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Who Benefits Most From Visualization Training?

People with natural kinesthetic imagery skills benefit more from imagining exercises.

Visualization Training for Golfers

Do you have clients who seem to be able to deeply imagine how a movement would feel in the body? If you do, kinesthetic imagery training may help them improve their sports skills. New research shows that golfers who could imagine the physical feeling of putting while they were visualizing the action improved their subsequent ability to putt more accurately.

University of Limerick researchers in Ireland evaluated the performance benefits of combining action observation and motor imagery exercises among golfers. The scientists also assessed whether those who could more easily sense their own body and how a movement would feel during a task would have an advantage.

Investigators recruited 44 male golfers of different skills levels and reviewed their kinesthetic imagery abilities before allocating the men to a control group or a test group. The good kinesthetic imagers who received the action observation and motor imagery exercises outperformed all participants in putting accuracy. Researchers concluded that those with better kinesthetic imagery ability benefited more from mental training.

The study is in Psychology of Sport & Exercise (2019; 46 [101610]).

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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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