Motor experience with a sport-specific implement affects motor imagery

The present study tested whether sport-specific implements facilitate motor imagery, whereas nonspecific implements disrupt motor imagery. We asked a group of basketball players (experts) and a group of healthy controls (novices) to physically perform (motor execution) and mentally simulate (motor imagery) basketball throws. Subjects produced motor imagery when they were holding a basketball, a volleyball, or nothing. Motor imagery performance was measured by temporal congruence, which is the correspondence between imagery and execution times estimated as (imagery time minus execution time) divided by (imagery time plus execution time), as well as the vividness of motor imagery. Results showed that experts produced greater temporal congruence and vividness of kinesthetic imagery while holding a basketball compared to when they were holding nothing, suggesting a facilitation effect from sport-specific implements. In contrast, experts produced lower temporal congruence and vividness of kinesthetic imagery while holding a volleyball compared to when they were holding nothing, suggesting the interference effect of nonspecific implements. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between temporal congruence and the vividness of kinesthetic imagery in experts while holding a basketball. On the contrary, the implement manipulation did not modulate the temporal congruence of novices. Our findings suggest that motor representation in experts is built on motor experience associated with specific-implement use and thus was subjected to modulation of the implement held. We conclude that sport-specific implements facilitate motor imagery, whereas nonspecific implements could disrupt motor representation in experts.
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Subjects: sports game movement movement precision steering performance capacity basketball experience sport motor learning
Notations: sport games
Tagging: Imagery
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4687
Published in: PeerJ
Published: 2018
Volume: 6
Issue: e4687
Pages: 1-14
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced