Acute effect of motor imagery on basketball players’ free throw performance and self-efficacy.

Thiago Ferreira Dias Kanthack, Marcelo Bigliassi, Lenamar Fiorese Vieira, Leandro Ricardo Altimari


It is becoming ever more common for the difference between winning and losing in sport to be decided by the smallest details. In basketball, free throws can be a differentiating factor between teams and motor imagery (IMA) has been studied as a potential ergogenic agent to improve free throw performance, but little attention as been given to its acute effects, particularly among athletes. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of a single mental training session on the free throw performance and self-efficacy of young athletes. Eleven young basketball players from the Federação Paulista de Basquete junior league were enrolled on the study. Players were either allocated to an IMA group and watched a 1 minute video before a 3-minute motor imagery session, or to a control group and were rested for 4 minutes, before taking 10 free throw shots in both cases. All participants completed a self-efficacy questionnaire before and after the intervention. Statistical analysis was conducted using the Mann-Whitney U test and the Wilcoxon test, plus measures of Smallest Worthwhile Change (SWC). There were no significant difference between median results for the two groups, but the SWC statistic indicated an 84% likelihood that mental training had a beneficial effect on performance in the first two free throws. It is concluded that motor imagery used in advance has an 84% chance of having a beneficial effect on performance in up to two free throws.


Autoeficácia; Desempenho atlético; Psicologia aplicada.

Full Text:



The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.