research also illustrated that learners sometimes select a very small amount of practice when given latitude to do so. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of SC practice within a fixed time period on the learning of a basketball set shot. SC participants chose when to attempt each shot within two 15-min practice sessions, thereby controlling both the total number of shots taken and the spacing of shots. Yoked participants completed the same number of shots as their SC counterparts. Spacing of shots was also matched across groups. The SC group was more accurate and had higher form scores and longer preshot times during retention. These findings provided additional support for the generalizability of SC effects and extended prior research, showing that autonomy over total practice duration was not a prerequisite for the observed effects.