A comparison between the use of imagery of elite and non-elite soccer players and the effect this imagery had upon performance
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The major purpose of the present study was to develop the knowledge and understanding of the use and effectiveness of imagery within female soccer. A qualitative research approach was utilised to examine the comparisons between the use and effectiveness of imagery between three elite and three non-elite women soccer players. The athletes completed semi-structured interviews containing open ended questions and as a result the athletes presented detailed information about their use of imagery and how this affected their performance in the week leading up to an important game. The athletes’ responses were inductively analysed and relationships between the use and effectiveness of imagery were predicted via causal networks. Both the elite and non-elite athletes reported using imagery in the week leading up to the game although the level of use of the different aspects of imagery between individuals varied. All the athletes stated that their use of imagery enhanced their confidence, although two non-elite athletes indicated that their use of imagery negatively affected their confidence. The non-elite athletes employed an internal perspective only during their imagery whereas the elite athletes reported using both an internal and external perspective. Furthermore, the elite athletes reported switching from an internal to an external perspective during their imagery. The findings revealed that imagery can improve athletes performances in competition although, athletes, coaches and practitioners need to understand how to implement imagery into their training and competition schedules correctly in order to benefit fully from their use of imagery and enhancing their performances in both training and competition.
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