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Paul R. Surburg, David L. Porretta and Vins Sutlive

The purpose of this study was to examine the role of imagery practice as supplementary practice in the performance of a throwing task. A secondary purpose was to ascertain if different cognitive demands of a motor task affected the use of this supplementary practice. Forty adolescents with mild mental retardation were randomly assigned to the following groups: low cognitive loading-physical practice, low cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice, high cognitive loading-physical practice, high cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice. Subjects engaged in seven practice sessions during which performance scores of a throwing task were recorded. Groups supplemented with imagery practice were superior in performance to nonimagery groups. A higher cognitive loading of the task did not enhance the use of this type of supplementary practice more than a lower loading. The results of this study reflect the efficacy of imagery practice as a means to improve motor performance of students with mild mental retardation.

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Jennifer E. Carter and Anita E. Kelly

This study explored the moderating effect of psychological reactance on the success of traditional and paradoxical mental imagery treatments that were aimed at reducing anxiety in athletes. Intramural college basketball players (N = 73) were recruited through advertisements for a free-throw contest, and their anxiety and free-throw performance were measured following treatment in one of three groups: confidence imagery, paradoxical imagery, or control. As predicted, in the paradoxical condition, high-reactant athletes reported having significantly lower somatic state anxiety and significantly higher state self-confidence than did low-reactant athletes. In contrast, high- and low-reactant athletes did not differ in their anxiety scores in both the confidence imagery and control conditions. Results suggested that reactance does moderate the effect of the success of traditional and paradoxical imagery treatments for reducing athletes’ anxiety.

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Ross Roberts, Nichola Callow, Lew Hardy, David Markland and Joy Bringer

The purpose of this research was to amend the Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire (VMIQ; Isaac, Marks, & Russell, 1986) in line with contemporary imagery modality and perspective conceptualizations, and to test the validity of the amended questionnaire (i.e., the VMIQ-2). Study 1 had 351 athletes complete the 3-factor (internal visual imagery, external visual imagery, and kinesthetic imagery) 24-item VMIQ-2. Following single-factor confirmatory factor analyses and item deletion, a 12-item version was subject to correlated traits / correlated uniqueness (CTCU) analysis. An acceptable fit was revealed. Study 2 used a different sample of 355 athletes. The CTCU analysis confirmed the factorial validity of the 12-item VMIQ-2. In Study 3, the concurrent and construct validity of the VMIQ-2 was supported. Taken together, the results of the 3 studies provide preliminary support for the revised VMIQ-2 as a psychometrically valid questionnaire.

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Johanna Newsom, Peter Knight and Ronald Balnave

Objective:

To assess whether mental imagery of gripping prevents the loss of grip strength associated with forearm immobilization.

Design:

Pretest–posttest randomized-group design.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

13 female and 5 male university students, age between 17 and 30 years, randomly assigned into 2 groups—1 control and 1 experimental.

Interventions:

Both groups had their nondominant forearms immobilized for 10 days. The experimental group undertook three 5-min mental-imagery sessions daily, during which they imagined they were squeezing a rubber ball.

Main Outcome Measures:

Wrist-flexion and -extension and grip strength before and after immobilization.

Results:

There was no significant change in wrist-flexion or -extension strength in the mental-imagery group. The control group experienced a significant decrease in wrist-flexion and -extension strength during the period of immobilization (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Despite study limitations, the results suggest that mental imagery might be useful in preventing the strength loss associated with short-term muscle immobilization

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Stefan Koehn, Tony Morris and Anthony P. Watt

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an imagery intervention for enhancing the experience of flow state and performance in junior athletes. On the basis of previous results, a tailored imagery script was developed to target critical flow dimensions, namely challenge-skills balance, clear goals, concentration on the task, and sense of control. It was hypothesized that the use of cognitive and motivational imagery would increase specific flow dimensions, which, in turn, would enhance flow state and competition performance. Participants in a single-case, multiple baseline A-B design study were four nationally ranked athletes. Following a 6-week baseline phase monitoring flow state and performance and a 6-week intervention phase using relaxation in conjunction with imagery techniques, three participants showed a sustained increase in flow experiences, and all four participants improved their service performance, groundstroke performance, and ranking-list position.

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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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Jennifer L. Cumming and Diane M. Ste-Marie

The primary purpose of this study was to use synchronized skaters to examine the influence of imagery perspective on the cognitive and motivational functions of imagery during a five-week imagery training program. To this end, 16 novice synchronized skaters participated in an imagery intervention that incorporated both cognitive and motivational imagery. The Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ: Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998) was used to assess changes in the skaters’ use of cognitive and motivational images as a result of the training program. The results of a MANOVA indicated that skaters increased their use of cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery, regardless of their preferred imagery perspective. Furthermore, neither group showed changes in their use of imagery for motivational functions. The findings are discussed within the context of Hardy’s (1997) proposal that a particular imagery perspective is beneficial for the learning and performance of motor skills if it provides visual information that is otherwise not available to the performer.

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Caroline Wakefield and Dave Smith

Imagery is one of the most widely-researched topics in sport psychology. Recent research has been focused on how imagery works and how to apply it to have the greatest possible performance effect. However, the amount of imagery needed to produce optimal effects has been under-researched, particularly in relation to the PETTLEP model of imagery (Holmes & Collins, 2001). This study examined the effects of differing frequencies of PETTLEP imagery on bicep curl performance, using a single-case design. Following a baseline period, participants completed PETTLEP imagery 1×/week, 2×/week, or 3×/week in a counterbalanced pattern. Results indicated that PETTLEP imagery had a positive effect on performance. In addition, as the frequency of imagery increased, a larger performance effect was apparent. These results support the notion that PETTLEP imagery can lead to strength gains if performed at least 1× per week, but that completing imagery more frequently may be more effective.

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Dave Smith and Paul Holmes

This study examined the effect of various imagery modalities on golf putting performance. Forty experienced male golfers were randomly assigned to one of four groups. A “written script” group received a personalized, response proposition-laden script. Participants in the audio and video groups either listened to an audiotape or watched an internal-perspective videotape of themselves putting. Control participants spent an equivalent amount of time reading golf literature. Each participant completed a 15-ball putting task twice a week for 6 weeks and also performed his imagery or reading daily during this period. Pretests revealed no significant differences in performance. Posttests, however, showed that the video and audio groups performed significantly better than the written script and control groups. This indicates that the form in which an imagery intervention is delivered can have a significant impact on its performance effectiveness.

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Lance B. Green

The purpose of this treatise is to provide an educational text that (a) cites existing literature supporting a mind-body paradigm for rehabilitation from psychophysiological and psychomotor perspectives, (b) demonstrates the application of imagery techniques within the chronology of an athletic injury, and (c) describes the performance-related criteria to which an athlete can compare his or her progress during rehabilitation. The chronology includes the period of time preceding the injury, the attention given to the athlete immediately following the injury, and the subsequent rehabilitation program leading to the athlete’s return to practice and competition. Examples of imagery experientials are used to illustrate its application throughout the chronology.