Mental contrasting in DanceSport: The champion's mindset

Isabelle Qiyin Tay, Timothy Jacob Valshtein, Nora Rebekka Krott, Gabriele Oettingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The self-regulation strategy of mental contrasting of a desired future with the obstacles of current reality has been shown to spur effort and successful performance. We investigated the spontaneous use of mental contrasting in the context of professional DanceSport. Higher- and lower-performing DanceSport athlete couples elaborated on their wishes regarding training and an upcoming competition. We content analyzed couples’ spontaneous mental strategy while elaborating their wishes and related the mental strategy to couples’ recorded ranking and to their performance at the upcoming competition. Higher-performing couples, relative to lower-performing couples, engaged in more spontaneous mental contrasting when elaborating on training- and competition wishes. Among higher-performing couples, spontaneous mental contrasting predicted successful performance at the competition. The results suggest that mental contrasting appears to be an effective self-regulation strategy that can spur DanceSport athletes’ performance. These benefits could possibly extend to the wider field of competitive athletics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101511
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Athletics
  • DanceSport
  • Mental contrasting
  • Mental imagery
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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