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Matthew A. Pain, Chris Harwood and Rich Anderson

This article describes an intervention on the precompetition routines of soccer players during a 19-week phase of a competitive season. Specifically, we worked with players to develop an enhanced understanding of the effectiveness of personalized preperformance music and imagery scripts in facilitating flow states and performance. Five male players (M age = 20.5; S.D = 1.6) participated in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design with multiple treatments and without reversal. Following a preintervention phase, participants undertook the intervention during their prematch warm-up. Flow and perceived performance were assessed immediately after each match. Results indicated that asynchronous music and MG-M imagery when combined had a facilitative effect on flow and perceived performance. Postexperimental player comments supported these findings and suggest that the intervention strategy has great potential for athletes during precompetition. Consultancy guidelines for the use of music and imagery within competitive soccer are presented in the discussion.

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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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Bruce D. Hale and Adam Whitehouse

This study attempted to manipulate an athlete’s facilitative or debilitative appraisal (direction; Jones, 1995) of competitive anxiety through imagery-based interventions in order to study the effects on subsequent anxiety intensity (heart rate and CSAI-2) and direction (CSAI-2D; Jones & Swain, 1992). In a within-subjects’ design, 24 experienced soccer players were relaxed via progressive relaxation audiotape and then randomly underwent an imagery-based video- and audiotaped manipulation of their appraisal of taking a hypothetical gamewinning penalty kick under either a “pressure” or “challenge” appraisal emphasis. There was no significant effect for heart rate. A repeated measures MANOVA for CSAI-2 and CSAI-2D scores revealed that for both intensity and direction scores the challenge condition produced less cognitive anxiety, less somatic anxiety, and more self-confidence (all p < .001) than the pressure situation. This finding suggests that a challenge appraisal manipulation taught by applied sport psychologists might benefit athletes’ performance.

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Gail Kendall, Dennis Hrycaiko, Garry L. Martin and Tom Kendall

This study investigated the effects of an imagery rehearsal, relaxation, and self-talk package on the performance of a specific defensive basketball skill during competition. Subjects were four female intercollegiate basketball players. A single-subject multiple-baseline-across-individuals design was employed to evaluate the intervention package. The intervention was clearly effective in enhancing a basketball skill during games, and social validity measures were very positive. The need for further research in this area is discussed.

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Lynn Dale Housner

Subjects (N = 29) classified as high or low visual imagers (highs and lows, respectively) viewed and reproduced six filmed examples of motoric stimuli constructed by combining a variety of leg, trunk, arm, and head movements. The motor stimuli represented three levels of complexity (4, 7, and 10 components) and two levels of orientation (model facing subject or facing away). Highs and lows were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups: (a) one viewing of the stimuli, or (b) two viewings of the stimuli. The experimental design was a 2×2×2× 3 (imagery ability x viewings X orientation x complexity) factorial with repeated measures on the third and fourth factors. Analysis of the data revealed significant main effects for imagery ability, F(l,25) = 6.41, p < .018, where highs reproduced the stimuli with less error than lows, and viewings, F(l,25) = 25.58, p < .001, where two viewings resulted in less recall error than one viewing. Also, the orientation by complexity interaction was found to be significant, F(2,50) = 25.51, p < .001, and indicated that recall accuracy was best when the model was facing away, but only for movement sequences of seven components. The findings suggest that visual imagery may play a role in the recall of modeled motoric stimuli.

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Martha L. Epstein

This study examined the relationship of internal and external imaginal rehearsal and imaginal style to skilled motor behavior. Dart throwing was used as the dependent measure of physical performance. All subjects were randomly assigned to a control group, an internal mental rehearsal group, or an external mental rehearsal group. After assessing baseline performance, subjects were instructed to mentally rehearse before throwing sets of three darts. Control subjects were given a distracting task prior to throws. The results showed a slight, negative relation between spontaneous external imagery and physical performance. The mental rehearsal factor, however, was not significant. Males significantly outperformed females, and imagery groups had more variability in improvement scores than the control group for women but not for men. It was proposed that females' lower dart-throwing ability may have caused mental practice to be distracting for some subjects, and thus increased improvement variability in the mental rehearsal group. Conclusions regarding the concept of imaginal style as well as the negative relation between motor performance and the propensity to use external imagery were offered.

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Stephen J. Page, Wesley Sime and Kelly Nordell

Some athletes perceive competitive anxiety as negative and detrimental to performance while it invigorates and excites others. Since perceptions of anxiety impact motor performance, it is important to develop techniques by which perceptions can be modified. The aims of this study were to determine the efficacy of a single imagery session in: (a) modifying perceptions of anxiety from negative to positive, and (b) reducing precompetitive state anxiety levels. Using a switched replication design, Murray’s (1989) Competitive Anxiety Perception Scale (CAPS) and the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990) were administered to 40 female intercollegiate swimmers weekly over the course of 5 weeks. Following random exposure to imagery, nonsignificant changes on the scales of the CSAI-2 (cognitive [F{1, 39} = .30, p > .05], somatic [F{1, 39} = 0.72, p > .05], self-confidence [F{1, 39} = 2.93, p > .05]), and significant improvements on the CAPS as positive (F[1, 39] = 19.60, p < .01) were observed. Results suggest that perceptions of anxiety may be modified by imagery, which could aid performance.

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Bart S. Lerner, Andrew C. Ostrow, Michael T. Yura and Edward F. Etzel

The purposes of this study were to investigate the effects of goal-setting and imagery programs, as well as a combined goal-setting and imagery training program, on the free-throw performance among female collegiate basketball players over the course of an entire season. A multiple-baseline, single-subject A-B-A design was employed in which participants were randomly assigned to one of three interventions: (a) goal-setting (n = 4), (b) imagery (n = 4), or (c) goal-setting and imagery (n = 4). Free-throw data were collected during practice sessions. Data were examined by way of changes in mean, level, trend, latency, and variability between baseline and intervention, and then between intervention and a second baseline phase. Three participants in the goal-setting program, and one participant in the goal-setting and imagery program, increased their mean free-throw performance from baseline to intervention. However, three participants in the imagery program decreased their mean free-throw performance from baseline to intervention. Goal discrepancy scores also were investigated. A positive correlation was found between participants’ free-throw performance and personal goals.

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Bang Hyun Kim, Roberta A. Newton, Michael L. Sachs, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr. and Joseph J. Glutting

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-wk intervention that used guided relaxation and exercise imagery (GREI) to increase self-reported leisure-time exercise behavior among older adults. A total of 93 community-dwelling healthy older adults (age 70.38 ± 8.15 yr, 66 female) were randomly placed in either a placebo control group or an intervention group. The intervention group received instructions to listen to an audio compact disk (CD) containing a GREI program, and the placebo control group received an audio CD that contained 2 relaxation tracks and instructions to listen to music of their choice for 6 wk. Results revealed that listening to a GREI CD for 6 wk significantly increased self-reported leisure-time exercise behaviors (p = .03). Further exploration of GREI and its effects on other psychological variables related to perceived exercise behaviors may substantiate its effectiveness.

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Eva V. Monsma