THE EFFECT OF COGNITIVE SPECIFIC IMAGERY ON CONFIDENCE WITHIN PLACEKICKING IN RUGBY UNION
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the study was to qualitatively examine the effects of cognitive specific imagery on confidence within place kicking in rugby union. Seeing whether imagery had an effect on a player’s confidence either increasing or decreasing their ability to perform. Participants within the study played at either professional or social level, allowing responses to be gathered from both ends of the sporting spectrum. The study used semistructured interviews to gather data from all of the 8 athletes. The findings of the study showed that confidence was beneficial to a performers success, highlighting certain factors that affect their play when either high or low in confidence. All 8 of the participants shared that they used imagery within their kicking performance, each revealing how it helped them as an individual. Common themes that emerged from the study were that of participants using professional athletes experiences and incorporating similar skills into their own performances. Missing kicks emerged as an initiating factor that made the participants engage with imagery. Imagery was linked to the facilitation of place kicking performance, but participants also mentioned that imagery helped them when rehearsing set plays within performance. Findings within the study benefit not only athletes, but coaches and psychologists, as it broadens understanding of how an athlete engages with imagery and provides future opportunity to increase an athletes imagery ability through a set of interventions and imagery education.
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