Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Muscle Memory .... and reflecting on 'performance'

Last weekend myself and three friends went mountain boarding with and had a great afternoon, basically wobbling about on boards on wheels and trying to look cool!

As a snowboarder I was interested to see whether this would translate into good performance or not .... and the answer is ... yes and no!

Yes ...  in that I wasn't fazed by going sideways down a hill on a moving object ... [thank you state management!]

No ...  in that my muscle memory for riding a snowboard kept kicking in and my feet kept coming out of the bindings!

Applying my NLP and Sport Psychology knowledge I spent a lot of my time thinking about what I needed to do, but it was only with reflection that I sorted out what worked and what didn't ... and why!

You see, I have spent so much time 'perfecting' [loosely] the skills of snowboarding that all the micro movements you do to execute any movements are embedded deep in my muscle memory (or as we know it, unconscious competence) and as such, these kept coming to the fore ... but with a mountain board it's the same yet different!

As a consequence I had to consciously think to push my ankles out and stay 'locked' to the board, instead of instinctively knowing what to do, and as such, I spent a lot of time in conscious [relative] competence that when things got a little hairy (and they did, believe me!), I went back to what I knew and as such ended up in the wrong place or worse - flat on my back!

Not only that, my first real wipeout resulted in a very embarrasing rip to my trousers, which was only covered up [literally!] by the very padded shorts the young instructor give me to save my blushes [and probably to save everyone else too - not good to lose customers over something like that!).

Although this was a fun birthday trip for my friend, this is what happens in all sports when we change our stance, alter our grip or need to unlearn a poorly executed skill so we can learn to do that skill more effectively.  The only way we will do this is by making sure the changes are completed at the unconscious level, otherwise we end up going back to what we know ... and in my case, ending up on the floor!

I did feel towards the end that I was getting much better but I was aware of how much conscious thinking was going on - something that I don't do much of when I'm on the snow ...

A good reminder for me of how this process works, and thankfully it wasn't that painful ... physically anyway ... but I know I'm a long way off the unconscious competence I'd need on the mountain board to reach the level I have on a snowboard ... and although I'll definitely return to the grassy version, I'm very happy with my competence on the snow ... and not only that but the apres drinks are far more appealing at 1800 feet plus!!

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog! Remember when you had to unlearn your hockey swing to hit a golf ball?! Thankfully no split trousers that day ;)