Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 25, 2013

Methodological Variations in Guided Imagery Interventions Using Movement Imagery Scripts in Sport: A Systematic Review

Sam J. Cooley, Sarah E. Williams, Victoria E. Burns and Jennifer Cumming

Abstract

Imagery studies have varied widely in the methods used to deliver guided imagery interventions. This variation has led to difficulties comparing studies and uncertainty as to what methods should be followed. A review is needed to evaluate the interventions to date to inform applied recommendations. The aim of this systematic review was to (1) assess the quality of intervention design, (2) investigate the extent to which interventions vary, (3) highlight the different methods that should be considered in the design and implementation of future interventions, and (4) investigate adherence to some of the current theories and models of imagery use. A total of 20 interventions administered between the years 2001 and 2011 were compared over 17 main areas, including imagery ability, duration, script development, delivery method, and adherence to the PETTLEP model and the bio-informational theory. The results of this review found evidence of many inconsistencies between interventions and demonstrate a need for more comprehensive practical guidelines. Recommendations are offered for the design of future interventions, including increasing imagery practice time and the use of personalised imagery scripts. Numerous questions are raised to strengthen and direct future research such as the need for continued modification of scripts throughout an intervention.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Elements of the PETTLEP model.

ElementDefinitionExample
PhysicalThe extent to which the physical aspect of the imagery reflects that of the actual movement (e.g. body position, equipment, and clothing).A weightlifter imaging while adopting the lifting position on the weight bench and griping the weight in their hand.
EnvironmentThe imaged action should be carried out in the same environment as the actual action, both mentally (in the image) and/or physically (where the imagery is taking place).A footballer imaging while standing on the match day pitch, in front of the goal posts and with a football in front of them.
TaskThe imaged action should correspond as closely as possible to the actual action and at the same level of expertise.A script describing a golf putt that is technically identical to the putt realistically used during physical performance.
TimingThe duration of the imaged action must be temporally equivalent to that of the physically performed action.A basketball routine being imaged in real time.
LearningThe imaged action should evolve as an action is learnt and refined.Adding new softball performance scenarios to the imagery content, to reflect new match experiences and an increase in the players’ imagery ability.
EmotionThe imaged action should include similar emotions and arousal levels to those experienced when actually performing the action.A badminton player imaging feeling confident along with other positive emotions that are desired during performance.
PerspectiveThe view point of the imagined action should allow for focus to be placed on the necessary part of the action (1PP vs. 3PP).Synchronised skaters adopting their preferred visual perspective whilst imaging their routine.

Notes: Appendix 1 uses definitions from Cumming and Ramsey (2008) and Holmes and Collins (2002) and examples from interventions included in the current review.

Appendix 2

A comparison of the 20 imagery interventions, in descending chronological order.

ReferenceSport/ taskOutcome measuresSuccessPEDro/SCEDBaseline measure of IAMonitoring IA (supervision)Duration
WeeksSession (#/week)Image (reps)Total imagery
Velentzas et al. (2011)Volleyball servePerformance & imagery abilityFull-change7/11pControl for IA (VMIQ)(Supervised)710 min (2/week)10 min (1)2 h 20 min
Pain et al. (2011)FootballPerformance & perceived flowNo-change7/11s≥ Moderate IA (MIQ)Questionnaire (independent)33 min (1/week)3 min (1)9 min
Lebon et al. (2010)Weight liftingPerformanceMod-change4/11pControl for IA (MIQ)Questionnaire (supervised)43 min 10 s (3/week)2 s (95)38 min
Ramsey et al. (2010)Football penaltyPerformance, SE & anxietyMod-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Questionnaire, diary (combination)61 min 40 s (4/week)10 s (10)40 min
Ramsey et al. (2010)Football penaltyPerformance, SE & anxietyMod-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA(MIQ-R)Questionnaire, diary (combination)61 min 40 s (4/week)10 s (10)40 min
Mellalieu et al. (2009)Rugby UnionAnxiety, confid & affectFull-change7/11s≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Questionnaire, diary, meetings (combination)1110 min (7/week)10 min (1)12 h 50 min
Guillot et al. (2009)BasketballPerformanceNo-change4/11pControl for IA (MIQ)Questionnaire (supervised)511 min (2.4/week)1 min 13 s (9)2 h 12 min
Smith et al. (2008)Golf puttingPerformanceMod-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Meetings (independent)65 min (2/week)20 s (15)1 h
Smith et al. (2008)Golf puttingPerformanceFull-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Meetings (independent)65 min (1/week)20 s (15)30 min
Shearer et al. (2008)Obstacle courseSE & task cohesionFull-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Questionnaire, meetings (combination)610 min (5/week)10 min (1)5 h
Smith et al. (2007)Hockey penaltyPerformanceFull-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)65 min (7/week)30 s (10)3 h 30 min
Smith et al. (2007)Hockey penaltyPerformanceMod-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)65 min (7/week)30 s (10)3 h 30 min
Smith et al. (2007)Hockey penaltyPerformanceMod-change7/11p≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)65 min (7/week)30 s (10)3 h 30 min
Callow et al. (2005)Horse racingConfidenceFull-change7/11s≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Questionnaire, diary (combination)165 min (3.2/week)5 min (1)4 h 16 min
Smith et al. (2004)Golf puttingPerformanceNo-change8/11p≥ Moderate IA (VMIQ)Questionnaire, diary (independent)62 min 30 s (7/week)10 s (15)1 h 45 min
Calmels et al. (2004)SoftballImagery abilityFull-change8/11sObserving IA change (VMIQ)Questionnaire (independent)710 min (4/week)10 min (1)4 h 40 min
Cumming et al. (2001)Synchronised skatingImagery use & abilityMod-change4/11sObserving IA change (MIQ)Questionnaire (supervised)510 min (2/week)10 min (1)1 h 40 min
Smith et al. (2001)Hockey penaltyPerformanceMod-change8/11pControl for IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)73 min 20 s (3/week)10 s (20)1 h 10 min
Smith et al. (2001)Hockey penaltyPerformanceFull-change8/11pControl for IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)73 min 20 s (3/week)10 s (20)1 h 10 min
Callow et al. (2001)BadmintonConfidenceMod-change8/11s≥ Moderate IA (MIQ-R)Diary, meetings (independent)35 min (7/week)5 min (1)1 h 45 min

Notes: SE = self efficacy; IA = imagery ability, MIQ = Movement imagery questionnaire (Hall & Pongrac, 1983); MIQ-R = Movement imagery questionnaire revised (Hall & Martin, 1997); VMIQ, Vividness of movement imagery questionnaire (Isaac, Marks, & Russel, 1986).

Appendix 2

(continued)

ReferenceSRM-propositionsPersonalisedModifiedSR-trainingScript presentationScript timingPETTLEP elements
Velentzas et al. (2011)SRMNoNoNoResearcher readBefore imagery, during physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task, Emotion, Perspective
Pain et al. (2011)SRMYesNoNoAudioDuring imagery, before competitionPhysical, Environment, Task, Emotion
Lebon et al. (2010)SRNoNoNoResearcher readBefore imagery, during physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task, Timing, Perspective
Ramsey et al. (2010)SRMNoNoNoResearcher or participant readBefore imagery, during and away from physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task, Emotion
Ramsey et al. (2010)SNoNoNoResearcher or participant readBefore imagery, during and away from physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task
Mellalieu et al. (2009)SRMYesNoNoParticipant readDuring imagery, before and away from competitionPhysical, Environment, Task, Emotion
Guillot et al. (2009)SRMNoNoNoResearcher readBefore imagery, during physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task, Timing, Emotion, Perspective
Smith et al. (2008)SRMYesYesYesParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practiceAll
Smith et al. (2008)SRMYesYesYesParticipant readBefore imagery, during physical practiceAll
Shearer et al. (2008)SRMYesYesNoParticipant readDuring imagery, away from physical practiceEnvironment, Task, Learning, Emotion
Smith et al. (2007)SRYesNoYesParticipant readBefore imagery, during physical practicePhysical, Environment, Task, Timing, Perspective
Smith et al. (2007)SRYesNoYesParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practicePhysical, Task, Timing, Perspective
Smith et al. (2007)SRYesNoYesParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Timing, Perspective
Callow et al. (2005)SRMYesNoNoAudio or participant readDuring imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Emotion
Smith et al. (2004)SRMYesNoYesParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practiceTask Emotion
Calmels et al. (2004)SRMYesYesYesAudioDuring imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Learning, Emotion, Perspective
Cumming et al. (2001)SRMNoNoNoResearcher readDuring imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Emotion, Perspective
Smith et al. (2001)SNoNoNoParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Timing
Smith et al. (2001)SRYesNoYesParticipant readBefore imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Timing
Callow et al. (2001)SRMNoYesNoAudio or participant readDuring imagery, away from physical practiceTask, Learning, Emotion

Notes: S = stimulus propositions; SR = stimulus and response propositions; SRM = stimulus, response and meaning propositions.

Appendix 3

A summary of the key outcomes from the systematic review.

ComparisonKey Outcomes
Quality of design
PEDro and SCEDMean scores of 6.4/11 and 7.4/11, respectively.
Imagery ability
BaselineBaseline measures of imagery ability were used to control for individual differences (n = 5), measure pre to post changes in imagery ability (n = 2), and to screen for an above moderate level of imagery ability (n = 13).
No association between baseline measures and intervention success (p = 0.920).
MonitoringMethods of monitoring included qualitative interviews (n = 10), training diaries (n = 11), and single-item questionnaires (n = 10).
No association between monitoring and intervention success (p = 0.480).
Interventions that involved unsupervised imagery use were associated with a greater degree of monitoring (p = 0.036).
Duration
InterventionInterventions ranged from 3 to 16 weeks in length (M = 6.45, SD = 2.8).
A strong, positive correlation between intervention duration (weeks) and intervention success (r = 0.670, p = 0.001).
Imagery sessionsImagery sessions ranged from one per week to one per day (M = 4.08/week, SD = 2.19).
No correlation between the frequency of imagery sessions and intervention success (r = 0.072, p = 0.38).
The amount of imagery use in a single session ranged from 1 min 40 s to 11 min (M = 5 min 43 s, SD = 3 min 11 s).
A moderate, positive correlation between the amount of imagery use in a single session and intervention success (r = 0.380, p = 0.048).
Single imageThe number of times the same image was repeated within a single training session ranged between 1 and 95(M = 12.95, SD = 20.95).
No significant correlation between the number of repetitions and intervention success (r = –0.228, p = 0.174).
The duration of a single image ranged from 2 s to 10 min (M = 3 min 21 s, SD = 4 min 12 s).
A near significant, moderate, positive correlation between duration of a single image and intervention success (r = 0.370, p = 0.057).
Total imagery useThe total time participants were engaged in imagery use throughout the intervention ranged from 9 min to 12 h 50 min (M = 2 h 39 min, SD = 2 h 49 min).
A moderate, positive correlation between total imagery use and intervention success (r = 0.462, p = 0.021).
Script development
ContentScript content was informed using four sources of information: physical task, research, experience, and participants (PREP).
SRM-propositionsSRM propositions were incorporated in the majority of interventions (n = 13).
No association between SRM-proposition use and intervention success (p = 0.319).
A near significant association showed interventions with performance outcome measures to incorporate meaning propositions less often than studies with psychological outcome measures (p = 0.056).
PersonalisationOver half of the interventions incorporated personalised imagery (n = 12).
Successful interventions associated with personalised imagery (p = 0.040).
ModificationMethods of script modification included intermittent consultations with participants (n = 3), layering (n = 1), and introducing new scripts (n = 1).
No association between the modification of imagery scripts and intervention success (p = 0.430).
Delivery
SR-trainingSR-training was used in less than half of the interventions (n = 8).
No association between SR-training and intervention success (p = 0.758).
Script delivery formatImagery was either read aloud to participants (n = 4), read by the participants (n = 10), audio recorded (n = 2) or participants were given a choice (n = 4).
No association between delivery format and intervention success (p = 0.605).
Integration of script and imageryIn the majority of interventions, participants used the script prior to generating the imagery (n = 13).
No association between the integration of script and imagery and intervention success (p = 0.494).
TimingImagery scripts were used during physical practice (n = 5), before competition (n = 1), away from physical practice and competition (n = 11) and a combination of all three (n = 3).
No association between the time point of imagery use and intervention success (p = 0.146).
InstructionsAuthors in the majority of interventions did not report the imagery instructions given to participants (n = 14). Those that did appeared to follow recommendations from the PETTLEP model.
PETTLEPInterventions incorporated an average of 4 PETTLEP elements.
No correlation between the number of elements used and intervention success (r = 0.059, p = 0.828).
A strong, positive correlation between total PETTLEP elements used and year of study(r = 0.603, p = 0.017).

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  1. 1

    See Appendix 2 for a summary of the main details drawn from each of the 20 interventions and Appendix 3 for a summary of the main results.

Published Online: 2013-06-25

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin / Boston