When we build muscle memory our brain constructs new pathways to control our muscles, vision and other senses. Building muscle memory is hard to do because we are linking parts of our brain not accustomed to working together.
By performing movements over and over, we move control from our conscious brain to our subconscious brain, and poof, it’s now automatic.
Whether it’s a golf swing or a work task, you can learn faster and better if you purposefully integrate slight variations into your repetitions. Livestrong recommends the following steps:
1) Master the basics
Isolate each step of the movement, then integrate that action sequence until you can consistently repeat it.
2) Practice everywhere
Make maximum use of your downtime. For example, carry a golf club in your car and take a couple of swings every time you get out of the car. Waiting for the kids to get out of school? Get out of your car and practice the motions in the parking lot.
3) Master the variations
Practice the same skill, but add in real-world variations you’ll inevitably encounter. If you’re dancing, try it off balance. If you’re golfing, use a different club. If you’re shuffling cards, replace the new cards with a worn deck.
4) Practice your new skill on the front lines
Play a full round of golf, practicing the new skill within the workflow of the game. Perform that new job skill at your workstation. If your skills break down here, then move back to the previous step.