A Closer Look at How Self-Talk Influences Skilled Basketball Performance

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Empirical literature addressing the effectiveness of self-talk for expert performers is lacking. We addressed this shortcoming within the existent literature and examined the comparative effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on basketball free throw shooting accuracy and salient movement kinematics. We recruited twenty professional basketball players to participate in a 2 x 2 pre/post-test experiment. Free throw accuracy and movement patterns were recorded, with the latter subsequently used to calculate elbow-wrist coordination variability. Results indicated superior shooting accuracy and reduced movement coordination variability for instructional self-talk compared to baseline conditions whereas, no differences emerged for motivational self-talk. Findings from the study help practitioners to better guide skilled performers how best to use self-talk; an area in urgent need of further research.


  • Inatructional Self-talk, Motivational Self-talk, Coordination variability, Accuracy, Professional Sport
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages23
JournalSport Psychologist
Issue number1
Early online date12 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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