SUN OAKS MARCH 2018 NEWSLETTER
MUSCLE MEMORY: WHAT IS IT? HOW DOES IT HELP?
The feedback loop between our brain and body allows our muscles to remember and refine movement. This brain-body feedback loop is also how we think. It is how we reason, and it is how we make good decisions. Deciding to do something isn’t enough. We must act, and when we do, the feedback loop between the brain that evaluates our action and the body’s response to our action, occurs on an ongoing manner.
The human brain assesses the value and quality of our action with constant adjustments that happen at the subconscious level. When your hand touches a hot stove, information is sent to your brain which results in an immediate movement by the muscles and you jerk your hand away.
Our nerves transport the information to and from the brain. Someone yells, “Throw it here!” My brain hears the invitation and I throw the ball in the direction of the caller. But did I reach the target? My brain, in this case my visual system, will judge how well I tossed the ball. If I miss my target, I rethrow the ball until accuracy can be achieved. I heard the request, I responded by throwing, I observed my results, and I responded by rethrowing. With repeated experience, I can recall what my muscles and joints must do in order to toss the ball the correct distance to the caller.
The next time I hear someone calling for the ball, the auditory information goes into my brain and mixes with visual information that I discovered to be very important the last time I threw the ball. It then mixes with past experience, intelligence, and the memory and the recall of how I preset my muscles and joints in order to lead to the most accurate toss. This is how muscle memory helps us develop and mature.
Muscle memory occurs when we key up our muscles in sports, such as when a tennis player jumps, hops, and rocks in order to get the nerves that go to the muscle, ready to operate in a keyed-up and ready-to-work manner.