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Jenny O and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler

The current study tested the timing element of the PETTLEP approach to motor imagery (Holmes & Collins, 2001) by examining the effects of 3 imagery conditions on the performance of a soccer dribbling task. The imagery conditions were also compared with physical-practice and control-group performance. Ninety-seven participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 conditions: real-time imagery, slow-motion imagery, slow motion concluded with real-time imagery, physical practice, or control. Results indicated that all 4 experimental groups significantly improved time and error performance to the same degree after the intervention. The control group significantly improved time but not error performance from pre- to post-intervention. The results of the current study provide inconclusive findings related to the timing element of the PETTLEP approach to motor imagery, however, and do suggest that slow motion might be a viable imagery characteristic. Limitations regarding the examination of slow-motion imagery, possible implications of its use, and suggestions for future image-speed research are discussed.

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Patrick R. Thomas and Gerard J. Fogarty

Individual differences in cognitive preferences were examined in analyzing the effects of imagery and self-talk training on the psychological skills and performance levels of amateur golfers. Thirty-two men and women participated in a series of four counterbalanced training workshops and activities conducted over 2 months at two golf clubs. A repeated measures MANOVA revealed significant improvement on five psychological and psychomotor skills measured by the Golf Performance Survey: negative emotions and cognitions, mental preparation, automaticity, putting skill, and seeking improvement. Participants’ responses to the Sport Imagery Questionnaire and ratings of their imagery and self-talk techniques increased significantly after training. Players also lowered their handicaps and performed significantly better on a Golf Skills Test after training. Imagery and self-talk training benefits were not linked to participants’ cognitive preferences. The cognitive flexibility displayed by these golfers signals the need for more research on processing preferences and has implications for practitioners working with athletes.

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Christina Lee

There is a shortage of evidence regarding exactly how mental imagery works to enhance performance. This study sought to determine whether it is the imagining of the task that is crucial or simply the positive aspects of a mental image. In the first experiment, 52 male students used task relevant imagery, task irrelevant imagery, or a distraction control procedure before performing an analogue task. Those in the task relevant condition showed significantly greater improvements over baseline. The second experiment involved 142 male students and included assessment of mood state following psyching up. Again the task relevant group showed significantly greater improvements, which were not related to mood states. These findings suggest that the specific content of mental imagery is crucial in determining its effect on performance. The effect does not appear to depend on alterations of mood state and may operate through cognitive preparation.

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Robert L. Woolfolk, Shane M. Murphy, David Gottesfeld and David Aitken

An investigation was carried out concerning the effect of imagery instructions on a simple motor skill accuracy task (putting a golf ball). Male college students (N = 50) were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions in a design that allowed the presence or absence of mental rehearsal of the physical movements involved in the task to be completely crossed with the imaginal depiction of task outcome (successful, unsuccessful, or no outcome component). A significant outcome by trials interaction was found on task performance. This finding reflected the degradation of performance in the conditions employing negative outcome imagery rather than any enhancement of performance by positive outcome imagery. Self-efficacy was found to be correlated with performance, but this association seemed to be a by-product of the strong relationships between these variables and performance on the previous trial. Results are discussed in relation to the existing literature, and future research directions are delineated.

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Britton W. Brewer, Karin E. Jeffers, Albert J. Petitpas and Judy L. Van Raalte

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate perceptions of three different psychological interventions in the context of sport injury rehabilitation. In Experiment 1, college students (N = 161) rated their perceptions of goal setting, imagery, or counseling as an adjunct to physical therapy for a hypothetical injured athlete. In Experiment 2, injured athletes (N = 20) received brief introductory sessions of goal setting, imagery, and counseling. Subjects’ perceptions were assessed immediately following each intervention. In both experiments, subjects displayed a preference for goal setting, although positive perceptions were obtained for all three interventions. Females’ perceptions of the interventions were significantly more positive than those of males in Experiment 1, but not in Experiment 2. The findings suggest that goal setting, imagery, and counseling are sufficiently credible to be examined in controlled outcome studies with injured athletes.

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Simon Davies and John D. West

This article familiarizes sport psychologists, counselors, and coaches with the multimodal approach to enhancing the performance of college athletes. The seven modalities of behavior, affect, sensations, imagery, cognitions, interpersonal relations, and biological functioning are examined. An individualized modality profile for a collegiate soccer player with performance problems is generated. Various applied intervention techniques are suggested to facilitate performance enhancement.

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Pamela S. Highlen and Bonnie B. Bennett

Elite wrestlers (n = 39) and divers (n = 44), representing open- and closed-skill sports, respectively, completed a survey assessing psychological factors associated with training and competition. Of particular interest were factors distinguishing qualifiers from nonqualifiers within and between each sport type. Discriminant analyses and t-tests revealed that as expected self-confidence and concentration distinguished qualifiers from nonqualifiers in both sport groups. Also, as predicted, use of imagery differentiated only the qualifying from the nonqualifying divers. Self-talk items also distinguished the two diving groups on more items than they differentiated the wrestlers. However, when all elite divers were compared with their wrestling counterparts, no differences were found for the imagery scale and self-talk frequency, instruction, and praise items. Anticipatory anxiety patterns for divers and wrestlers were different, with successful divers and less successful wrestlers reporting higher precompetition levels of anxiety. During competition nonqualifiers across sport type reported higher anxiety. Implications for a sport-specific typology of psychological characteristics are discussed.

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Fraser Laveay, Coy Callison and Ann Rodriguez

The pervasiveness of media coverage of sports teams with American Indian names and imagery has arguably supported stereotypical beliefs of those referenced. Past research investigating opinions on sports teams using American Indian themes has been inconsistent in findings and drawn criticism for lacking valid samples of Native Americans. Through a survey of National Congress of American Indians leaders (n = 208) and random U.S. adults (n = 484), results reveal that Native Americans are more offended by sports teams employing American Indian imagery, as well as more supportive of change, than is the general public. Investigation of how demographic characteristics influenced perceptions show that although age and education level have little influence, political party affiliation does correlate with opinions, with those voting Democrat viewing the teams with American Indian names, logos, and mascots as most offensive and in need of change.

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Jenelle N. Gilbert, Stephanie D. Moore-Reed and Alexandra M. Clifton

Adolescent athletes can use psychological skills immediately after being taught, but a dearth of empirical evidence exists regarding whether these skills are maintained over time. A 12-week curriculum (i.e., UNIFORM; Gilbert, 2011) was taught to a high school varsity soccer team with three data collection points: pretest, posttest, 4-week follow-up. Use of several skills was significantly greater posttest compared with pretest as measured by the Test of Performance Strategies (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). Follow-up results were also salient. Relaxation, imagery, and self-talk use in practice was significantly greater than pretest at follow-up; relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk in competition showed similar results. Descriptive statistics and qualitative data triangulate these results. The UNIFORM curriculum enabled the athletes to use the skills more consistently. This study makes a contribution by measuring the skills at follow-up and providing evidence of their continued use four weeks after the curriculum’s conclusion.

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Urban Johnson

Objective:

To explore the effectiveness of psychological interventions for a sample of competitive athletes with long-term injuries.

Design:

Modified 2-group, pretreatment and posttreatment (repeated measure).

Patients:

58 patients, 14 in the experimental group and 44 in the control group.

Interventions:

Three intervention strategies: stress management and cognitive control, goal-setting skills, and relaxation/guided imagery.

Main Outcome Measure:

Mood level was used as the outcome variable.

Results:

The experimental group had a higher overall mood level at the midpoint and end of rehabilitation and were also feeling more ready for competition than the control group was, both as rated by themselves and by the treating physiotherapist The only strategy to show statistical differences was relaxation/guided imagery.

Conclusions:

The results of this study support the idea that a short-term intervention has the potential to elevate mood levels in competitive athletes with long-term injuries.