TYPE OF IMAGERY USED BY ATHLETES AT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Vadocz, E. A., Hall, C. R., & Moritz, S. E. (1997). The relationship between competitive anxiety and imagery use. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 241-253.
Th relationships between imagery use, imagery ability, competitive anxiety, and performance were explored to assess the contention that imagery can be part of an effective strategy for controlling levels of competitive anxiety. Junior North American Roller Skating Championship competitors (N = 57) served as Ss.
High imagery ability was associated with higher imagery use. Self-confidence and kinesthetic imagery were most associated with the performance classification (medallists versus non-medallists) of the skaters.
Implications. The paper contained several practical explanations that are summarized below. These items suggest appropriate content for imagery before competitions or serious practice efforts.
- Motivation General - Arousal imagery was related to levels of cognitive anxiety. Athletes having difficulty getting motivated for competition might use this form of arousal to "psyche-up" appropriately.
- Motivation General - Mastery was associated with higher levels of self-confidence. Athletes who more often imaged themselves being in control in difficult situations and/or being mentally tough were also more self-confident. It was interesting to note this form of imagery and not Cognitive Specific imagery (e.g., rehearsal of successful skills) was the imagery related to self-confidence. This does not indicate Cognitive Specific imagery is not useful for it is likely to have other beneficial functions.
- Higher ranked athletes were less worried about an upcoming competition.
- Athletes higher in kinesthetic imagery ability reported using Cognitive Specific and Motivation General - Mastery imagery.
- It appears that before competitions successful elite athletes use motivation imagery the most, possibly to maintain a positive disposition (e.g., self-confidence and facilitatory competitive state anxiety (excitedness)) towards the impending competitive demands.
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