Imagery Rehearsal Training for the 1995-1996 United States Disabled Ski Team

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies



Major Advisor

Linda M. Petlichkoff


Imagery rehearsal has played a vital role in the pre-performance preparation strategies of many world class and pre-elite ski racers. Research suggests top level performance in sport requires that both physiological and psychological development be part of any training regime. The aim of Imagery Rehearsal Training is to bring the athlete to peak performance for the most important competition (Schilling & Gubelmann, 1995). The German Democratic Republic's (GDR) highly successful sport system incorporated Psychological Skills Training (PST) with their athletes. Their contention was this type of training should be done by the athletes' coach, rather than a sport psychologist. American researchers, Gould, Petlichkoff, Hodge and Simons (1990) suggest that coaches know their athletes and sport better than anyone who comes in for a one-time visit with a team. Coaches and staff may be more successful with their athletes' implementation of an Imagery Rehearsal Training Program (IRTP) because of their availability to address questions on a daily basis. Hence, it is the team's on-site support staff who are best suited to do the actual implementation of an IRTP (Johnson, 1992). This study was designed to assess the implementation of an IRTP by an on-site support staff with the athletes of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. It was hypothesized that the frequency and use of imagery would increase with the implementation of IRTP from the baseline measure and return to baseline after removal of the program. An A-8-A-8 design was employed in this investigation. Subjects (n = 19) consisted of males (n = 7) and females (n = 12) who ranged in age from 15 to 43 with (M = 25.9; SD = 8.0). An A-8-A-8 design was employed because the intervention (i.e., imagery rehearsal) was presented to athletes in a workshop format followed by one-on-one guided imagery sessions to employ imagery rehearsal in practice and competition. Observational data was recorded during the four phases of the experiment. After analysis of the data, results supported the hypothesis that use of imagery increased with the implementation of IRTP by on-site staff. Athletes reported that guided imagery rehearsal with the staff member reinforced what they visualized and prevented distractions. They utilized imagery more and more as the season progressed. Athletes favored internal perspective imagery rehearsal.

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