Experience in Sport Performance, the Practice of Imagery and the Effect of Both on Performance Anxiety

Sarah McGary, Ball State University, USA

Theme: Anxiety, stress, and emotions

Poster Number: 78

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


The present study explored the effect that both experience and different imagery practices have on pre-competitive anxiety. Twelve collegiate NAIA female tennis players volunteered to participate in this study and of the twelve, six who played singles were recruited. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: self-focused imagery or other-focused imagery. It was expected that there would be significant differences in pre-competitive anxiety between those who were experienced and those who were not. It was also expected that those who practiced the self-imagery task would experience lower levels of pre-competitive anxiety. Results from ANOVAs and correlational analysis revealed a significant interaction (p<.05) between overall anxiety and the experience level of the player, with percent of serves made used as the dependent variable. Specifically, the results indicated that experience level does affect pre-competitive anxiety. An interaction (p<.05) also occurred between experience and self-confidence pre- and post-imagery, indicating that experience had an effect on an individual’s self-confidence before and after the imagery use. Experience also had a significant negative correlation (p<.05) with both pre- and post-imagery somatic anxiety. However, results indicated no significant difference in performance between different types of imagery tasks. Taking these into account, practitioners may design interventions to decrease anxiety and increase self-confidence in less experienced athletes.

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