Shooters typically make great efforts to strengthen their physical and motor abilities, but are often less aware of the cognitive and psychological factors that affect their performance and skill performance. Therefore, it seems that shooters, especially novice shooters, are not very familiar with the mental skills related to shooting and pay less attention to mental training. However, cognitive training has recently been recognized as one of the basic skills required in perceptual-motor activities. The present study was conducted to determine the effect of training cognitive imaging strategies versus training of motor representation strategies on the acquisition and retention of shooting skills. This randomized controlled clinical trial study was performed on 45 undergraduate military science students with an age limit of 18 to 25 years, studying in the second semester of 1997-98. Subjects were randomly selected from a university of military sciences in Tehran and randomly divided into three groups of mental imagery, motor representation and control using a table of random numbers. The intervention groups received a three-week mental imagery training program, motor representation along with shooting training (five sessions per week). The control group only participated in shooting training. In order to evaluate the performance of shooters in the pre-test, post-test and memorization stages, a SCAT machine was used. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS20 software and p value less than 0.05 was considered significant. The results of combined analysis of variance showed that both cognitive imaging and motor representation interventions had a significant effect on improving the record of novice military shooters (P≤0.05). The results showed that although there was no significant difference between motor representation and cognitive imaging groups in the post-test stage, however, a significant difference was observed between the motor representation and cognitive imaging groups (P = 0.006) in the retention stage. The results show that cognitive imagery and motor representation interventions can improve the performance of novice military shooters, although motor representation is more likely to be effective than cognitive imagery
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