Norma Boetel

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Physical Education


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of physical practice, mental practice, and mental-physical practice upon the learning of selected basic tumbling stunts. The subjects chosen were 21 volunteer women from the required physical education classes at South Dakota State University. The 21 women were placed by a table of random numbers into a physical practice group, a mental practice group, and a mental-physical practice group. The experimental groups were given tumbling instructions by the author three times per week. The first meeting of each group was devoted to instruction and an explanation of the factors relative to the completion of the study. The second through the 15th meetings were spent practicing the stunts chosen for the study. The physical practice group physically performed each stunt daily for a six-minute period; the mental practice group mentally rehearsed the stunts for six minutes each; the mental-physical practice group physically performed the stunts one-half of the period, and the remaining time was spent mentally visualizing the stunt. Every subject was rated on a tumbling test in the 16th and the 17th day by a group of five judges. Each judge evaluated one specific point of a particular stunt. As a result of the findings obtained during this investigation, the following conclusions appear warranted. The statistical difference between the physical practice group and the mental-physical practice group was not statistically significant. In comparing the combination of the physical practice and mental-physical practice groups with the mental group, a high statistical significance was found. This indicated that the use of mental practice for the acquisition of tumbling skills was inferior was inferior to the other two teaching methods.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Perceptual-motor learning
Learning -- Physiological aspects
Learning, Psychology of


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University