Research findings on this point have been equivocal, in part because in most instances performers tend to use both internal and external imagery, often going back and forth between the two perspectives. thus, at a practical level, it appears that imagery perspective is less important than getting a clear and controllable image. Performers and exercisers should find the perspective they are most comfortable with and go with that perspective. Nevertheless, some preliminary research suggests that the type of task might be important in terms of the most appropriate imagery perspective. Specifically, tasks that are more "open" with changing environments (e.g., soccer, basketball) and time pressures might benefit more from external imagery, whereas imagery of closed tasks (e.g., golf, running, swimming), where the environment is stable and there are no time pressures, might best be performed from an internal perspective.60 Given that most exercises are self-paced and "closed," internal imagery might be preferred for these situa- tions because it is more likely to elicit kinesthetic, feeling cues. Evaluate the individual's current level of imagery skill. It is important to know what clients can and cannot do (i.e., their strengths and weaknesses), as this will help develop the course of the imagery program. For example, if a client has trouble control- ling images, then the fitness or wellness professional would need to take some time to help the client manage this aspect of imagery. Other clients might imagine the wrong thing when asked to image the movement or skill (e.g., in golf, instead of seeing the putt go in the hole, they might imagine a miss, with the ball going far past the hole).
Remember that imagery is a skill (just like physical skills) and that people will inevitably vary in their imagery ability. Measuring someone's ability to use imagery is not easy because it is a mental process and, therefore, is not directly observable. As a result, imagery is typically assessed through questionnaires, which measure diðerent aspects of imagery.