Muscle Memory Makes Great Athletes
There’s something about great athletes that people admire. It’s not just natural talents that gets them far, that makes them reach the spot light, that has everyone cheering for them and kids wishing to be like them when they’re older… What gets them to that superior level of play is muscle memory. What is muscle memory? How does one achieve this muscle memory? Let’s take a look!
Definition of muscle memory
:the ability to repeat a specific muscular movement with improved efficiency and accuracy that is acquired through practice and repetition. Merriam Webster Dictionary
- Example: They practice their routines with mind-numbing repetitiveness, for hours and days, weeks and years, so that each spinning, twisting landing off the high bar becomes an act of muscle memory.—E. M. Swift
What Does It All Mean?
Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Wikipedia
So basically it’s practice equals permanent! Even the mind-numbing easy basic things need continuous practice to keep the optimal performance (and that goes for everything in life).
There are studies that date far back to the early 1900’s as philosophers tried to understand muscle memory. A leading pioneer by the name of Edward Thorndike, was one among a few who became aware that learning can occur without conscious awareness. A study performed with subjects learning to type and then stopping for a 25yr period, then told to type again suggests that motor memory (muscle memory) is stored in the brain and therefore is much easier to relearn! The skills we don’t practice/repeat over and over again are stored into our memory encoding stage, which is the fragile short-term stage. The people who practice and repeat a skill over and over again are using the memory consolidation stage which is the stable long-term memory that makes you great at what you do.
The Take Away…
Eloise, why did you write the take away instead of ‘In conclusion?’ For fun Peeps! ~wink~
kmmm, clearing throat…In conclusion…if you want to be exceptional in a skill it’s best to learn it and repeat it until you hate it (only kidding). Everything takes practice and doing over and over again to be a master of your domain. Being Natural at a skill only gets you so far, so find your passion and do it often, whether you’re an athlete, musician, stylist, writer, etc… I wish you best in whatever you pursue.
Take care readers!