Document Type : original article


1 Adib Mazandaran Institute of Higher Education, Sari, IRAN

2 Visiting Scholar, Department of Public Health, Kinesiology Indiana University, USA

3 Department of Physical Education, Islamshahr branch, Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr, iran

4 Department of Sport Management, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, IRAN


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on learning a dart throwing skill in children with mild mental retardation.
Method: The subjects included 45 children with mild mental retardation who were equally divided into three groups of instructional self-talk, motivational self-talk, and control. The motor task included darts throwing skill in which children’s darts throwing scores as well as self-efficacy were measured as dependent variables. The Participants performed pre-test (including 15 throws), acquisition phase (including five 5-minute practice blocks), and retention test (including 15 throws). The participants in the instructional self-talk group were asked to repeat the “Center-Target” phase before each attempt during the training phase and then throw the dart. Those in the motivational self-talk group were asked to use a motivational phrase “I Can" before the throw. The children in the control group followed a similar protocol but were not given any self-talk instructions.
Results: The results showed that mentally retarded children who practiced instructional self-talk had better performance than those who used motivational self-talk and the control group in throwing darts in the retention test (P=0.000). Moreover, the motivational self-talk group performed better than the control group in dart throwing in the retention test (P=0.000). Finally, the results showed that children in the instructional and motivational self-talk groups reported higher self-efficacy scores than those in the control group in the retention test (P=0.000), while no significant difference was observed between the instructional and motivational self-talk groups. (P=0.527)
Conclusion: The results of this study show that children with mild mental retardation are able to learn motor skills through self-talk.


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