This study examined the effects of differing frequencies of PETTLEP imagery on netball shooting performance.



Impact of Differing Frequencies of PETTLEP Imagery on Netball Shooting Performance∗ 
Caroline J. Wakefield and Dave Smith 
This study examined the effects of differing frequencies of PETTLEP imagery on netball shooting performance. Thirty-two female participants were divided into four groups: PETTLEP imagery once per week (1x/wk), PETTLEP imagery twice per week (2x/wk), PETTLEP imagery three times per week (3x/wk) and a control. During the pre-test and post-test participants were required to complete a total of twenty shots from five different points within the shooting zone. They were awarded points (out of five) for each shot, giving a possible total of 100 points. The numbers of shots scored was also recorded. Following the pre-test, the imagery participants imaged the twenty shots the required number of times per week. The control group completed some netball specific stretching. Transfer tests were also completed to assess the transferability of the intervention to related tasks. Group x test ANOVAs for performance score and shots scored revealed a significant interaction effect (p<.01). Tukey tests revealed that the 3x/wk imagery group improved performance on both measures, whereas the 2x/wk, 1x/wk and control group did not. These results support the notion that PETTLEP imagery may be more effective if completed at least three times per week

Imagery is one of the most widely-researched topics in sport psychology (Smith & Wright, 2008), and during the past two decades we have begun to understand much about how imagery works and how best to apply it to enhance performance. Of particular interest in recent years have been the findings from the field of neuroscience, where it has been well established that imagery and physical performance share some common neural mechanisms, a phenomenon termed ‘functional equivalence’ (Jeannerod, 1997). Drawing on this line of research, as well as findings from cognitive psychology and sport psychology, Holmes and Collins (2001) developed the PETTLEP model (Physical, Environment, Task, Timing, Learning, Emotion and Perspective), which provides practical guidelines to enhance the effectiveness of imagery interventions. For brevity, we refer readers to Holmes and Collins (2002), Smith, Wright, Allsopp and Westhead (2007) and Smith, Wright and Cantwell (2008) for a detailed description of the different components of the model and their practical applications. Initial studies are strongly supportive of the model. For example, Smith et al. (2007) found that a greater performance increase was apparent in hockey and gymnastics tasks when more components of the model were included. Smith et al. (2008) produced similar findings using a golf bunker shot task. Wright and Smith (2006) found that PETTLEP imagery interventions produced greater improvements in computer game performance than more traditional imagery methods. 

Whilst the above studies clearly show that PETTLEP imagery can have powerful effects on motor performance, it is still unclear how much PETTLEP imagery is required to produce optimal results. Blair, Hall and Leyshon noted over a decade ago that “we can offer few specific answers to such basic questions as when, where, how and how often should athletes be encouraged to use imagery” (1993, p.95). The development of the PETTLEP model, and the related research, is beginning to answer the specifics of when, where and how imagery should be performed, but the quantity of imagery required to have a positive effect on performance is yet to be investigated. Therefore, this is the aim of the present study: to test the effects of different frequencies of PETTLEP imagery on a specific motor task. In line with the notion of deliberate imagery practice (Cumming & Hall, 2002), we hypothesise that the more frequent the imagery intervention, the greater the performance improvement will be. 

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