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Dr. Nick Curry is a chiropractor that is also certified through the highly esteemed Titleist Performance Institute as a medical, fitness, and junior golf wellness professional.  He is the owner of Integrative Health and Sports Performance in Bellbrook and serves at the Team Chiropractor to Wright State and Miami Universities.  To Visit their Website or call 937-848-8500
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Golfer_Sleeping

Have you ever stood over a golf ball with full confidence only to hit a terrible shot and just wonder how in the world you just did that?  Have you ever wondered why you need to keep working on the same swing drills over and over?  The answer is in how our brain learns skills. 

There are 2 types of skills, motor and cognitive.  Motor skills are like riding a bike or swinging a golf club.  Cognitive skills are like learning a new language or mathematics.  Our brain stores these skills in 2 completely different ways.  For example, if you learned how to ride a bike when you were 10 years old and then didn’t ride a bike for 30 years, you would be able to get back on that bike pretty quickly and get comfortable riding around.  Now if you learned how to speak French when you were 10 and then didn’t speak the language for 30 years, you are going to realize very quickly that you remember very little if you traveled to France.  Motor skills are very difficult, almost impossible, to forget.  

There’s a famous experiment on a guy named H.M. that had these terrible seizures his whole life.  They thought that they could cure his seizures by removing part of his brain.  The surgery was successful in stopping his seizures but it came with a loss of being able to convert short term memory to long term memory.  They realized quickly that he couldn’t remember cognitive skills from day to day but he could learn, and retain, motor skills.  In one of the experiments, they taught him how to play the piano.  Each day that he went to take a lesson he could not remember the teacher’s name or even that he knew how to play the piano, but when he sat down at the piano he would get better and better at each lesson.  

What we learned from this is that the brain has the ability to write new books and store these books for each motor skill learned, even when we have no memory of it.  The bad part is that your brain stores EVERY book for each motor skill learned.  So that book your brain wrote on how to come over the top is sitting up there on the shelf and your brain may choose to reference that book every once and while.  This is why it is so hard to break those habits and forget those bad motor skills.  The experiment showed that you could literally remove part of your brain and you could still have the ability to reference all those motor skills. 

The important takeaway from this is that you cannot change a motor skill.  That motor skill will always be there sitting on the shelf in your brain.  But you can learn a new motor skill and write a new book to put on the shelf.  The more you practice and the more you tell your brain to reference the new book then the more likely you will keep pulling the new book off the shelf when you need it.  Times when you are most likely to reference old motor skills are when you haven’t used the new motor skill in a while or under periods of stress. 

Next week we will get into the best way to practice so that you keep referencing those new books!

Archive 
 
Teaching an Old Dog New TricksTeaching an Old Dog New Tricks Have you ever stood over a golf ball with full confidence only to hit a terrible shot and just wonder how in the world you just did that? Have you ever wondered why you need to keep working on the same swing drills over and over? The answer is in how our brain learns skills. There are 2 types of skills, motor and cognitive. Motor skills are like riding a bike or swinging a golf club. Cognitive skills are like learning a new language or mathematics. Our brain stores these skills in 2 completely different ways. For example, if you learned...
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