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Athletic Excellence

  1. Imagery Increases Muscle Strength

    Researchers from the Centre of Research and Innovation in Sport, at the University Claude Bernard and the University of Lyon in Villeurbanne, France, examined whether mental imagery (MI) training can increase muscle strength, especially when movements are under the control of large cortical areas in the primary motor cortex. (It has already been well established that it improves motor performance and motor learning.)

    This pilot study experiment assessed whether MI can improve upper and lower limb strength, with complex, multi-joint exercises. 

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  2. Guided Relaxation & Exercise Imagery = A Powerful Combo for Seniors

    Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined the effects of a 6-wk intervention that used guided relaxation and exercise imagery (GREI) to increase self-reported leisure-time exercise behavior among older adults.

    A total of 93 community-dwelling healthy older adults (age 70.38 ± 8.15 yr, 66 female) were randomly placed in either a placebo control group or an intervention group. The intervention group received instructions to listen to an audio compact disk (CD) containing a GREI program, and the placebo control group received an audio CD that contained 2 relaxation tracks and instructions to listen to music of their choice for 6 wk.

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  3. Guided Imagery Helps Chinese Astronauts with Centrifuge Training


    Researchers from the Astronaut Research and Training Center in Beijing, China looked at whether guided imagery can reduce the anxiety and tension that astronauts feel during centrifuge training (designed to improve their tolerance of hypergravity) and which can impede their responses.  This small study measured the impact of guided imagery vs. music on changes in anxiety, heart rate and heart rate variability in 12 healthy young men before, during and after centrifuge training.

    Change in the patterns of anxiety was different in the two groups over the three phases. Anxiety (measured by State Anxiety Inventory) in the GI group changed from 31.7 +/- 5.9 to 26.8 +/- 2.6 and 27.8 +/- 4.1, whereas for the music group this changed from 32.2 +/- 7.6 to 31.2 +/- 8.3 and 26.8 +/- 6.8. 

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  4. Prisoner of War Improves His Game by Golfing in His Head

    This anecdote appeared amid our lively debate last week on using guided imagery downrange, and it’s a great reminder of how imagery gets used on a regular basis by prisoners of war.  People who are trapped in conditions of sensory deprivation invariably turn to imagery - they just intuitively go there. Here is the posting:
     

    “I recall reading an article where a soldier, while a prisoner of war, played golf in his mind.  Each day he played on a different course he remembered. Not only did he survive the trauma of being imprisoned, his golf game was improved when he returned home to the States. I want our soldiers to be the best they can be - but most of all I want them to come back home and be able to lead productive lives.”

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  5. Motor Imagery Improves Stretching and Flexibility

    Researchers from the Centre de Recherche et d'Innovation sur le Sport at the Universite Claude Bernard-Lyon in Cedex, France, were interested in investigating whether imagery can improve stretching and flexibility the way it has been found to enhance learning and motor performance.
     
    They compared flexibility scores in 21 synchronized swimmers before and after a 5-week mental practice program that included five stretching exercises in active and passive conditions.

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  6. Ten-Minute Imagery To Use with Physical Therapy

    Hello! I am a student physical therapist and am working at one of my clinical rotations right now. I have noticed several patients could benefit from guided imagery to help them relax. Do you have any short sessions, between 10-15 minutes? Patients will often have a hot or cold pack, etc for 10-15 minutes and I would love to try a guided imagery session at the same time, since we shut the lights off anyways to help promote relaxation. Thank you for your time.
    Karl

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  7. End State Imagery Helps Nursing Students Learn How to Give IM Injections

    Researchers from the Department of Nursing, Pochon CHA University in Kyonggi-Do, Korea, compared the impact of feeling state guided imagery (FSGI – imagery to generally improve mood) and end state guided imagery (ESGI – imagery to imagine successful performance) on stress levels and quality of performance in nursing students learning to give intramuscular (IM) injections.

    The subjects were 40 female sophomores (21 for the ESGI, 19 for the FSGI). The instruments used were the Visual Analogue Scale for Stress and the Nursing Skill Performance Check-list on Intramuscular Injection, developed by the researchers. Guided imagery was provided through audiotapes for 8 minutes. A pretest was given before applying the guided imagery; the first posttest was taken after the intervention; and the second posttest was taken before the intramuscular injection.  Evaluation of the performance of the intramuscular injection was done immediately afterward. 

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  8. Effects of hypnosis on flow states and golf performance.

    At the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, researchers examined the effects of hypnotic intervention on flow states and golf-chipping performance of 3 participants. The intervention involved teaching the golfers relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and trigger control procedures over 5 weeks and 7 trials. Analysis indicated that the 3 participants increased their mean golf-chipping performance from the trials in Baseline 1 to intervention, with 2 returning to Baseline 1 performance after the intervention phase at Baseline 2. The intensity of flow experienced by the participants during the performance trials was measured using Jackson and Marsh''s 1996 Flow State Scale. Two participants experienced higher flow during the intervention phase and much lower flow during Baselines 1 and 2. Finally, participants reported that the intervention seemed useful in keeping them confident, relaxed, and in control. These results support the hypothesis that relaxation, imagery & hypnosis can improve golf-chipping performance and increase feelings and cognitions associated with flow.

    Citation: Pates J, Maynard I. Effects of hypnosis on flow states and golf performance. Perceptual & Motor Skills. 2000, Dec;91(3 Pt 2): Pages 1057-75.

     

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  9. Imagery effects on the performance of skilled and novice soccer players.

    Researchers at the School of Kinesiology at The University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, investigated the effects of imagery on the soccer playing of both skilled and novice players. An initial assessment of performance on a specific soccer task was undertaken, and then 22 skilled and 22 novice players were randomly assigned to either a control or an experimental group. The experimental group was given a 6-week imagery training program consisting of both visual and kinaesthetic imagery at the soccer task. The subjects attended bi-weekly sessions of approximately 15 min each. The control group developed a competitive strategy that was totally unrelated to the performance task. Similar to the experimental group, the controls did this over a 6-week period, attending bi-weekly sessions of 15 min duration. Two performance measures were recorded--response time (i.e. the time to complete the soccer task) and performance accuracy (i.e. errors in performing the soccer task recorded in the form of time penalties). Performance on the post-test as measured by response time revealed a significant improvement for both the skilled and novice players in the imagery group. The control group failed to show any such improvement. No effects were found for performance accuracy.

    Citation: Blair A, Hall C, Leyshon G. Imagery effects on the performance of skilled and novice soccer players. Journal of Sports Science 1993 Apr;11(2): pp. 95-101

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  10. guided imagery for sports performance

    A high school coach asks what guided imagery would be best for a high school track or cross-country team, and BR makes some suggestions for resources..
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