Muscle Memory

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by JANATHOME, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. JANATHOME

    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    So, how long does this take to go away!!!

    So, after many years dancing AM with husband, for a year now being taking lessons with pro as husband can no longer compete... I am super happy with the great strides I have made dancing with pro and during lesson at an isolated pace I am able to use the new skills he has given me...

    Yet... for the past maybe month and a half at the beginning of our lesson and then at the end we do rounds in prep for upcoming comp... (I do a hour and a half lesson twice a week)It seems that all these bad habits just come back during the rounds and I cant execute what I can execute during the lesson.

    It is certainly getting better, but not enough progress for me... Long way around asking how long does it take that bad habits naturally take way to good habits??
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    my experience is that you have to work on fixing it for about as long as you were actively doing it wrongly...I danced some particularly bad concepts for about three and a half years... I have been working on fixing them for about 2 and a half...I am beginning to be hopeful that all of them will be gone by the time I get to threee and a half...some are already gone, they were the easier issues, but a few of the really ingrained issues have been slower to leave, but those are now losing the battle :)...take heart ...you'll get there...try to focus on only one demon at the comp...otherwise you'll simply panic and go on autopilot, where the rest of them live :)
  3. Nate F.

    Nate F. New Member

    Well I'm sorry, I can't help, but I sure wish some of my bad muscle memory would go away!
  4. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    I try to think in terms not of getting rid of bad muscle memory, but of learning something new. If I can manage to ignore/forget/disregard the old, I'm simply learning something new. That mental image serves me to, well, learn something, rather than un-learning.
  5. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    BTW, Jan, is your upcoming comp NYDF?
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I find it also helps to understand why the thing that doesn't workd doesn't work...and focus on that aspect of the feeling...if that makes sense...but I am sure you know what I mean...it is very frustrating to know exactly what the new feeling is and have your body disobey when you begin to do rounds and old habits show up unannounce and uninvited...which is why I find that I often have to dance with only the purpose of the new feeling in mind and allow the other stuff to bump along
  7. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    amen
  8. ViviDancer

    ViviDancer Member

    Patience, and a never-say-die attitude :)
  9. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    Most of what I learned about muscle memory comes from martial arts, and in particular reports on the development of Soviet ROSS (Wikipedia). When it was being developed, soviet scientists studying biomechanics determined that there are two types of muscle memories: low-path and high-path. A muscle memory is a complex physical action that does not need to be consciously directed, such as throwing a baseball, disarming a knife, or doing a heel-turn. A high-path muscle memory, which takes a longer route through the brain, must be consciously triggered; when you're first starting to learn standard foxtrot, you decide to do a heel-turn and you do it (hopefully correctly) and while you may not need to think about the turn itself once you're in it, you do need to consciously decide to do it. A low-path muscle memory by contrast is an automatic reaction. It is not deliberately activated, and it may even be difficult to do so, but occurs in response to specific triggers. Because the low-path muscle memory is not consciously activated the signals do not travel through our consciousness, and so it can happen quicker and more fluidly.

    Developing a high-path muscle memory takes about 300 repetitions for a simple action (figure 4-8 weeks assuming one hour weekly lessons, one to two group classes per week, and one to two hours of practice). A low-path muscle memory takes 8,000 to 10,000 repetitions, or six months to a year.
  10. Suburbaknght gave a great analysis there. I agree that you need lots of repetition. And it takes years to develop muscle memory. One tip I got from a top pro is to practice basics thinking of only 1 thing at a time. For example think of only "straightening" your legs for a whole 10 minutes... then pick "musicality/timing" and focus only on it. And then try other ones...
  11. Meagan

    Meagan Active Member

    Very interesting!!
  12. Lyra

    Lyra Active Member

    The one thing at a time approach works for me. Practice one aspect over and over again and move on to the next when it's finally embedded....and the next and the next......

    Trouble is as soon as I lose one bad habit I pick up another!
  13. Just keep practicing...It takes years to master anything.

  14. Benjy

    Benjy Member

    Doesn't that depend 100% on how much you practice. If you practice 5 hours a day, habits turn over more quickly but are built in more solidly than if you practice an hour a week.

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