Thoughts Become Things: A Grounded Cognition Approach to Imagery Use in the Power Clean

Lindsay, Riki
Oldham, Tony
Storey, Adam
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Master of Sport and Exercise
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Auckland University of Technology

While it is widely argued that personalised imagery scripts are beneficial to performers, theory and data to support this contention is sparse. The current study aims to address these issues by investigating: Firstly, what differences in content and description arise from the use of generic and personalised scripts aimed at improving performance in the Power Clean (PC). Secondly, if any differences are reflected in relevant kinematic measures. Sixteen resistance trained individuals were randomly allocated to one of two conditions: personalised imagery (PI), or generic imagery (GI). During baseline testing, participants performed a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) PC along with a recall test which consisted of giving a personal description of the power clean. Personal descriptions of the PC were used to construct imagery scripts for the PI group. Scripts for the GI group were derived from a standard description of the PC obtained from an international level Olympic-Weightlifting coach and current literature on PC technique. Participants completed three PC training sessions per week and listened to an audio-recorded version of their given imagery scripts five times per week. At the end of the training period descriptions of the PC were compared along with kinematic and performance variables including; peak power (PP), peak force (PF), peak velocity (PV) at 80, 90 and 100% of the participants’ 1RM and horizontal bar displacement. There was a significant difference between post-test adjectives used between groups (ES=1.37±1.27). The PI group showed a meaningful increase (23.4 ± 7.8 to 31.1 ± 18.1) compared to a decrease in the GI group (14.6 ± 8.7 to 13.6 ± 7.8). At 100% testing load the PI group experienced changes to Dx2 and DxT which saw the bar caught closer to the participants’ centre of mass in post-testing. The PI group showed small to moderate improvements in PF (80 and 90%) and PV (100%). Findings suggest that PI scripts result in different descriptions of movements and that these differences are of benefit to performance.

Skill acquisition , Sports psychology , Imagery , Mental rehearsal , Power clean
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