The general purpose of this dissertation was to determine the effects of cognitive general (CG; images of game plans and strategies) imagery use on tactical decision-making in curling. This dissertation is divided into four studies. Study 1 outlines the two-stage development of the Curling Strategy Assessment Tool (CSAT-2), a computerized measure of curlers’ tactical decision-making (i.e., response accuracy and response speed). During Phase 1, 123 curlers evaluated 75 curling scenarios via an online survey. Twenty-one scenarios showed acceptable interrater agreement for a correct shot option. Pilot testing of the original version of the CSAT indicated that modifications were needed to incorporate strategy style. Thus, Phase 2 was conducted to have 93 updated scenarios assessed by three expert raters (i.e., national-level curling coaches). This process resulted in 104 scenarios that could be used to assess tactical decision-making in curlers undergoing CG imagery interventions using the CSAT-2.
Study 2 consisted of a six-week CG imagery intervention aimed at improving the tactical decision-making abilities of varsity curlers. CSAT data indicated that curlers’ response time improved from baseline to post-intervention (p < .05). Study 3 examined the effects of an eight-week CG imagery training program on the tactical decision-making abilities of non-elite curlers using a single-subject multiple-baseline design. One curler improved her response accuracy and two curlers decreased their response time following the intervention. In order to gain a greater understanding of CG imagery use, Study 4 sought to determine how CG imagery is employed in curling using focus groups. Results revealed that skips use CG imagery to fulfill both cognitive and motivational functions, depending on the situation.
Overall, this dissertation supports the use of CG imagery to improve tactical decision-making and the use of the CSAT to assess tactical decision-making abilities in curlers. From a practical standpoint, CG imagery training could help improve curlers’ tactical decision-making abilities.