Imagery is a covert rehearsal technique and a key psychological attribute among skilled golfers (Hellstrӧm, 2009, Sports Medicine, 39, 845–855). Imagery vividness relates to an images lifelikeness and is influential when predicting the function imagery serves. However, minimal research attention has explored this association in samples of highly skilled golfers. Therefore, the aim of our study was to measure the extent imagery vividness predicted the five functions of imagery use in a sample of elite-level golfers. Following institutional ethical approval, 96 highly skilled golfers (Myears = 28.23, s = 11.62) voluntarily consented to participate in this study. Golf handicaps were all recognised by The Council of National Golf Unions and ranged between 4 and 5 (1.38 ± 2.73). We performed hierarchical multiple regression analyses on self-report scores using the Sport Imagery Questionnaire – golf (Gregg and Hall, 2006, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 18, 363–375) and Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire – 2 (Roberts et al., 2008, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 30, 200–221). Based on Hall, Rodgers, & Barr (1990, Sport Psychologist, 4, 1–10) observation that athletes participating in closed-skill sports benefit most from kinesthetic imagery, we entered kinesthetic imagery followed by internal, then external visual imagery into the model. To avoid type 1 error, probability levels were set at P = 0.01. Of the five functions of imagery use, only the cognitivespecific function returned a significant result with 29% of its variance attributable to the vividness of kinesthetic imagery (ΔR2 = .290, F(1, 95) = 39.83, P = .001, b = .-35, β = .-55, P = .001). Vividness of internal and external visual imagery did not add significantly to the models result. Our investigation provides evidence of the importance of developing the vividness aspect of a golfer’s imagery ability. The vividness of kinesthetic imagery appears to play an important role in the functions of imagery use adopted by golfers for the purposes of rehearsing physical skills (e.g. correcting swing technique). Practitioners may wish to consider that imagery vividness is trainable and consequently design bene- ficial exercises to facilitate improvements in this aspect of imagery ability (see Zapala et al., 2015, Journal of Motor Behavior, 47, 312–317). Finally, continued research is needed to explicate whether these results hold for players with golf handicaps outside the rage adopted for this study (e.g. >5).
2015 British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASEs) Conference, Needwood, United Kingdom 1-2 December 2015