The use of goal-setting and imagery for improving youth basketball players' performance

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Cutrone, Nicola
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The main purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a psychological skills package involving goal-setting and imagery on the enhancement of youth basketball players' game performance. In addition, players' arousal levels were monitored to ascertain whether improved performance corresponded with a decrease in arousal level prior to ames. A single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design was utilized to assess the participants' game performance. The participants were four youth male basketball players. The treatment consisted of five training sessions. The dependant variable, cutting off the baseline, is a skill utilized by the athlete in the defensive zone when an offensive player attempts to dribble the ball to the basket. The results of the raw scores were plotted according to the percentage of correct occurrences of the desired behavior, and assessed visually in order to determine whether a treatment effect had occurred across participants. The results of this study provided support for the hypothesis that utilizing an intervention package consisting of goal-setting and imagery improved the defensive skill performance of youth age basketball players in actual game situations. While these psychological skills did improve game performance, they were not a replacement for performing the actual skill, and should be done in conjunction with the actual skill to achieve the best results. Little support was found for the hypothesis that the intervention ackage would decrease the participants' arousal level. The social validation assessment completed by the athletes clearly indicated that the treatment package was beneficial to all participants.