Many golf instructors and players — from PGA Tour professionals to amateurs and even sports psychologists — talk about practicing swinging, using training aids and drills and then ultimately hitting practice balls to learn and ingrain ¢MUSCLE MEMORY.¢
The big question I will now ask, is there such a thing as muscle memory?
It seems that Muscle Memory has to be true as wide spread and used and stated as a matter of fact in the process of learning and acquiring motion skill especially in sports.
I believed it and spoke of it and used it in my teaching.
But then one day I was reading a sports psychology book, and the author made a statement that hit me like a punch in the nose and changed my thinking process and teaching.
I immediately changed from teaching and talking ¢Muscle Memory¢ to using my new term of:
Let¢s take a look at why.
This author basically stated that there is no such thing as muscle memory, it is mental memory.
So, for starters let¢s look at some definitions as listed in Webster¢s New World Dictionary.
Muscle: Noun; 1. Any body organ consisting of fibrous tissue that can be contracted and expanded to produce body movements.
Memory: noun; 1. The power or act of remembering. 2. All that one remembers.
Mind: noun; 1. Memory 2. Opinion 3. The seat of consciousness in which thinking and feeling takes place. 4. Intellect.
From these definitions it is obvious that anything to do with thinking and feeling happens in the mind and is controlled and is remembered in the mind.
Muscles do not have a brain.
Muscles only work because the brain sends messages to them to work.
And, as the muscles work, the brain can monitor the motion; remember what the muscles did and what it feels like.
Right now you are either picking yourself off the floor as I did with this revelation or epiphany if we want to get a little more holistic, or you might be thinking this is semantics and who cares.
The key here is the learning experience can be maximized in both shortening the learning time need to acquire a skill as well as the degree or height of the learning and retention of the skill.
This elevated degree of learning happens when one understands how the human mind works in the process of learning acquired motor skill such as the golf swing.
Let me explain.
When one believes that learning to swing a club and remember the motion is ¢Muscle Memory¢ I believe the mind is not fully engaged in the process and thus learning will be at a much lower level or intensity and the retention of what was felt and learned will also be stored at a lower level for re-capture to perform the motion/swing say when you leave the range to play on the course, or the next time you come out to practice or play.
When you believe that ¢Mental Memory¢ is what learns and remembers, you have more actively and powerfully engaged your mind, the real remembering and feeling factory.
I guess that down deep I always knew the mind was the main player and key to learning by the way I approached giving my lessons.
I always, in the first one or two lessons did a lot of explaining of the swing in terms of ¢what has to happen,¢ ¢why does it have to happen¢ and ¢how do you make it happen¢ as it applies to physics and the human physiology for swinging the club to hit the ball.
I have taken a lot of heat over the years for talking too much in the first few lessons and the student not hitting enough balls.
After all, Hogan said, and many people believe, ¢learning a swing is in the dirt.¢
That is beating balls; ball after ball is how you learn the swing.
I disagree, because learning takes place only in the mind.
I believe that you first have to know the what, why and how to in your mind before your muscles can move correctly because it is the mind that tells the muscles to move and how to move based on the understanding of the why.
My mantra for learning is:
¢knowledge and understanding leads to commitment and conviction.¢
Think of your friends and the tour players we see on TV, who are always changing their swing, their theory, or their teacher.
Think of yourself if you are constantly changing and tinkering with your swing. If you do no have knowledge and understanding there is no real learning and remembering. And with no real learning there is no commitment and conviction.
You are just going through the motions.
The brain has to be 100 % engaged in all practice for learning especially motion skills.
One late afternoon after working with a student who flew in to see me for a full day of lessons, and who had made great progress and was thrilled with his new learned skills, I was driving him to the parking lot to catch is ride to the airport.
As we were riding he mentioned how much he learned and how well he was hitting it in only the first lesson.
Then he asked me question normal for one who believes in Muscle Memory.
¢How long do you think it will be before I don¢t have to think about my swing?¢
I slammed on the brakes so hard that he nearly went through the windshield of the cart, and I replied, NEVER.
Because your muscles don¢t move or fire until your brain tells them.
And, they move only in the way your brain tells them to move.
So the first thing is your brain has to decide what you are going to do, which then creates or leads the how you have to move to create the swing movement to hit the shot you want to play.
The brain is powerful thing, they say more powerful than any computer on earth.
But, just like a computer it has to be programmed properly, and the right files have to be loaded to perform the desired task.
So, engage your mind more in your practice and playing.
Know and believe your swing theory and principles are correct as the Peak Performance Swing is because it is based on the facts of physics and human physiology.
With that confidence and conviction, you will learn and remember more of the intricacies of your every muscle movement, muscle tone, and power level of your swing.
Your feeling and sensing with go to a super heightened level, and you will see you¢re your swing become more consistent and reliable, your playing abilities improve dramatically with confidence and consistency, and your scores will go lower.
Engage your mind¢¦to engage your swing¢¦through ¢Mental Memory. ¢
You can grab your Peak Performance Golf Swing DVD's with free shipping and a 12 month, 100% money-back guarantee now at:
Talk to you soon,
“The Swing Surgeon”