A preliminary study of mental and physical practice on kayak wet exit skill

Craig Mahoney, Marie Millard, Jeanette Wardrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Outdoor activities and high-risk water sports often create anxiety in participants who feel concern about danger. Relaxation and imagery, often used to enhance training, can improve performance of skills in a variety of sports. The aim of this study was to establish whether Mental Practice, Physical Practice, Combined Mental and Physical Practice, or No Practice would affect the acquisition of skill for a kayak wet exit. 60 postprimary girls aged 11-16 yr., competent swimmers but without previous experience in kayaking, gave their informed consent to be in the study. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of the four experimental groups. Following their practice periods, each group performed three kayak wet exit attempts (unseen by others); these were videotaped for later analysis by an observer. The participant and an independent observer, who was blind to the allocation of practice group, then used a 6-point rating scale to assess each performance. Participants' and the observer's ratings were analysed by separate Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance which indicated significantly different distributions of groups, showing Physical Practice superior to No Practice and Mental Practice. While physical practice remained effective in improving technique, combinations of mental and physical practice were better than no practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-984
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


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