From Science Daily:

Imagine standing on a basketball court, throwing the basketball and watching it arc into the net, followed by a soft swoosh sound.

Chances are you’ll make that shot without a problem if you’ve been practicing on the court regularly, according to research by Phillip Post, associate professor in the Kinesiology and Dance Department in the College of Education at New Mexico State University. Post is studying the link between imagery and how it impacts motor learning and sport performance. Recently, Post presented his research at an international conference at Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua.

“Specifically, I presented research, mostly research that I conducted, on the efficacy of using imagery to enhance learning or motor performance of well-rehearsed tasks,” Post said. “The research presented suggests that imagery might be effective for enhancing learner’s skill acquisition of tasks that contain greater cognitive elements, such as tasks that require decision making or remembering a sequence or pattern, as opposed to motor elements, or tasks that require correct skill execution, like a soccer kick. However, with more experienced performers imagery appears to be effective on a range of tasks, including both motor and cognitive. In addition to this research I discussed imagery theories and how to best apply the mental skill.”

At his lab on campus, Post is exploring two different lines of research. One looks at the application of imagery, particularly looking at allowing learners to acquire new skills and seeing how mentally rehearsing a particular sports skill or motor task affects their skill…

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