Master the Basics for Better Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is a term used to describe when people rely on automatic movements already engrained in them built on weeks, months, and years of previous practice.

When you “don’t think, just react” you are relying on your mind and body being so ready that you don’t have to think through and tell yourself what to do. If you have ever played baseball/softball, you probably don’t tell yourself every tiny thing you need to do in order to catch a ball being thrown your way – instead, you simply put up your glove and catch the ball, knowing you have done it thousands of times before and know where to place your glove and grip the ball as it heads your way. Muscle memory is important to develop, and saves us from having to think through every movement of our day, resulting in time to think about other, new challenges.

Automatic shots in pool

In pool, it is important to feel confident and comfortable with the shots you face on the table. When you practice the basics, like hitting spot shots, you will see over time that you have gained focus and confidence and no longer need to analyze every aspect of this shot, as you have done it countless times before and know exactly how to pocket the ball. But keep in mind that muscle memory comes about through repetition, and you cannot cheat this process as it takes time for your brain to fully commit to directing your mind and body into the exact thinking and movements you need to make a shot.

Muscle memory can be developed in how you stroke the cue, especially as this applies to thin cuts, drawing/following a ball, and playing combinations. Practice, practice, then practice some more – yes, this might seem boring at times, but tell yourself that the more you do it, the more automatic it will be in the future.

Putting it all together

Repetitive practice will help you develop your muscle memory, but for it to fully develop be sure to always keep a positive, optimistic attitude and when you do miss shots practicing, take time to think through solutions rather than becoming frustrated and upset. Keep a running journal of your progress and think about the importance of putting the time in so that when you approach specific shots in big games, you can tell yourself you have already been there before – possibly millions of times!