So you have heard the term muscle memory and you havn’t thought that much about it. In fact every time you hear it it sounds like your brain playing sudoku while doing some kind of push up simultaneously. In short it doesn’t sound important at all.
But this is where you are wrong. Muscle memory is something most of us have taken for granted over the years as we learn to walk, skip, jump,touch type, ride a bicycle and in aerial; learn those amazing moves. What we don’t realise is what our brain is doing while we are learning all of these new skills and just how hard our brain is working!!
HOW DOES IT WORK
Muscle memory is essential the task of building up a skill through the use of repetition which will train our brain to learn how to do it over time with little or no effort. I have been working on climbs and hip keys for a year because my muscle memory was so weak in the areas of moving my legs in general. Every little action from lifting up in a L-sit, to lowering them down, wrapping my leg around the silk and just plain old standing all had to be build up from scratch. Image a baby learning to walk for the first time and teaching them to stand on one foot. Impossible! Lots of cute wobbling and falling down, thats is exactly how it was for me (minus the cute part).
HOW TO USE IT TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
Because it is essentially the task of repetition, the best way to achieve your aerial goals is to use repetition. When you learn something new and you find it difficult it is usually do to the fact its foreign to your brain and not that you are week or incapable of doing it. Instead you need to change your focus and work on that skill so that it becomes easy. Here are a few tricks I have picked up that can help:
- Have someone spot you
Have your instructor watch you do it a few times and tell you what areas you need to work on and start with that. Just before you try, in your mind chant the areas that need correcting and try to apply them one at a time s.l.o.w.l.y. This is especially good for a move that you know you can do but always seem to fumble your way through. Take your time, its not a race!
- Break it down
I am by no means an expert in aerial but I am in breaking down things to make them work! If you are finding you can’t quite achieve it you might need to break down each move and work on it in parts. Slow and steady is the best method for you to train your brain and the safest. Once you can do the first part without thinking, add another step until its second nature and before you know it you will be slowly adding speed and making it look fluid!
- Watch and Learn
I am a big believer in watching and learning and I watch everyone in my class including the new people who have never tried it before. You never know who you can learn from so watching closely the way people use their feet, move their legs and the position of their hands is a good place to start.
- Don’t give up
If you go away for a break and have completely forgotten something and have to start again, don’t fear. Break down all the steps again and keep trying. If you could do it once you can do it again so plug away at those skills and before you know it you will be gliding in the air.