Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 22, 2019

Mental Imagery and Strength Training: Student Athletes’ Perceptions, Desires, and the Impact of Psychoeducation

Alex Francis Xavier Wallace, Lindsey C. Blom and Thomas W. Gretton


Consistent evidence suggests the effectiveness of mental imagery (MI) for improving strength training performance (STP). However, strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches infrequently encourage use of MI, potentially believing athletes perceive it to be ineffective in supporting STP Additionally, psychoeducation has been found to affect perceptions regarding information presented. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions and desires of athletes regarding the effectiveness and use of MI to support STP. The impact of an animated psychoeducation video on perceptions of effectiveness and desires to learn more about MI for STP was assessed as well. 47 NCAA Division I student athletes (various sports; female: n = 34) participated in the pre-post study. Participants’ use of MI, S&C coaches’ encouragement of MI, perceptions of MI effectiveness on STP, and interest in learning more about MI to support STP were initially assessed. Following a two-minute video, participants’ perceptions of MI effectiveness on STP and interest in learning more about MI to support STP were reassessed. Significant increases were found in participants’ perceptions of MI effectiveness to support STP (p < 0.05). No significant changes were noticed regarding athletes’ desires to learn more about MI to support STP. Although potentially uninterested in learning more about MI, student athletes indeed perceive MI to be effective, especially after provided with information. Encouragement of MI by S&C coaches to their student athletes is warranted.


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To be submitted to Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity.

Published Online: 2019-12-22

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