In our recently published meta-analysis we show that imagery training in children can be effective (see here).
At the same time, there is much more to find out in order to fully understand whether and how we should use imagery for practice purpose in kids:
The purpose of our meta-analysis was to extend knowledge on the effectiveness of imagery training in adults to the younger population. We were interested in whether imagery training is effective in improving motor task performance and in promoting learning in 6- to 18-year-old children and adolescents. We were furthermore interested in whether the magnitude of the effect varies depending on age, expertise, and intensity of the intervention. In line with our hypothesis, the meta-analysis revealed a medium positive overall effect on performance. Results from moderator analyses were partly in line with our hypotheses, while some did not allow for interpretation. Based on the 19 studies included that reported 110 effect sizes, children aged 10 years and older profit from imagery training. No conclusion can be drawn for younger children due to the low number of studies. Regarding expertise, results confirmed that imagery training is effective both in unskilled and skilled children.
Many thanks to Janna Klüver (former student at Bielefeld University) and Bianca Simonsmeier (Educational Psychology at Trier University) for this supportive and enjoyable collaboration!