The Effects of a Motivational General-Mastery Imagery Intervention on the Sport Confidence of High-Level Badminton Players

By Callow, Nichola; Hardy, Lew et al. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, December 2001 | Go to article overview

The Effects of a Motivational General-Mastery Imagery Intervention on the Sport Confidence of High-Level Badminton Players


Callow, Nichola, Hardy, Lew, Hall, Craig, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


A multiple-baseline across-participants design was used to examine the effects of a Motivational General-Mastery imagery intervention on the sport confidence of 4 high-level junior badminton players. Sport confidence data were collected once a week for 21 weeks prior to international and county matches. The imagery intervention consisted of six imagery sessions (two per week for 3 weeks) and was administered using a multiple-baseline design with interventions commencing at Weeks 5, 7, 9, and 11 for Participants 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Results of visual inspection and Binomial tests suggested significant increases in sport confidence for Participants 1 and 2, a significant decrease in sport confidence for Participant 3, and a delayed increase in sport confidence for Participant 4. The results are discussed in terms of the implications of using mastery imagery and the usefulness of multiple-baseline designs for furthering imagery research.

Key words: multiple-baseline design

The use of imagery within sport psychology has generated a large body of research (e.g., Jones & Stuth, 1997). However, the majority of this research has examined imagery effects on performance and Learning at the expense of motivational and self-confidence effects (Murphy, 1994). Anecdotally, elite performers have reported on the motivational effects of imagery. For example, a highly successful Olympian springboard diver stated, "I got to the point where I could see myself doing a perfect dive and the crowd yelling at the Olympics" (Orlick & Partington, 1988, p. 114). Similarly, a successful international slalom canoeist stated, "If you're unsure about a move, the more times you go over it in your head the more confident you feel" (White & Hardy, 1998, p. 397).

Several authors have discussed the potential for imagery to have a motivational function. Paivio (1985) proposed a functional model of imagery, stating that imagery could have both a cognitive (e.g., imaging skills) and motivational (e.g., imaging arousal and affect) function. Despite the anecdotal evidence and conceptual proposal indicating imagery may have a motivational function, empirical research has been slow to explore this possibility. Salmon, Hall, and Haslam (1994) investigated the motivational and cognitive use of imagery by soccer players of various skill levels. These researchers found footballers used imagery more for its motivational function than its cognitive function. Moritz, Hall, Martin, and Vadocz (1996) explored Paivio's model using the Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998). The SIQ measures athletes' use of the following five types of imagery: Cognitive General (GO; e.g., imaging performance plans being executed successfully); Cognitive Specific (CS; e.g., imaging specific skills being executed perfectly); Motivational General-Mastery (MG-M; e.g., imaging staying focused when confronted by problems); Motivational General-Arousal (MG-A; e.g., imaging the emotions that accompany major competitions); and Motivational Specific (MS; imaging specific performance goals being achieved, such as imaging receiving a medal). Moritz et al. (1996) found highly confident elite roller skaters were more likely to image mastery and emotions associated with competition (i.e., MG-M and MG-A) than their less sport-confident counterparts.

The research cited above suggests a link between motivational imagery and confidence. However, the studies by Moritz et al. (1996) and Salmon et al. (1994) are correlational in nature. Consequently, direction of causality can not be established. That is, it cannot be established if using MG-M imagery causes an increase in confidence or if having high self-confidence causes performers to use MG-M imagery, or, alternatively, some other variable causes both.

It is important to examine the causal direction of the imagery/self-confidence relationship for two reasons. …

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