Printer Friendly

The effect of PETTLEP imagery on strength performance.

Imagery of motor skills is widely used by athletes and coaches and is an extensively researched topic (Gould, Weinberg, &Jackson, 1980; Smith, Collins, & Holmes, 2003; Smith & Holmes, 2004). However, there is surprisingly little advice in the peer-reviewed literature regarding how to structure an imagery intervention to achieve the best effect. In response to this gap in the literature, the PETTLEP model was developed (Holmes & Collins, 2001). The model is based on the principle of functional equivalence; the principle that imagery enhances performance because the same neurophysiological processes underlie imagery and actual movement (Decety & Jeannerod, 1996; Fox, Pardo, Peterson, & Raichle, 1987). The PETTLEP model aims to maximise this functional equivalence by ensuring that the imagery performed is a close representation of the actual movement. Holmes and Collins (2001) suggested seven vital issues to consider when implementing motor-based imagery interventions: physical, environment, task, timing, learning, emotion, and perspective components.

The physical component of the model is related to the athletes physical responses in the sporting situation. If imagery is most effective when functional equivalence is high (e.g., Smith & Collins, 2004; Smith & Holmes, 2004), the imagery interventions should be modeled to include similar characteristics to actual performance. Smith and Collins (2004) found that movement-related brain potentials occurred prior to imagery much more consistently when the imagery included the kinaesthetic sensations experienced by the participants when performing the task. Therefore, imagery instructions should emphasise kinaesthetic responses in order to maximise functional equivalence. Holmes and Collins (2001) also argued that participants should hold any implements that would be held and adopt the same position as during physical practice to emphasise the physical nature of the imagery. For example, if a relay runner wanted to improve performance, he or she would perform the imagery while in a standing position and holding the baton. This would maximise the functional equivalence of the haptic (touch-related) and posture-related sensations.

The environment component of the model refers to the physical environment in which imagery is performed. To access the same motor representation, the environment when imagining the performance should be as similar as possible to the actual performing environment. If a similar environment is not possible, photographs of the venue or audiotapes of crowd noise can be used. Imagery scripts employed should include descriptions of the participant's individual responses to the environment (see Smith, Collins, Holmes, Whitemore, & Devonport, 2001). This can be achieved through response training, which involves eliciting an individual's response to a particular situation, including the meaning that the individual attaches to the situation. These responses can then be included within the imagery scripts of the participants and involved within the imagery experience. If attempting to improve a skill such as pole vaulting, the individual should hold the pole, while in a standing position and wearing the competition uniform. This would allow the sounds and positioning of objects to be the same as when completing the actual task.

The task component is important, as the imagined task needs to be closely matched to the actual task. The task content of the imagery should be specific to the performer, with the performer focusing on the same thoughts, feelings, and actions as during physical performance of the task. For example, if an exerciser is imaging performing a set of bicep curls on a weight training machine, it would be more beneficial to image completing a set of bicep curls on the correct machine using the correct weight, rather than with free weights or with the weight being too light.

Some researchers advocate using imagery in slow motion to experience the action fully (Whetstone, 1995), and studies have found this to have advantages (Calmels & Fournier, 2001; Syer & Connolly, 1984). Indeed, the developers of the PETTLEP model recognized that it may sometimes be beneficial (Holmes & Collins, 2001). However, precise timing is often very important in actual sporting situations and in the execution of specific skills. It would, therefore, be more functionally equivalent if the action was imaged at the correct pace. Therefore, Holmes and Collins (2001) advocated mainly "real time" imagery in their model.

The learning component of the model refers to the adaptation of imagery content in relation to the rate of learning. As the skill level of the performer moves from being cognitive to autonomous, the motor representation and associated responses will change, and therefore, the imagery script must be altered in order to reflect this (Holmes & Collins, 2001). They further this point by suggesting that regularly reviewing the content of imagery is essential to retain functional equivalence.

The emotion component has been referred to as the "missing link" in sports performance (Botterill, 1997). To achieve optimal functional equivalence, the individual should try to experience all of the emotions and arousal associated with the performance. This is in accord with the clinical psychology work of Lang (1985) and Cuthbert, Vrana, and Bradley (1991), who suggest that patients' emotional responses and the meaning they attach to the scenario must be included in imagery if optimal behavioral change is to take place. In a sporting situation, this may include excitement, nerves, and memories of previous performances. This experiencing of arousal in sport also relates directly to the functions of imagery use in sport (Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998). Here, it is explained that the type of imagery used should match the intended outcome of the imagery, emphasising the need to promote functionally equivalent interventions in order to have the largest possible intended effect on sporting performance. However, although accurate emotions should be generated in the imagery experience, athletes should ensure that they are adept at overcoming any unwanted emotions or interpreting them in a facilitative light before deliberately including them into their imagery practice.

Finally, the perspective component refers to the way imagery is viewed. From a functional equivalence perspective, internal (first person) imagery would appear preferable as it more closely approximates the athlete's view when performing (see Jeannerod, 1994). Some studies, however, support using an external (third person) orientation when imaging certain form-based skills (Hardy & Callow, 1999; White & Hardy, 1995). It may be most beneficial, therefore, for athletes to use a combination of perspectives, and more advanced performers will be able to switch from one perspective to another (see Smith, Collins, & Hale, 1998).

Studies have begun to employ the PETTLEP model. For example, Smith, Wright, Allsopp, and Westhead (2007) used different components of the PETTLEP model across two different sports. In their first study, focusing on a hockey penalty shot, they com pared interventions incorporating varying amounts of the PETTLEP model, including a sport-specific group (including specifically the physical and environment components) and a clothing group (including just the physical components). All of their participants imaged in real time and included emotions associated with performance. The PETTLEP imagery groups improved significantly more than a traditional imagery intervention, and the strong emphasis on the physical and environment components of PETTLEP in the imagery of the sport-specific group was more effective than the less PETTLEP-based imagery of the other groups. In their second study, they tested the PETTLEP model as a whole on a gymnastics beam jump, comparing it to stimulus only imagery. They found that the PETTLEP group and physical practice groups were the only groups that improved significantly from pre-test to post-test, and surprisingly, there was no difference in the magnitude of the improvements of these two groups. Therefore, this work provides strong initial support for the effectiveness of the PETTLEP model. However, Holmes and Collins (2001) and Weinberg and Gould (2003) argue that the model needs to be tested in a variety of settings and with different tasks. A previous study showed that imagery could enhance muscle strength of the abductor muscle of the fifth digit on the left hand over a four week period (Smith et al., 2003). The interventions were closely aligned with many components of the PETTLEP model, and the results revealed that the mental practice group showed an increase in strength of 23.27%. However, the authors noted that research was needed in a more ecologically valid setting. Given these results and recommendations, we decided to compare the effects of PETTLEP imagery to a more traditional imagery intervention on a commonly performed weight training exercise. Interestingly, most previous studies have shown imagery to be relatively ineffective in enhancing the performance of strength-based tasks (e.g., Tenenbaum et al., 1995; Wilkes & Sumner, 1984). Indeed, a meta-analysis conducted by Feltz and Landers (1983) found a relatively small effect size (d = .20) for the effects of imagery on strength tasks. However many of these studies have used a more traditional "visualization" imagery approach, focusing on the visual aspects of imagery in contrast to the more physical, response-based PETREP approach. The lack of functional equivalence afforded by these "visualization"-type interventions may, therefore, explain their ineffectiveness.

In contrast to these findings, Yue and Cole (1992) found that the isometric strength of the abductor muscle of the fifth digit on the left hand increased by 22% from a four-week imagery-training program. As noted above, a partial replication of this study by Smith et al. (2003) focused on the same task. Following the training program, the mental practice group showed an increase in strength of 23.27%. Both the task performed during this study and the mental practice were performed in the same laboratory, and the intervention had a strong kinaesthetic emphasis. Therefore, the intervention had strong similarities to the PETTLEP approach to imagery. However, in conclusion to their study, these authors pointed out the need for research in a more ecologically valid setting and examining other muscle groups. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to compare the effects of PETTLEP imagery, traditional imagery, and physical practice on a popular strength task (i.e., bicep curl). The effectiveness of combined PETTLEP imagery and physical practice was also assessed.

We hypothesised that the traditional imagery, PETTLEP imagery, physical practice, and combination groups would all show a greater improvement than the control group between the pre-test and the post-test. Additionally, and in line with the findings of Smith et al. (2007), we hypothesised that the PETTLEP imagery, physical practice, and combination groups would show a greater improvement than the traditional imagery and the control groups. Finally, we hypothesised that the physical practice group would improve to a greater degree than the PETTLEP imagery and combination groups.



Fifty university students (mean age = 20.74, SD = 3.71) served as participants. They had not previously received any form of imagery training and were not currently undertaking a weight-training program. All participants provided informed consent prior to participation. The participants completed the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (MIQ-R; Hall & Martin, 1997) immediately prior to the testing period and were randomly assigned to one of five groups: a PETTLEP imagery group, a "traditional" imagery group, a physical practice group, a PETTLEP imagery/physical practice (combination) group, and a control group. Each group contained ten participants.


Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (M10-R; Hall & Martin, 1997).

The MIQ-R is an eight-item inventory that assesses an individual's ability to perform visual and kinaesthetic imagery. The MIQ-R has been found to have acceptable concurrent validity when correlated with its earlier version, the MIQ, with r-values of -.77, -.77 and -.87 for the visual sub-scale, kinaesthetic sub-scale, and overall score, respectively (Hall & Martin, 1997). The negative correlation is due to a reversal in the scale because, in the original MIQ, the higher the rating was, the harder a movement was to imagine for the respondent. When completing the MIQ-R, participants are required to complete a variety of simple movements before being asked to stand still and attempt to either "see" or "feel" themselves completing the same movement. Participants are then required to rate how easy or difficult they found it to see/feel the movement on a scale from 1 to 7. On this scale, 1 = "very difficult to see/feel," and 7 = "very easy to see/feel." The totals for the visual and kinaesthetic subscales are then calculated, with participants being able to score a maximum of 28 on each subscale. Participants scoring lower than 16 (the midpoint, indicating moderate imagery ability) on either MIQ-R sub-scale were excluded from the studies due to an apparent lack of ability to image, as per the procedure in previously published imagery research (Smith & Collins, 2004; Smith et al., 2003). However, in the present study, all participants met this criterion and were therefore included.

Bicep curl machine.

A bicep curl machine (Cybex International Inc., Medway, MA), located in a university gym, was used. This weight-stack based bicep curl machine increased in increments of 5 lb. (2.27 kg). Participants received training, including a video demonstration, on good form prior to using the machine.

Imagery Diary

Participants were issued an imagery diary that they were instructed to record in when they had completed each imagery session and to note down any difficulties they experienced while performing their imagery.


The criterion task used was a one repetition maximum (1 R.M.) on the bicep curl machine. Prior to the administration of the intervention, a pre-test was carried out. As the participants were not trained in lifting weights, a training video was shown to all participants to show good form and key technical points to consider when lifting the weights.

Participants then completed three warm-up sets using incrementally heavier weights. As they had not lifted weights previously, and therefore did not have a baseline measure, these began at 13.5kg and increased according to the capability of the participants. After this warm-up, participants completed a 1 R.M. lift on the bicep curl machine, using the guidelines of Darden (1992). This 1 R.M. was used as their pre-test score. After four minutes' rest, the participants then completed a set of 6-10 repetitions, lifting 80% of their established 1 R.M. to failure. This enabled the participants to experience the physical sensations associated with completing a set of bicep curls. The machine was adjusted to suit the dimensions of each individual participant, and all participants were made aware of the procedure and scoring system prior to the testing.


Following the pre-test, the imagery interventions were introduced to the relevant participants. The PETTLEP imagery and combination groups were given response training (Lang, Kozak, Miller, Levin, & McLean, 1980). This involved focusing the participants upon their physiological and behavioural responses to the scenario to be imaged. These responses were recorded, and participants referred to them at the start of each imagery session and were encouraged to incorporate these responses in their imagery as fully as possible. For example, one participant referred to the perspiration on their lower back and the burn within their bicep muscles while completing the set. It was then encouraged to include these responses into the individual imagery intervention. The traditional imagery group was given stimulus training (Lang et al., 1980), which involved focusing on the surroundings and actions rather than the feelings associated with the actions. These included aspects such as the bright lights and music in the gym.

During the six-week intervention period, the PETTLEP imagery group performed their imagery while sitting at the bicep curl machine, in the gym where the pre-test took place. This ensured that the environment factor of the PETTLEP model was accounted for, as the sounds, visual stimuli, and smell of the gym during the interventions were identical to those that the participants experienced during the pre-test. The participants were also encouraged to hold the handles on the machine to ensure functional equivalence of haptic sensations. During the set of curls completed following the pre-test 1 R.M., an individual video recording was made of each participant from an internal perspective (i.e., with the camera situated over the shoulder of the participant). This video was shown on a television screen in front of the bicep curl machine and was watched by the participants while they completed their imagery. It consisted of 6-10 repetitions of the task. They were encouraged to use the video as an aid for their imagery intervention. Factors such as perspective (seeing their own arms moving) and timing (video in "real time") were considered, as the individual video showed the participants moving exactly as they would have during the set. The participants were also encouraged to include any emotions that they experienced during the actual performance, aided by the response training. They then imaged themselves performing two sets of 6-10 repetitions to failure, while watching the video, and with a short rest in between each set.

The "traditional" imagery group was provided with a short relaxation procedure prior to their imagery. They performed the imagery while sitting in a comfortable chair with their eyes closed. Although their imagery incorporated some aspects of the PETTLEP model (e.g., recreating emotions associated with performance), this was less-strongly based on PETTLEP than the specific PETTLEP group, as factors such as the physical sensations and the environment were not accounted for. This group also imagined performing two sets of the bicep curls, twice per week for six weeks. The participants in the imagery groups were given a definition of imagery and told that its effect on performance was being assessed.

The physical practice group attended the gym and completed two sets of the bicep curls twice per week for six weeks, with a short rest in between each set. The weight used for the set was 80% of the 1 R.M. that was calculated in the pre-test, with each set performed to failure. Participants were encouraged to increase their repetitions in every session. The combination groups physically performed one set per session and used the PETTLEP imagery technique described above to imagine a second set. Again, both the physical practice and imagery were performed to failure and were performed twice per week for six weeks. The physical practice group was told that the study was focusing on the impact of a strength training program.

The control group completed a placebo task. This was reading some literature related to bodybuilding, which took approximately the same amount of time to perform as the two sets completed by the other groups. Participants were instructed to do their reading twice per week for six weeks. The literature used was a biography of former body building champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Leigh, 1990). The participants were informed the study was aiming to see whether being inspired by the body builder's life story would increase the amount of weight that they could lift. However, the text did not contain any technical information that could have aided with the completion of the posttest 1 R.M.


Each participant in the experimental groups performed the intervention twice per week for six weeks, with each session consisting of either two sets of physical practice, two sets of imagery, or one set of each. Control group participants read their book twice per week throughout the six-week period prior to the post-test and were instructed not to imagine performing the task during this period. Following the six-week intervention period, participants performed the post-test, which consisted of another 1 R.M. on the bicep curl machine using the same procedure as in the pre-test. Manipulation checks with all participants, in the form of brief interviews conducted during and after the experiment, focused on whether the imagery instructions were being followed correctly and whether any difficulties occurred during the interventions. The traditional imagery and control groups were given a sheet to record the number of sessions, out of a possible twelve, that they completed, as they were not completing their interventions in the presence of the experimenter.



One-way ANOVAs were performed on the MIQ-R data (see Table 1 for means and standard deviations). These revealed no significant between-group differences in MIQR visual, F (2, 29) = .141, p >.05, and kinaesthetic subscale scores, F (2, 29) = .517, p > .05. Brief interviews conducted during and after the experiment served as manipulation checks and revealed that all participants completed their interventions the correct number of times and as instructed.

Most participants in the PETTLEP imagery, combination, and physical practice groups made reference to the beneficial effect that they believed the interventions had on their performance. One participant in the PETTLEP imagery group encountered an increase in confidence due to the video and a subsequent increase in strength. However, the traditional imagery group often reported struggling to remember vividly how the action felt over the six-week period. One participant in this group stated during the post-test interview that "it was harder to imagine further into the study and it was hard to be exact in the imagery as there was no bed to rest my elbows on." Kineasthetic sensations such as this were accounted for in the PETTLEP and combination groups, which aided in producing functionally equivalent imagery. This was aided, in part, by the timing element which was controlled in the PETTLEP imagery videos. One of the PETTLEP participants explained during the post-test interview that "I wanted to do the action more quickly during the imagery than I did when completing the pre-test as I remembered how my muscles hurt, but the video stopped me from doing this and made sure I did it at the right pace."


As can be seen in Figure l, the mean weight lifted for all five groups was greater in the post-test than in the pre-test. The percentage increase in weight lifted was 23.29% in the PETTLEP imagery group, 28.03% in the combination group, and 26.56% in the physical practice group. The traditional imagery group and control group increased by 13.75% and 5.12%, respectively.


A repeated measures ANOVA was conducted on the data. This revealed significant between-group post-test results, F (4,44) = 12.60, p < .001. Tukey's HSD post-hoc tests showed that the PETTLEP combination group, physical practice group, and PETTLEP imagery group improved significantly from pre-test to post-test, whereas the traditional imagery and control groups did not. The PETTLEP combination group improved to a significantly greater degree than the PETTLEP imagery group (p >.05). The PETTLEP combination group also improved marginally more than the physical practice group (p Z.05), although this was not statistically significant. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the magnitude of improvement shown by the PETTLEP imagery group and physical practice groups (p > .05). There was also no significant difference apparent in the improvement shown by the traditional imagery group and control group (p > .05). Effect sizes (d) for the PETTLEP group, combination group, and physical practice group were .28, .67, and .32 respectively. The traditional imagery group and control group effect sizes were .12 and .05.


The results of this study partially supported our first hypothesis that all of the intervention groups would show a greater improvement from pre-test to post-test than the control group. The PETTLEP imagery, physical practice, and combination groups all showed a significant improvement in weight lifted from the pre-test to the post-test. However, the improvement shown by the traditional imagery group was not significantly larger than that of the control group. Of more interest for the purposes of the present study is the support found for part of our second hypothesis (i.e., that the PETTLEP group would show a significantly greater improvement than the traditional imagery and control groups). This could be because the PETTLEP intervention was more functionally equivalent than the traditional imagery intervention. This was achieved by ensuring that the gym environment, smells, sounds, and haptic sensations were the same during the imagery as the actual task and that the physiological responses experienced during physical performance were simulated during the imagery. This result, therefore, concurs with Smith and Collins (2004), who found that kinaesthetic imagery was more functionally equivalent and produced greater improvements in performance than visual imagery. This finding is particularly interesting as, although current texts make reference to the inclusion of kinaesthetic sensations into imagery interventions, many older sport psychology texts advocate "visualization" (e.g., Cabral & Crisfield, 1996), which may fail to access and strengthen fully the neural pathways activated by motor performance in the way the PETTLEP model does.

As indicated by the post-study interviews, the participants performing PETTLEP imagery perceived that some muscle contraction occurred in the biceps. If this is the case, it concurs with previous research on stimulus and response proposition imagery of weight lifting (Bakker, Boschker, & Chung, 1996; Hale, 1982). One participant stated that, after completing his PETTLEP imagery, "my arms ached for several days, as though I had actually lifted the weight." This indicates that the memory for the actual movement was accessed effectively by the imagery (see Jeannerod, 1994; Lang, 1985) and contrasts with the traditional imagery group, who did not report such muscle activity. While this information is useful, future research would benefit from more structured manipulation checks, such as questionnaires with open-ended questions, so that frequency counts can be made on participants' responses. Additionally, although it was not raised by any participants in the manipulation checks, it remains a possibility that the presence of the experimenter during the interventions may have had a confounding effect on the results. This is an area that warrants future research.

The second hypothesis that the PETTLEP imagery group, combination group, and physical practice group would improve to a greater degree than the traditional imagery and control groups was supported. The PETTLEP imagery group, combination group, and physical practice group improved significantly from pre-test to post-test, whereas the traditional imagery group and control group did not. However, the combination group improved more than the PETTLEP imagery group and marginally more than the physical practice group. Additionally, there were no significant differences between the improvement shown by the PETTLEP imagery group and the physical practice group. Both the physical practice group and combination group included an element of physical practice. Therefore it may be that, for strength-based tasks, the physical practice component is particularly beneficial. However, the PETTLEP improved to the same degree as the physical practice group. This is interesting because previous studies completed prior to the development of the PETTLEP model have shown imagery to be relatively ineffective in enhancing strength-based performance (e.g., Tenenbaum et al., 1995; Wilkes & Sumner, 1984). This indicates that PETTLEP imagery may be more useful than traditional imagery when attempting to improve performance of a strength-based task.

The third hypothesis that the physical practice group would improve to a greater degree than the PETTLEP imagery group and combination group was unsupported by the results because the PETTLEP combination group showed the largest percentage improve ment. The combination group improved significantly more that than the PETTLEP imagery group and marginally more than the physical practice group. As mentioned above, this could be due to the physical component of these interventions having a large effect on the performance increase. However, it appears that completing physical practice and PETTLEP imagery will produce similar performance improvements, regardless of whether they are employed in isolation or in combination with each other. A study completed by Smith et al. (2003) that focused on strength performance showed a similar improvement from imagery (23.27%, compared to 23.29% in the present study). Although this was not directly testing the PETTLEP model, the imagery was completed in the laboratory where pre- and post-tests took place. Also, participants assumed the same body position when completing both the task and the imagery. As a result, this study indirectly involved the PETTLEP physical and environment components and therefore allows strong parallels to be drawn between this and more specifically PETTLEP-based studies.

However, if this is a correct assumption, it does not explain why the PETTLEP combination group, completing one set of PETTLEP imagery and one set of physical practice, improved by the same magnitude as the physical practice group who completed two sets of physical practice. Although the benefits of combining physical practice with imagery have been discussed in the literature (e.g., Kohl, Ellis, & Roenker, 1992), this is an interesting finding. Athletes would normally complete the physical practice and use imagery as an addition, rather than substituting half of the physical practice for imagery as was done in this study. This result may be due to muscle damage in the bicep. The PETTLEP imagery may have aided in the further development of the muscular strength without causing the fatigue and decrements in muscular performance associated with completing further physical practice (Wilmore & Costill, 1999). This has useful implications when working with athletes suffering from over-training effects. However, the participants in the present study were not returning from injury, and future research could focus on the effects of PETTLEP imagery with such a sample. It could also provide a highly cost-effective solution in situations where physical practice is costly or time limited (e.g., hiring out court time). Therefore, completing as much physical practice as possible and combining it with a PETTLEP-based imagery intervention may aid with performance.

The results of the present study have important implications for the fields of sport psychology and strength training. When completing imagery interventions, strength coaches and athletes need to use functionally equivalent imagery to have the greatest positive effect on performance. As combining PETTLEP imagery with physical practice was the most effective intervention, athletes may adapt their training to incorporate a PETTLEP imagery component, possibly even replacing some actual strength training with imagery. This may reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries and overtraining, while still proving sufficient to stimulate strength increases. Additionally, to begin with, training programs could be altered to include PETTLEP imagery in addition to physical practice.

Developments of this study could include adding two further combination groups. The first could combine traditional imagery with physical practice. The second could use a further PETTLEP imagery and physical practice combination group. However, the participants would perform the set physically twice and using PETTLEP imagery twice per week. This would demonstrate the effects of a full physical practice program in addition to imagery, which is the technique adopted by many athletes. Investigation into the dose-response relationship of the PETTLEP model would also be a useful addition to the imagery literature to establish whether an increase in imagery sessions per week will result in a subsequent increase in performance.

Other future research within the strength training effects of the PETTLEP model could focus on muscles of different sizes and on the PETTLEP imagery effects over different periods of time. This could include both the longer--and shorter-term effects of PETTLEP imagery. Additionally, to incorporate the potential effects of observational learning, it would be beneficial to compare the use of video and no-video PETTLEP imagery to assess the performance effect produced through this modality. More general PETTLEP research could focus on different skills at the opposite end of the motor cognitive scale to assess the effects of this type of imagery on a more cognitive task.

Finally, it should be noted that imagery is not just useful to athletes; it can enhance performance of many different skills. Therefore, there are many widespread implications for imagery in non-sport settings, such as playing musical instruments (Sisterhen, 2004) and taking school and college examinations (Fleet, Goodchild, & Zaichkowsky, 2004). Imagery has also been shown to be effective in clinical settings, including brain injury and stroke rehabilitation (McCarthy, Beaumont, Thompson, & Pringle, 2002; Stevens & Philips-Stoykov, 2003) and in recovery from orthopaedic clinical procedures, such as hip replacement (Mayer, Bohn, Gorlich, & Eberspacher, 2005). However, in studies such as these, the participants were simply asked to imagine the movements, rather than being given detailed, PETTLEP-based instructions. Evidence from both this study and the emerging literature suggests that a more functionally equivalent approach may provide even stronger results. Therefore, research on the effectiveness of PETTLEP in enhancing the performance of such skills would also be a very useful contribution to the body of knowledge in this area.


Bakker, F. C., Boschker, M. S. J., & Chung, T. (1996). Changes in muscular activity while imagining weight lifting using stimulus and response propositions. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 313-324.

Botterill, C. (1997). The role of emotion in sport performance: The missing link? Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 12.

Cabral, P., & Crisfield, P. (1996). Psychology and Performance. Leeds, UK: National Coaching Foundation.

Calmels, C., & Fournier, J. (2001). Duration of physical and mental execution of gymnastics routines. The Sport Psychologist, 15(2), 142-150.

Cuthbert, B. N., Vrana, S. R., & Bradley, M. M. (1991). Imagery: Function and Physiology. In J. R. Jennings, P. R. Ackles, & M. G. H. Coles (Eds.), Advances in psychophysiology, Vol. 4 (pp. 1-42). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Darden, E. (1992). Productive guidelines in high-intensity training. Scholastic coach, 62(4), 77-79.

Decety, J., & Jeannerod, M. (1996). Mentally simulated movements in virtual reality: Does Fitts's law hold in virtual reality? Behavioural Brain Research, 72, 127-134.

Feltz, D. L., & Landers, D. M. (1983). The effects of mental practice on motor skill learning and performance: A meta analysis. Journal of Sport Psychology, 5, 25-27.

Fleet, J., Goodchild, F., & Zajchowski, R. (1999). Learning for success: Effective strategies for students. Scarborough, UK: Nelson Thompson Learning.

Fox, P. T., Pardo, J. V., Petersen, S. E., & Raichle, M. E. (1987). Supplementary motor and premotor responses to actual and imagined hand movements with positron emission tomography. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 13, 1433.

Gould, D., Weinberg, R. S., &Jackson, A. (1980). Mental preparation strategies, cognitions, and strength performances. Journal of Sport Psychology, 4, 379-387.

Hale, B. D. (1982). The effects of internal and external imagery on muscular and ocular concomitants. Journal of Sport Psychology, 4, 379-387.

Hall, C. R., & Martin, K. A. (1997). Measuring movement imagery abilities: A revision of the Movement Imagery Questionnaire. Journal of Mental Imagery, 21, 143-154.

Hall, C., Mack, D., Paivio, A., & Hausenblas, H. (1998). Imagery use by athletes: Development of the Sport Imagery Questionnaire. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 29, 73-89.

Hardy, L., & Callow, N. (1999). Efficacy of external and internal visual imagery perspectives for the enhancement of performance on tasks in which form is important. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 21, 95-112.

Holmes, P. S., & Collins, D. J. (2001). The PETTLEP approach to motor imagery: A functional equivalence model for sport psychologists. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 13, 60-83.

Jeannerod, M. (1994). The representing brain: Neural correlates of motor intention and imagery. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 17, 187-245.

Kohl, R. M., Ellis, S. D., & Roenker, D. L. (1992). Alternating actual and imagery practice: Preliminary theoretical considerations. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 63(2), 162-170.

Lang, P. J. (1985). The cognitive psychophysiology of emotion: Fear and anxiety. In A. H. Tuma & J. D. Maser (Eds.), Anxiety and the anxiety disorders (pp. 131-170). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lang, P. J., Kozak, M. J., Miller, G. A., Levin, D. A., & McLean, A. (1980). Emotional imagery: Conceptual structure and pattern of somato-visceral response. Psychophysiology, 17, 179-192.

Leigh, W. (1990). Arnold: Unauthorized Biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger. London: Pelham Books.

Mayer, J., Bohn, J., Gorlich, P., & Eberspacher, H. (2005). Mental gait training--Effectiveness of a therapy method in the rehabilitation after hip-replacement. Zeitschrift Fur Orthopadie Und Ihre Grenzgebiete, 143(4), 419-423.

McCarthy, M., Beaumont, J. G., Thompson, R., & Pringle, H. (2002). The role of imagery in the rehabilitation of neglect in severely disabled brain injured adults. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 17(5), 407-422.

Sisterhen, L. (2004). Enhancing your musical performance abilities. American Music Teacher, August-September.

Smith, D., & Collins, D. (2004). Mental practice, motor performance and the late CNV. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 26, 412-426.

Smith, D., Collins, D., & Hale, B. (1998). Imagery perspectives and karate performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 16, 103-104.

Smith, D., Collins, D., & Holmes, P. (2003). Impact and mechanism of mental practice effects on strength. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 293-306.

Smith, D., & Holmes, P. (2004). The effect of imagery modality on golf putting performance. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 26, 385-395.

Smith, D., Holmes, P., Whitemore, L., Collins, D., & Devonport, T. (2001). The effect of theoretically-based imagery scripts on hockey penalty flick performance. Journal of Sport Behavior, 24, 408-419.

Smith, D., Wright, C., Allsopp, A., & Westhead, H. (2007). It's All in the Mind: PETTLEP-based Imagery and Sports Performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 19(1), 80-92.

Stevens, J. A., & Phillips-Stoykov, M. E. (2003). Using Motor Imagery in the Rehabilitation of Hemi-paresis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84(7), 1090-1092.

Syer, J., & Connolly, C. (1984). Sporting mind sporting body: An athlete's guide to mental training. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tenenbaum, G., Bar-Eli, M., Hoffman, J. R., Jablonovski, R., Sade, S., & Shitrit, D. (1995). The effect of cognitive and somatic psyching-up techniques on isokinetic leg strength performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 9, 3-7.

Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (2003). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology (3rd edition) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Whetstone. T. S. (1995). Enhancing psychomotor skill development through the use of mental practice. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 32. Retrieved November 15, 2004, from,

White, A., & Hardy, L. (1995). Use of different imagery perspectives on the learning and performance of different motor skills. British Journal of Psychology, 86, 169-180.

Wilkes, R. L., & Summers, J. J. (1984). Cognitions, mediating variables, and strength performance. Journal of Sport Psychology, 6(3) 351-359.

Wilmore, J. H., & Costill, D. L. (1999). Physiology of sport and exercise (2nd edition). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Yue, G., & Cole, K. J. (1992). Strength increases from the motor program: Comparison of training with maximal voluntary and imagined muscle contractions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 67, 1114-1123.

Caroline J. Wright and Dave Smith

Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chester, U.K.

Corresponding author: Dave Smith, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CHI 4131 Tel: 01244 513449, Email:
Table 1. Pre-test, post-test and MIQ-R scores across the
different groups (significance stars represent p < .01)

                            Pre-test           Post-test

                        Mean     SD        Mean       SD

PETTLEP imagery         24.38    16.52     29.26 *    18.03
PETTLEP combination     28.12    11.85     37.19 *    15.12
Traditional imagery     25.40    17.53     27.44      16.61
Physical practice       32.21    18.73     38.33 *    19.64
Control                 26.99    18.56     27.90      18.46

                        MIQ-R (visual)     MIQ-R (kinesthetic)

                        Mean     SD        Mean       SD

PETTLEP imagery         22.10    3.14      21.60      4.33
PETTLEP combination     21.10    4.25      22.40      3.44
Traditional imagery     22.90    4.38      22.40      3.86
Physical practice
COPYRIGHT 2009 Fitness Information Technology Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Wright, Caroline J.; Smith, Dave
Publication:International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Previous Article:ISSP position stand: to sample or to specialize? Seven postulates about youth sport activities that lead to continued participation and elite...
Next Article:Perceptions of sport fans: an exploratory investigation based on aggressive and cheating propensities.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters