Difference in Imagery use between Full-contact and Limited contact sports

Alberto Filgueiras, Gabriela Hora, Adriana Lacerda, Yago Carioca Baltar, Bruno Pantanal Barreto, Raquel Melo, Leonardo Rosa Habib, Paulo Sergio Ribeiro


Imagery is a set of techniques used in sport psychology to help athletes to improve skill performance, to boost motivation, to increase emotional management and to facilitate motor learning. Evidence suggests that individual differences explain the frequency of imagery use in sport. However, recent studies suggest that imagery is also linked to types of sport. The present study aimed to understand whether elite athletes from Full-contact and Limited contact sports differ regarding imagery use. The research had 199 participants divided in Full-contact (N=85) and Limited contact (N=114) sport categories. Demographics and frequency of imagery use were collected. A Canonical Discriminant Analysis was performed to assess the level of group discrimination each variable presented. Results suggested that Full-contact elite athletes train for more hours and use Cognitive Specific imagery more frequently than Limited contact professional athletes; whereas, this last group had significantly more sport psychologists working for them and higher frequency of Motivational Specific and Cognitive General imagery use. These findings altogether provide evidence that differences in imagery use can be also explained by sport categories, and sport psychologists must be aware of the particularities of each type of sport.

Palabras clave

Imagery; Elite athletes; Sport psychology; Types of sport; High performance

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Sociedad Iberoamericana de Psicología del Deporte (SIPD) División de Psicología de la Actividad Física y el Deporte (PACFD)Sociedad Iberoamericana de Psicología del Deporte