Have you ever taken time off from golf, tennis or other sport due to an injury, work or simply because it was the offseason? When you return, usually you need to ‘knock-off a little rust.’ However, you normally return to your peak performance level much faster than it took when you first learned. This is due to muscle memory!
Motor skills are stored in the memory section of our brains, and once you have taught your body to do something, your mind creates a mental blueprint of it. This is why it is so important to practice, practice practice! It takes hours of practicing repeated shots to advance your game and perform at a higher level.
By implementing repeated training exercises, impulses travelling from the brain throughout the nervous system to the muscles gradually speed up. Thus shortening time between when the brain decides to complete a shot, or movement, to when the muscles actually start to move and perform.
During practice, you will undoubtedly hit bad shots. Positive thinking and repeated reacting play a major role in building desired muscle memory. You want to think about what you did wrong, and then immediately correct it. Otherwise, your brain will think you hit a good shot. Unless it is corrected you will continue hitting these shots. Always focus on good experiences, and positive thoughts when playing and practicing.
At the end of the day, always practice like you play. If you give 100% during practice, it will show when it comes to game time.
-Nick, Team ScoreBand
(Nick is a 4.5 tennis player and has been a professional tennis instructor since he was 15. His golf muscle memory is still a work in progress though!)
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