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Stefanos Perkos, Yannis Theodorakis and Stiliani Chroni

This study examined the effectiveness of instructional self-talk on acquiring and performing three basketball skills (dribbling, passing, and shooting). Sixty-two young, novice players were organized into two groups. The experimental group accompanied the practice of three specific drills with self-talk. The control group performed the same drills traditionally. Six assessment sessions were completed. Repeated measures MANOVAs showed that experimental group participants performed better than their control group counterparts when dribbling and passing. Experimental group participants and their coaches reported using self-talk more when passing and dribbling and less when shooting. In addition, experimental group participants achieved significantly better dribbling and passing scores (p < .05) between assessment sessions. These results support instructional self-talk as an effective tool for skill acquisition and performance enhancement of skills low in complexity.

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Yannis Theodorakis, Robert Weinberg, Petros Natsis, Irini Douma and Panagiotis Kazakas

This study examined the effectiveness of different self-talk strategies on increasing performance in different motor tasks. Specifically, four laboratory experiments were conducted to examine the effect of motivational versus instructional self-talk strategies on four different tasks. Included in the experiments were a soccer accuracy lest, a badminton service test, a sit up test, and a knee extension task on an isokinetic dynamometer. Results of the first two experiments indicated that only the participants of the instructional group improved their performance significantly more than the motivational and control groups. Results of the third experiment indicated no significant differences between the three groups, although all groups showed improvements across trials. Results of the fourth experiment showed a significant improvement for both the motivational and instructional groups compared to the control group. It appears that when the task requires fine motor movements, an instructional self-talk strategy is more effective, whereas when the task requires predominantly strength and endurance, both motivational and instructional strategies are effective.

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Behrouz Abdoli, James Hardy, Javad F. Riyahi and Alireza Farsi

) hypothesized that instructional self-talk (e.g., “ball … step … swing”) to be more effective than motivational self-talk (e.g., “I can do this”) for precision and outcome-based motor skills. The opposite was expected for motor skills requiring strength and endurance due to the psychophysiological (e.g., mood

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Alexander T. Latinjak, Marc Masó and Nikos Comoutos

-directed self-talk is used by athletes (e.g., Theodorakis, Hatzigeorgiadis, & Chroni, 2008 ). Basically, a major distinction was made between motivational and instructional self-talk ( Theodorakis et al., 2000 ). With regard to specific motivational functions, self-talk can help to regulate effort, psych up

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Lorraine Wilson, Allen Cornelius and Britton W. Brewer

task being performed. That is, when instructional self-talk (e.g., statements related to attentional focus and technical information) is matched with tasks requiring fine motor movements and when motivational self-talk (e.g., statements related to building confidence, effort, and positive moods) is

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Alexander T. Latinjak, Miguel Torregrosa and Jordi Renom

The main purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a strategy that combined self talk and performance feedback. Therefore, three groups of adult tennis players performed a forehand groundstroke task. The first group (n = 16) applied an instructional self talk and self feedback combination, the second (n = 16) used regular instructional self talk, and the third (n = 16) performed without any specific aid. The hypothesis was that the performance and concentration scores of both self talk groups would improve from the pretest to the posttest, while the scores from the control group would remain unchanged. The analysis of variance with repeated measures confirmed this hypothesis. Further, the players who used self feedback perceived the effectiveness of their intervention to be significantly higher compared with the other intervention group. Overall, the combination of self talk and feedback seems to be an alternative to the original instructional self talk intervention.

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Nikos Zourbanos, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Dimitris Bardas and Yannis Theodorakis

The present study examined the effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on handball performance using a novel task (nondominant arm) and a learned task (dominant arm) in primary school students. Participants were randomly assigned into two experimental groups (instructional and motivational) and one control group. The results revealed that for both tasks instructional and motivational self-talk groups improved their performance significantly in comparison with the control group and that for the nondominant arm instructional self-talk had a larger effect compared with motivational self-talk. The results suggest that instructional self-talk in the form of external focused cues may be more beneficial in the early stages of learning.

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Flora Panteli, Charilaos Tsolakis, Dimitris Efthimiou and Athanasia Smirniotou

This study examined the contribution of instructional self-talk and observational learning on the development of long jump technique. Sixty-nine beginner athletes were randomly assigned to four groups: ‘self-talk’, ‘video’, ‘self-talk + video’ and control group. All groups performed 24 practice sessions, consisting of a cognitive intervention program in the form of either instructional self-talk or observational learning, or a combination of both, and the practice of specific drills. A significantly higher performance improvement was recorded for the self-talk group in post test, whereas when kinematic variables of the motor skill (center of mass displacement) were assessed, “observational learning” proved to be more effective. The findings of the current study suggest that young, beginner athletes, participating in complicated tasks, may benefit from cognitive intervention techniques, through enhanced attentional focus on the most critical elements of the motor skill.

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Britton W. Brewer and Stephen J. Hatten

Although a number of studies have demonstrated the effects of self-talk on sport performance, the research literature on the antecedents of self-talk in competitive sport is sparse. The purpose of this study was to examine both the antecedents and the consequences of self-talk during competitive tennis performance. Eighteen adult tournament players were observed during United States Tennis Association–sanctioned matches. Players’ audible self-talk, observable gestures, and tennis scores were recorded using the Self-Talk and Gestures Rating Scale (Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994b). Results indicated that all players used observable self-talk and gestures during their matches. Furthermore, for all players, match circumstances (e.g., point outcome, serving status) predicted the use of negative self-talk. Positive and instructional self-talk were predicted by match circumstances for some players. The results suggest that match circumstances contribute to the generation of self-talk and provide useful information for researchers interested in better understanding the antecedents of self-talk.

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Ruth Brennan Morrey, Allen E. Cornelius and Britton W. Brewer

Much of the research on self-talk in sport has focused on the effects of assigned self-talk (e.g., instructional self-talk, motivational self-talk) on the performance of laboratory tasks and/or tasks of short duration (Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Galanis, & Theodorakis, 2011; Tod, Hardy, & Oliver, 2011). The purpose of this study was to explore more fully the self-talk of athletes involved in competition over an extended period of time. Marathon runners (N = 483) were surveyed. The majority (88%) of runners, those who indicated that they use self-talk during marathons, completed open-ended items describing their self-talk while competing. Runners reported using a rich variety of motivational self-talk as well as spiritual self-talk and mantras, types of self-talk less widely studied in the literature. Given the findings of this research, future studies exploring self-talk use during competition in sporting events of long duration seems warranted.