1991, 72, 119-122
Perceptual and Motor Skills 1991
FLOTATION REST AND IMAGERY IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF
COLLEGIATE BASKETBALL PERFORMANCE
U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston
BARABASZ AND MARIANNE BARABASZ
Washington State University
expert collegiate basketball players were exposed to either imagery
training only or restricted environmental stimulation (REST) with Imagery training.
The REST group showed significantly better performance on both oblect~ve game per-
formance and coaches' blind ratings.
Restricted Environmental Stimulation (REST) enhances mental imagery
press). REST combined with imagery training can
produce significant improvements in athletic performance (McAleney,
M. Barabasz, 1990; Lee
Hewitt, 1987). Lee and Hewitt
(1987) employed multiple REST sessions with novice and intermediate com-
petitive gymnasts and found improvement on the basis of judges' ratings of
performance. Only one controlled investigation of improved athletic perform-
ance by REST has been completed with expert players, these being tennis
players studied by McAleney, A.
Barabasz, and M. Barabasz (1990) who
reported significant improvement in first service winners in actual intercolle-
giate competition. Now, the present study focused on expert collegiate
basketball players to provide a test of the effects of REST and imagery on
both objective and subjective measures of performance.
Male basketball players
from two major university varsity teams
volunteered for a study of "mental imagery and sports performance" during
the 1988-89 basketball season. Coaches for each team agreed to allow solici-
tation of subjects.
but one player from each team volunteered. Subjects
from each team were assigned to a random ordered sequence of either REST
plus imagery (n
11) or imagery only (n
'This report is based on a dissertation by the first author (1990) at Washington State Uni-
versity. Reprint requests should be addressed to Prof. Arreed Barabasz, Ed. D., Ph.D., Director,
Hypnosis and REST Laboratory, Washington State University, Cleveland
Detailed information on
measures appears elsewhere (Wagaman,
1990). Briefly, performance (PERF) scores are objective measures based on
collegiate or professional basketball game performance statistics. Concurrent
validity coefficients range from .73 to .83. The PERF score is derived from
Sonstroem and Bernardo's (1982) formula which, for example, would score a
plus point for successful shooting or passing and
minus point for a foul or
traveling. To provide a plateau for performance aggregated PERF scores were
caIcuIated for each pIayer over 11 games prior
beginning the study and
over the five games immediately after completion of treatment. The
Performance Evaluation Questionnaire is a standardized coaches' report form
(AAHPERD, 1984) which was filled out pre- and posttreatment by coaches
who were blind to subjects' group assignment. The Performance Ques-
1987) is a short self-report measure of subjects'
perceptions of treatment effects on their basketball performance. These data
were obtained within five days of completion of
The Le and Hewitt (1987) tape of enhancement of athletic perform-
ance was adapted for use with basketball players by substituting for
gymnastic imagery visualization in successful game performance of shooting,
passing. The 20-min. audiotape emphasized relaxation and vi-
sualization of skills in competition.
transcript of the tape is given by
REST subjects floated supine on a 20% solution of water and epsom
salts at about
in a light-proof, sound-attenuating fiberglass tank. As
in the McAleney,
(1990) study, an intercommunication system integral
to the Flotarium tank facilitated transmission of the imagery tape.
Imagery-only subjects sat in a comfortable chair in a lighted office. No
attempt was made to attenuate normal ambient sound levels. These subjects
were free to study or simply to sit comfortably before and after the tape was
After collection of
pretreatment performance measures, subjects were
exposed to the above conditions for six sessions over a 5-wk. period.
Consistent with arrangements described by McAleney,
(1990), the im-
agery tape was played at the 30-min. point of each session.
Details of analyses are reported by Wagaman (1990). Briefly, a split-plot
analysis of variance on PERF scores from pre- and posttreatment games for
both groups showed a significant interaction (pre-post
FLOTATION RESTIIMAGERY FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS
ScheffC test showed the REST group (M
scored significantly (p< .01) higher than the imagery-only group
ScheffC test contrasting scores for the five subjects who com-
pleted two REST sessions between games with those for six subjects
completing only one session between games was also significant (pc.05).
Subjects exposed to two REST sessions between games showed higher PERF
13.0) than subjects who experienced REST only once
between games (M
3.6). The baseline pretreatment PERF scores
were not significantly different between groups
.41, p> .05).
Kruskall-Wallis one-way analysis of variance was calculated on
coaches' blind rankings of players immediately after each of the 11 pretreat-
ment games and immediately after each of the five posttreatment games.
The REST subjects were rated as significantly (p< .05) better than the Imag-
ery-only subjects on passing (REST M rank
4.9, Imagery-only M rank
and shooting (REST M rank
5.0, Imagery-only M
7.0) but not on drib-
bling, defense, or over-all skill.
one-way analysis of variance of subjects' ratings of treatment ef-
fectiveness (Performance Questionnaire scores) showed no significant (p>
.05) difference between the REST group
Imagery-only group (M
The present study was the first to show significant effects of REST for
intercollegiate varsity basketball players. The findings confirm that flotation
REST, with taped imagery, produces better performance than the same im-
agery training without REST. The REST-imagery group's performance was
better than that of the Imagery-only group on both objective game perform-
ance scores and coaches' blind ratings of passing and shooting. REST appears
to increase the effectiveness of imagery training. The potential contribution
of expectancy to these results appears to be limited since subjects' ratings of
perceived effectiveness showed only neutral to
slight effect and no signifi-
cant difference between REST and the Imagery-only group. Further research,
employing a suitably large
and several teams, should address the issue of
REST effects and specificity of imagery according to the various positions
PHYSICAL EDUCATION, RECREATION
Renton, VA: Author.
Restricted environmental stimulation and the enhancement of hyp-
lnrernational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,
(in ress) Flotation REST elicits spontaneous hypnosis. In A. Barabasz
Clinical and experimental Restricted Environmental Stimulation: new de-
New York: Springer-Verlag.
Using visual imagery in
flotation tank to improve gymnastic
performance and reduce physical symptoms.
International Journal of Sport Prychology,
Effects of flotation Restricted
Environmental Stimulation on intercollegiate tennis performance.
Perceptual and Motor
Intraindividual pregame state anxiety and basketball
performance: a re-examination of the inverted-U curve.
Journal of Sport Psychology,
Effects of flotation restricted environmental stimulation on intercolle-
giate basketball performance. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Washington State