Have you ever been surprised at how quick you arrived home because you don’t really remember the entire drive?
Perhaps you were daydreaming of what the future holds, or going over your to-do list in your head, or making mental notes of your next big idea. It may seem like a car accident waiting to happen, but the brain and the body are amazing at keeping control when we mentally “check out.” These weird situations is when muscle memory takes over, and it has a lot to do with your athletic game.
“Muscle Memory” is actually a neurologically trained phenomenon where the brain sends signals throughout the nervous system to move the body in a way it has been programmed or repetitively trained to do. The muscles are told what to do by a system in the body that is invisible to us on the outside. Muscles are controlled by nerves which lead back to the spine to travel up and down the cord to the brain for proper communication. If you remove the nerves from the muscle it can do nothing- it is just a lump of useless tissue.
So how can you use muscle memory to your athletic competitive advantage? Of course you will need to practice for hours in the field, in the court, or in the gym to gain mastery of a particular move. But to really enhance muscle memory you can take it one step further by practicing an athletic move all the time.
For example, I was a competitive figure skater as a teenager. I woke up early to hit the ice before school and stayed up late to train well into the evenings. But I also had to go to school, worked a part-time job, and did massive amounts of homework throughout the week. I trained my body while doing all these daily tasks and it made all the difference in my skating.
For example, I would do math problems standing at the table and practicing my spirals. I hung laundry at the dry cleaners where I worked with poised arms and and graceful hands. I would practice one legged sit spins anytime I had to bend down. And my personal favorite was doing footwork routines while watching t.v.
The act of repeating moves while your brain is focused on something else will reinforce the automation of that movement. So if you practice these moves sloppily or without perfect form, then you will reinforce those bad habits. But if you make them precise and strong, then you will train the body to own this movement pattern much faster. Give it a try for 30 days and see how quickly your game improves!
At Desired Health Chiropractic we assess biomechanics and neurology of the body so we can find issues before they make things worse. We want our athletes to feel, function, and perform at their best.
Call our office today for a free assessment of what you can do to improve your movement and enhance your athletic ability- 763-205-6192.