Lee, A. B., & Hewitt, J. (1987). Using visual imagery in a flotation tank to improve gymnastic performance and reduce physical symptoms. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 18, 223-230.

Female gymnasts (N = 36; aged 9-17 yr), who were high or low in "facilitating anxiety" [roughly equivalent to competitive excitement] and classified as either beginning or intermediate in competitive performance skill, were assigned to one of three treatment conditions: visual imagery practiced while on a mat, visual imagery practiced in a flotation tank, or control. Performance scores averaged across three state-qualifying meets and responses to a physical symptoms checklist served as the dependent variables.

Performance scores were highest and physical symptoms lowest when Ss practiced visual imagery in a flotation tank. There was no difference between the control and imagery on the mat conditions. High facilitating anxiety was associated with both greater performance scores and higher scores on the physical symptoms checklist.

Implication. Flotation tank imagery assisted gymnasts to score higher in competitions than did a group of gymnasts who performed imagery on a mat or who performed no imagery.

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