Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2005) 04, 543 - 549

Research article
A Comparison of Mental Strategies During Athletic Skills Performance
Eugenio A. Peluso , Michael J. Ross, Jeffrey D. Gfeller, Donna J. LaVoie
Author Information
Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Eugenio A. Peluso
✉ Neuropsychology Resident, West Virginia University School of Medicine, 930 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
Email: ginopeluso@hotmail.com
Publish Date
Received: 26-08-2005
Accepted: 13-10-2005
Published (online): 01-12-2005
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ABSTRACT

The current study examined the effects of performance enhancement techniques (PET’s) on motor skill performance. Specifically, one hundred fifty college student volunteers (Men = 41; 27.3% and Women = 109; 72.6%) were randomly assigned to one of the nine conditions (Cond): Cond 1 and 2, simultaneous, externally verbalized self-talk or imagery (e.g., participants were instructed to say “aim, back, birdie ”or engaged in imagery out loud while putting); Cond 3 and 4, delayed externally verbalized self-talk or imagery (e.g., participants were instructed to say “aim, back, birdie ”or engaged in imagery out loud before putting); Cond 5 and 6, simultaneous, internally verbalized self-talk or imagery (e.g., participants were instructed to say “aim, back, birdie ”or engaged in imagery silently to oneself while putting); Cond 7 and 8, delayed internally verbalized (e.g., participant were instructed to say “aim, back, birdie ”or engaged in imagery silently to oneself before putting); and Cond 9, no instruction control group. All participants were asked to perform a golf-putting task. Results indicated that participants who implemented several (PET’s) increased their putting accuracy across overall difference score evaluations F (8, 141) = 4.01, p < 0.05 when compared to a no instruction control condition. Follow-up analyses indicated that participants who reportedly engaged in ten hours or less of athletic activities per week preferred self-talk strategies F (2, 119) = 4.38, p < 0.05 whereas participants who endorsed ten hours or more of athletic activity per week preferred imagery strategies F (2, 25) = 5.27, p < 0.05.

Key words: Sport psychology, performance enhancement techniques, self-talk, arousal regulation, mental imagery, attention


           Key Points
  • Mental imagery and self-talk strategies are implemented by athletes in order to regulate arousal, reduce maladaptive behaviors, reconstruct negative thoughts, and to increase one’s concentration and focus.
  • Results of the current study suggest that participants who engaged in several performance enhancement techniques exhibited enhanced performance on a golf putting task when compared to participants in a control condition.
  • Participants who endorsed limited athletic familiarity and activity (e.g., ten hours or less) preferred self-talk practice whereas participants who endorsed higher ratings scores of athletic familiarity and activity (e.g., ten hours or more) preferred imagery strategies.
  • The results of this study demonstrate the flexibility of Performance Enhancement Techniques (e.g., imagery v. self-talk, internal v. external, simultaneous v. delayed) and how they can be implemented to help an athlete reach his or her full potential.
 
 
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