Mental Practice – Member Writes In

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I received some really great feedback on our mental practice lesson. This from a user named Dan McDonald Great stuff!

Ive been mentally practicing things for years. I had read a study which 2 teams of similarly skilled basketball players were asked to practice free throws for 1 hour a day for a month. One group physically did the process, the other just pictured it in their heads. They were told to think about as much as possible about the activity…the feel of the ball, the position of your hands etc. Most importantly envision every ball swishing through the net.

A month later the mental group had progressed substantially while the group that actually carried it out barely gained any improvements. Seems parts of the brain (not all, but many that are involved in the training/learning process) cant tell the difference between picturing it and actually doing it.

It doesnt work well for things you havent learned yet, you cant picture playing the piano and suddenly your BIlly Preston before you’ve even touched a key in your life…its more for things you know how to do, like fret a note on the guitar, but require a bit more dexterity by building a mental connection to how to carry out the process, like playing a solo faster/cleaner than you presently do. You know where to put your fingers, you just need to build that connection in your brain.

I just started playing again after not playing for over 20 years. Man, you forget ALOT and worse your brain and fingers just arent connected like they used to be. Things I could do effortlessly I cant do at all. Dont think it helps that i wasnt that good to begin with. Mental practice helps alot though. I do it alot while driving, laying down to sleep (agreed, it beats sheep!) or wherever im unable to play.

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