Imagery practices have tended to promote a multimodal image (e.g., one referring to visual, kinesthetic, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory stimuli) . From the early studies on mental practice to the recent literature reviews on imagery, the basic conclusion has been that mental imagery can facilitate motor skill acquisition, and also the effectiveness of imagery practice has been based primarily on performance improvements shown using discrete motor skills such as basketball-free throws, tennis serves, golf putts, dart throws, and various laboratory tasks.
If you are unfamiliar with this topic, read more about why women have an increased risk of ACL injury here.
Thought to be because of the wider hip area, women are susceptible to landing with a valgus, or abduction, knee collapse. This valgus collapse can wreak havoc on the knee, most of the time causing a non-contact ACL injury.
How can we improve our landing mechanics? Imagery, or mental practice, helps!
Here are the first few lines of the "discussion" section in the research article regarding this topic:
The findings of this study showed that imagery significantly (1) decreased knee valgus by 15.01% (2), increased knee flexion angle by 38.92%, and (3) increased hip flexion angle by 38.91%. These results are consistent with previous findings that showed imagery effect positively on performance and skills.
Along with physically practicing jumping and landing correctly, coaches, instructors, and even players, should introduce imagery into their comprehensive training program to decrease their risk of injury!