Comparative efficacy of imagery-based relaxation and abbreviated muscle relaxation training on the reaction ability of netball players

Srilekha Saha, Soumendra Saha, Nurfarrah Ezzaty Mohd Zahir, Foujia Huda


In this study, we investigated the benefits of differential psychotherapeutic intervention techniques on the modification of autonomic competence and its impact on the visual reaction ability of young competitive netball players. Thirty-six young female netball players with an age range of 18–24 years were recruited. Upon baseline evaluation of psychomotor (reaction time); physiological (resting heart-rate and VO2max) and psychobiological (Sc components: latency, amplitude and recovery time) indices, we categorised the subjects into three groups: Group I (control group in which the subjects did not receive any intervention), Group II (experimental group in which the subjects received abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation (APMR) training) and Group III (experimental group in which the subjects received imagery-based relaxation intervention (IRT) training). The subjects from the experimental groups (Group I and Group II) were subjected to their respective interventions (APMR and IRT) for 24 sessions following the protocol, viz., 20 min/day, 2 days/week for 12 weeks). After six weeks of intervention, we conducted mid-term evaluation on all of the aforementioned parameters that had been determined during baseline evaluation. Following this, intervention sessions were continued using the same protocol for six more weeks. At the end of twelfth week, we conducted post-intervention assessment on all psychological, psychomotor and psychobiological variables to verify the effect of training on the dependent measures. Based on the results, we found that there are improvements in various parameters during the mid-term evaluation and post-intervention analysis, which can be rationally attributed to the differential therapeutic interventions introduced to the subjects of the experimental groups. The results suggest that both of the intervention techniques facilitate in improving the reaction ability whereas our in-depth analysis clarifies that netball players with a relatively lower phasic Sc but with higher extent of amplitude, had faster recovery which will be highly beneficial since they are able to regulate their task-focus well enough to yield faster agile reaction performance.


Imagery-based relaxation, muscle relaxation, reaction ability

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