Background Injury prevention training focuses on physical execution of movement, but does not typically address mental aspects important for sport. A novel training model with integrated mental training, MOTor Imagery to Facilitate Sensorimotor Re-Learning (MOTIFS), is a potential method of addressing important mental and physical training aspects.
Objective To evaluate enjoyment of MOTIFS training. The primary hypothesis was that participants would report greater enjoyment following MOTIFS training than injury prevention (IP) training exercises.
Design Block-randomized 2x2 cross-over trial.
Setting Recreational Swedish athletes tested at a university lab.
Patients (or Participants) Thirty athletes (18–31 years, 50% women) currently or previously active in team ball sports were included. Participants with pain or injury preventing jump and/or directional changes were excluded.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) MOTIFS training integrated equipment and sport-specific experiences into physical exercises to increase individualized realism and meaning. The IP training exercise condition included solely physical exercise.
Main Outcome Measurements The main outcome was the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). Secondary outcomes included Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM; subscales Valence, Arousal, Dominance), Borg’s scale of perceived exertion (RPE), training duration, and maximum pulse.
Results PACES scores were better following MOTIFS training compared with IPT (mean diff 24.67; 95% CI 30.34;-19.00). SAM Valence (median 2, quartiles 1–3), Arousal (median 1; quartiles 0–2.25), and Dominance (median 0.5; quartiles 0–2), as well as RPE (med 1; quartiles -0.25–2), and maximum (median 7.50; quartiles 0.25–16.75) pulse were higher following MOTIFS training. MOTIFS training took 5.34 minutes longer (95% CI -0.17;-0.73).
Conclusions Athletes perceived MOTIFS training as more enjoyable and reported more positive psychological responses than IP training exercises. Results indicate MOTIFS training is more fun and increases physical exertion, potentially improving IP training exercise quality and adherence by increasing athlete involvement and sport relevance. MOTIFS training took more time, so this should be taken into account during planning of exercises.