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Robert S. Weinberg, Thomas G. Seabourne, and Allen Jackson

The present investigation attempted to determine whether imagery combined with relaxation (VMBR) is more effective in facilitating karate performance than either imagery or relaxation alone. Each subject (N = 32) was randomly assigned to either a VMBR, relaxation, imagery, or attention-placebo control condition in a one-way design. During the first day of the karate class (which met twice a week), each group was individually provided with an explanation of how to practice their assigned strategy at home. Trait anxiety tests were administered at the beginning and the end of the 6-week test period. In addition, performance tests were administered at the end of the testing period along with precompetitive state anxiety. Trait anxiety results indicated that all subjects displayed a reduction in trait anxiety over the course of the testing period. State anxiety results indicated that the VMBR and relaxation groups exhibited lower levels of state anxiety than the imagery and attention-control groups. Performance was broken down into three subareas which consisted of skill, combinations, and sparring (actual competition). Results only showed an effect for sparring, with VMBR group exhibiting better performance than all other groups.

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Thomas G. Seabourne, Robert S. Weinberg, Allen Jackson, and Richard M. Suinn

The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the effectiveness of different types of mental intervention procedures on karate performance. Subjects were 43 male volunteer students enrolled in self-defense classes at a university. They were randomly assigned to one of five conditions: individualized, nonindividualized, package, placebo control, and control. Karate performance evaluations (i.e., skill, combinations, sparring) were administered during the 5th (baseline), 10th, and 15th weeks of classes. All experimental groups received handouts, mini-strategies, manipulation checks, and interviews to aid them in their practice and training of their mental strategies. Thus, over the 10-week period, subjects spent a minimum of 17 hours practicing their cognitive strategies. Data were analyzed by a series of 5 x 2 (treatment X trials) multivariate analyses of variance. Results indicated that the individualized and package groups performed significantly better than all other groups on the karate performance measures of combinations and sparring. No other between-group differences were found. These results are supported by previous research (e.g., Kirschenbaum & Bale, 1980; Silva, 1982) which demonstrates the effectiveness of individualized and packaged intervention strategies in enhancing performance. Additional well controlled intervention studies are imperative before definitive statements can be put forth.