The aim of this study was to investigate whether a simple, 1-week physical-environment-task-timing-learning--emotion--perspective (PETTLEP)-based imagery task would improve penalty taking ability in junior soccer players. Four measures were assessed in order to examine potential moderating variables that could affect the intervention. The intervention involved experimental manipulation in which both outfield players and goalkeepers were rewarded for good performance. In addition, we attempted to simulate the pressure associated with penalty shoot-outs in real soccer tournaments (e. g., by deceiving the participants that they were participating in a national competition in which their results would be compared with the results of similar teams in a domestic publication; by having a spectator visibly present taking notes). The intervention as such did not affect penalty taking performance, but one moderating variable, "peaking under pressure," was found. Players in the intervention group who scored higher on the variable "peaking under pressure" significantly improved their penalty taking ability. The results suggest that players who evaluate themselves peaking under pressure more easily benefit from the imagery intervention. Athletes or practitioners should consider this if experiencing difficulties in their PETTLEP-imagery training in the context of penalty kicks.
- penalty kick