Saturday, February 16, 2008
Why are the right body moves more mental than physical?
Whether you're a batter who has solved the mystery of how to hit a dipping, darting ball or a marathon runner struggling toward the finish line, much of the training that has brought you to your level of achievement has conditioned your mind, not your body. Your performance is really a reflection of how your training has fine-tuned the way your brain regulates the movements of your body.
Date from receptors surges along your nerves into the brain in a continuous stream. Only a fraction of this data is selected for retention (by some as yet unknown process, whose selectivity may difer from person to person) ; the rest fades within a second. Then, according to one theory, the retained bits of information are sent to short-term memory, where they are compared to experiences drawn from long-term memory. Your brain then decides upon a reaction, consults long-term memory again to call up the patterns of learned motor skills that are stored there, and finally issues the commands that get your body moving in the required way.
From the initial sensing to the movement by the body, the entire process usually takes no more than half a second. In the world of sports, where seconds are divided into a hundred parts, a reaction time increased or decreased by a few hundredths of a second can mean the difference between defeat and victory.