Mental imagery and sport: training and rehabilitation.
Ms Juliette HURTIERa, Mr Guillaume BERTELOOTa, Dr Marc JULIAa, Dr Claire DE LABACHELERIEa
a CHU Montpellier
Objective: Mental imagery consists of mentally picturing an action without actually doing the action in real life.
Through a systematic literature review, we investigate the benefits of using mental imagery as a training technique (to enhance sport performances), or as a rehabilitation method after sport injury.
Method: A systematic literature research in Medline, PubMed and EMBASE databases was performed with following keywords: “mental imagery”, “motor imagery” ,“sport performance” and “sport rehabilitation”. Quality of the studies was assessed using a “Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias". This systematic literature review was conducted to determine the impact of mental imagery on some criteria of performance such as: muscles strength, flexibility, stability, gesture’s accuracy, positioning of the body, as well as athletic performances in general. Studies highlighting the interest of mental imagery in sport rehabilitation are rare but results are promising. Selected and conducted works are controlled and randomized.
Results and conclusion: According to this review, we can say that mental imagery is beneficial both in sport enhancing performance and in rehabilitation after sport injury.
However, it would be beneficial to consider and pursue more advanced and better quality studies in order to confirm this data.
Keywords : mental imagery, motor imagery, sport performance, sport rehabilitation, training, sporting injury