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]).