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Twenty years of PETTLEP imagery: An update and new direction for simulation-based training

Scott, Matthew W, Wright, David J, Smith, Dave and Holmes, Paul S (2022) Twenty years of PETTLEP imagery: An update and new direction for simulation-based training. Asian Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. ISSN 2667-2391

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Research has shown that motor imagery (MI) interventions, involving the systematic and repeated imagination of visual and kinaesthetic components of movements, can enhance performance in sport. Twenty years ago, Holmes and Collins (2001) published the PETTLEP model as a framework to improve the delivery and outcome of MI interventions. The model outlined seven principles to be considered when designing effective imagery interventions: Physical, Environment, Task, Timing, Learning, Emotion, Perspective (i.e., PETTLEP). The incorporation of these principles within MI interventions was assumed to facilitate performance through the optimisation of a functional equivalence between the neurophysiological substrates of motor preparation and execution, and that of MI. Since its conception, this model has become a standard for many in the delivery of imagery interventions in sport and has been corroborated through research and practice. This 20-year review first covers the reach and impact of this influential model and the more recent empirical investigations related to PETTLEP. We then outline how PETTLEP-based imagery may be integrated with action observation to support an increasingly popular approach to the delivery of imagery interventions in sport. Research indicates that combining these two simulation states can enhance sport performance whilst also providing the sport psychologist more control over the imagery experience than is possible through traditional imagery interventions. This article discusses the application of PETTLEP within a combined action observation and imagery framework and provides guidance for sport psychologists for the creation of new PETTLEP-informed interventions.

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