If you've been in the security industry for a while, have ever played a sport or even an instrument, you’ve definitely heard of the term “muscle memory.” muscle memory is an incredible tool that we can use to make certain actions second nature, so that even when we are under intense stress our bodies know how to act before our brains do. But how do we access muscle memory, and exactly how much training does it take to achieve it? Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this mental skill and how you can access it.
What is Muscle Memory?
Muscle memory is a special type of memory that our brain is able to unconsciously access and perform. It's created by repeating a task or movement consistently until a pathway formed in the brain that makes it second nature. Once something is muscle memory, you will barely need to think about it or pay it any attention in order to perform it, which makes it a valuable and efficient skill. Some great examples of muscle memory include things like driving a car, typing on a keyboard, martial arts and dancing.
Muscle memory is highly tied to our motor skills, which means the better you are at understanding your body and your movements, the easier it'll be to access it. When you've typed on a keyboard for years and years, you become incredibly aware of where your fingers are in relation to the letters you're searching for. When you can apply this same understanding to your limbs and the space they occupy, you can make almost any movement muscle memory.
How do I Form Muscle Memory?
The real secret to memory is what you would expect: Constant practice. When you first begin a new task, you're likely to be unsure in your movements and form. However, as you practice and improve your brain begins to rewrite neural pathways so that the task can get simpler and simpler. The simpler this task becomes in your mind, the less attention needs to be applied to it, and the quicker it can be accessed without thought.
Besides constant physical practice, it can be beneficial to mentally imagine movement and picture yourself in different scenarios performing the task you want to become muscle memory. this can help your brain continue to form those neural pathways even while you aren't physically performing the task.
Another key to muscle memory is to practice in different locations and under different conditions. Especially in the security industry, you don't want the shock of an unexpected situation to impede your ability to act unconsciously. This is where drills can come especially in handy.
So how do you know when something has become muscle memory? When it comes to things like self-defense and other less used skill sets, the truth is that you probably won't know until you have to perform the task in a real-life situation. However, if you train as mentioned above the chances of you forming muscle memory are fairly high.
muscle memory is an invaluable tool for security professionals and police officers because it ensures that no matter what threat they're facing they are able to pull from their training and complete a task at hand, whether or not they're able to give it all of their attention. This can mean self-defense, firearm training and more. Muscle memory can mean the difference between life and death, but it can also keep you from making valuable mistakes on a daily basis
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