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Jeffrey S. Hird, Daniel M. Landers, Jerry R. Thomas and John J. Horan

This study compared varying ratios of physical to mental practice on cognitive (pegboard) and motor (pursuit rotor) task performance. Subjects (36 males and 36 females) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions experiencing different amounts of combined mental and physical practice. Seven practice sessions (four trials per session for the pegboard and eight trials per session for the pursuit rotor) were employed. ANOVA results showed that all treatment conditions, except the pegboard control group, showed significant differential pre- to posttest improvement. Furthermore, effect sizes and significant linear trends of posttest scores from both tasks showed that as the relative proportion of physical practice increased, performance was enhanced. In support of previous meta-analytic research, for all treatment groups, the effect sizes for the cognitive task were larger than for the motor task. These findings are consistent with the symbolic-learning theory explanation for mental-practice effects. In addition, the results indicate that replacing physical practice with any mental practice would be counterproductive.

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Mark H. Anshel and Craig A. Wrisberg

In the present study an attempt was made to determine the relative effectiveness of various warm-up activities in eliminating postrest warm-up decrement (WUD) in the tennis serve. Seventy highly-skilled players hit 20 serves, rested for either 5 or 15 min, and then attempted 4 final serves. During the last 2 min of the rest period, players continued to rest, ran in place, engaged in mental imagery, performed practice swings, or repeatedly hit the ball against the ground and caught it. In addition to estimates of serving accuracy, measures of somatic and cognitive arousal were obtained at the beginning and end of the rest interval. Multiple regression procedures revealed that reductions in WUD were significantly related to the restoration of prerest arousal levels. Between-group comparisons indicated that practice swings were the most effective warm-up activity for restoring somatic and cognitive arousal to prerest levels and for eliminating WUD. Theoretical discussion centered on possible applications of Nacson and Schmidt's (1971) activity-set hypothesis to the tennis serve.

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Edward Hebert

correct (or expert) model, one who demonstrates the desired movement pattern. The general idea is that the model provides information about how to produce an effective movement, and learners use the information gained to organize and evaluate their own actions during subsequent physical practice. As a

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Cornelia Frank, Taeho Kim and Thomas Schack

Learning a motor action comes as a result of practice. Motor actions can be practiced in a variety of ways: practicing a motor action by overt execution (i.e., physical practice) or practicing a motor action covertly, without any overt execution (i.e., mental practice). The two most common forms of

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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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Steven G. Zecker

Although mental practice has often been demonstrated to result in improved learning of a motor skill, theoretical accounts of the reasons for this improvement are lacking. The present experiment examined the role of knowledge of results (KR) in motor skill learning, because KR is believed to be crucial to such learning, yet is lacking during mental practice. Subjects in four conditions (mental practice, physical practice, physical practice without KR, and control), tossed beanbags at a target. Results showed that of the four conditions, mental practice showed the largest performance increment, whereas physical practice showed a decrement attributed to massed practice without adequate rest periods. Results suggest that (a) knowledge of results is not always essential for improved performance; (b) mental practice is most beneficial following sufficient experience with the task; and (c) mental practice may be best suited for a massed practice learning situation.

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Pascal Legrain, Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville and Christophe Gernigon

This study examined the potential benefits of a peer tutoring program for tutors in a physical learning setting. Gender differences were also explored. Thirty-two college-age males and females identified as novices in a French boxing task were assigned in a 2 × 2, Gender × Training Type: Physical Practice (PP) versus Physical Practice associated with Peer Tutoring (PT) factorial design. All the participants were given six 2-hr French boxing lessons. The PT program included 6 min of peer coaching per lesson. Results indicated that the PT program entailed higher scores in boxing performance form, selfefficacy, interest-enjoyment, and personally controllable causal attributions and lower scores in tension-pressure. Males reported more certain expectancies and displayed higher performance outcomes than did females. Results are discussed in relation to the educational psychology literature.

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William F. Straub

This study was designed to (a) determine whether three frequently used mental skills training programs enhance dart throwing performance beyond that obtained by physical practice and a no-practice control, (b) compare the relative effectiveness of the three methods of mental training programs, and (c) determine if these programs differentially affect subjects who were initially of high or low skill. The subjects (N=75) were college-age men and women who were matched between conditions on ability level. In addition to the three MT groups, there was one physical practice (PP) and one control group (C). The three methods of MT included Bennett and Pravitz’ (1982, 1987), Gauron’s (1984), and Unestahl’s (1983b) packaged programs. Significant group differences were found in posttest dart throwing performance; in particular, subjects receiving the Bennett and Pravitz and Unestahl MT differed from the control group. It was concluded that Bennett and Pravitz and Unestahl packaged programs were effective since they significantly differed from the control and equaled the performance of the PP group, despite receiving substantially less physical practice.

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E. Dean Ryan and Jeff Simons

To investigate the mental imagery aspect of mental rehearsal, 80 male traffic officers from the California Highway Patrol learned a novel balancing task during a single session. Based on a pretest questionnaire, subjects were categorized as imagers, nonimagers, or occasional imagers and assigned to one of six groups accordingly: imagers asked to use imagery in mental rehearsal, imagers asked to try not to use imagery, nonimagers asked not to use imagery, nonimagers asked to try to use imagery, physical practice, or no practice. It was hypothesized that a person's preferred cognitive style would prove most effective for use in mental rehearsal and that using another style would cause a decrement in learning. Improvement scores indicated no differences between subjects who initially reported typically using imagery and those reported typically not using it, but groups asked to use imagery in mental rehearsal were superior to those asked not to (p<.001). Overall, physical practice was better than the grouped mental rehearsal conditions, and both were better than no practice. Subjects reporting strong visual imagery were superior to those with weak visual images (p<.03), and those reporting strong kinesthetic imagery were superior to those with weak kinesthetic images (p<.03). Regardless of one's typical cognitive style, the use of vivid imagery appears quite important for enhancement of motor performance through mental rehearsal.

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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.