The effects of different amounts of mental practice on the performance of a motor skill were studied. Research supports the effectiveness of mental practice on performance; however, little is known about how much practice is needed and whether there is an optimal amount for these practice effects. Participants, 209 students ages 18 to 44 years (M = 20.5, SD = 2.9), completed a pre- and posttest of dart throwing with the nonpreferred hand. In the practice phase, participants completed either 25 (Mental Practice 25), 50 (Mental Practice 50), or 100 (Mental Practice 100) trials of the darts task or 50 trials of a catching task (Catching Task). Performance for all groups improved from pre- to posttest. Improvements for the three mental practice groups were greater than for the Catching Task group; however, there were no differences for the three Mental Practice groups. The findings support the positive effect of mental practice over a control condition and suggest that small amounts of mental practice may be sufficient for performance improvements, at least for a simple motor skill.
Field of Research
170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
Socio Economic Objective
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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