What is muscle memory?
Despite its name, muscle memory is not found in our muscles. Muscle memory is the trained reactions we perform without conscious effort in response to a particular stimulus. Meaning that we will react instinctively to a certain situation.
Muscle memory is when a soccer goalie dives to block a shot. The goalie does not have to consciously think about where the ball might be going and then calculate where to move to block the shot. It happens subconsciously because the muscle memory has been developed through practice and repetition. The same principle applies to a manager dealing with a client’s problem. If the right muscle memory has been built in the manager’s mind applying the solution to the problem will feel natural.
Muscle memory is in the mind
Muscle memory is found in our subconscious mind. We do not have to think consciously about our reactions because they become automated as we train. Our brain is made of cells called neurons and the connections between those neurons are called synapses. Muscle memory is built from specific neurons connecting to each other through particular synapses. Every time we practice something the connection between the neurons associated with that thing become stronger. The stronger the connection the more ‘natural’ the action feels. That is why muscle memory is created through practice, and practice makes permanent.
Developing muscle memory
Muscle memory is developed naturally though what we do. So the secret is not having muscle memory, but developing the right muscle memory. We develop the right muscle memory through deliberate practice. The aspects of deliberate practice are:
1- Practice explicitly intended to improve performance
2- Practice that reaches for objectives just beyond one’s level of competence
3- Practice that provides feedback on results
4- Practice that involves high levels of repetition
Developing the right muscle memory requires work. It requires deliberate practice each day. In each of your training sessions ask yourself if your practice includes all four criteria for deliberate practice. If it is lacking, how can you adapt your training/practice to include every aspect of deliberate practice?
A Tool to develop deliberate practice each day
The mental strength Journal found in The Fearless Mind resource center is an important tool to develop the right muscle memory.
- Step1 of the journal allows you to set a good objective just beyond your current level of competence that will motivate you to improve performance
- Step 2 of the journal gives you the space to write down 2-3 relevant cues to practice and repeat throughout the day
- Step 3&4 is an area for you to give yourself feedback on your performance that day. They help you reinforce your strengths in your subconscious, and identify an area that needs improvement
The Fearless Mind resource center is a critical mental tool for any individual wanting to improve their performance in athletics, business, or personal achievement. Each subscriber gets over 32 individual mental training videos, access to the Mental Strength Journal, the statistics page, and The Zone, a special area with exclusive video content uploaded weekly all for only $20 a month. Click here to sign up The Fearless Mind also offers personal mental strength coaching. To inquire about getting a Fearless Mind coach to work with you personally click here: http://thefearlessmind.com/personal-coaching/