Penalty Success in Professional Soccer: A Randomised Comparison between Imagery Methodologies
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One of the most cited forms of imagery training to enhance sporting performance is Holmes and Collins (2001) PETTLEP model, although there is limited evidence for its long-term effectiveness. PETTLEP is often compared to non-imagery controls rather than other imagery techniques. Functional Imagery Training (FIT) is an imagery-based behavioural change intervention, primarily focusing on goal centred motivation. Thirty male professional soccer players conducted a group goal setting task and were introduced to imagery and subjectively measured for vividness, then randomly assigned to three conditions; PETTLEP, group-based FIT, or a control. Baseline penalty kick success was measured, then interventions commenced lasting for a week after which, penalties were conducted again. Penalties were conducted for a third time between 15 and 17 weeks after baseline measurements. There were no differences in baseline scores between conditions on vividness of imagery and penalty kicking. Whilst the control condition did not improve, both imagery conditions improved penalty performance after one week, as did their vividness of imagery scores. However, after 15 weeks, only the FIT for groups condition maintained improvements on penalty scores and PETTLEP returned to baseline. Limitations of this applied research are examined and future directions for imagery use discussed.
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