Discrimination, Coordination, and Rhythm & Timing

by Rodger Bailey on September 3, 2011 · 0 comments

in Mental

As we are nearing the end of the first week of the US Open 2011, we have been able to watch many interesting matches. One of the things I have been focusing on is players who are wrongly challenging the Line Judge’s calls. Many people wonder how the player can challenge the call for a ball which is clearly on the line, especially when the player was right there to see where the ball landed. Of course, the other side of the coin is also rarely understood, when the Line Judge wrongly calls one way or the other and the ball is shown to have been clearly different from the call.

How Do Our Brains Discriminate This Information Wrongly?

Our coordination is based in some brain circuits which originate and parse out the timing signals for activation and release of our muscles.  Our motor planning and sequencing process does the parsing so that each muscle is activated or released in the correct order for our movements to occur. The more precise those master timing brain circuits, the more precise is our motor planning and sequencing process, and the better is our coordination.

If our master brain timing circuits are not very precise our brain’s motor planning and sequencing circuits cannot keep up with the volume of (visual as well as auditory and kinesthetic) data being received, so they miss some of the data and fill in some data which our brain has made up (extrapolated) from the data that was perceived. If our brain’s master timing circuits are not very precise, many of the things we think we see are made up and filled in by our brain. So, we think we see one thing and the reality can be different.

It’s In The Flipping Cards

Do you remember seeing a series of drawings on a deck of cards being slowly flipped so that your brain sees the artwork moving like a cartoon? That’s how our brain processes the images it has to manage from the real world. It sees a series of frames. And, depending on the precision of your master brain timing circuits, your brain can process anywhere between 10 and 30 frames per second.

How About A Golf Story?

I worked with a golf professional to improve his rhythm and timing. He was not a tour pro. He operated a golf course and he trained golfers. He had a very busy training schedule and he never even had time to play a round of golf during the 6 weeks that we worked together. He did hit a bucket of balls each week, so he knew that his swing and his accuracy improved over the course of his training with me. I had secretly hoped that his golf scores would improve so that I had referral information about using this training to improve golf play. But the surprise was that his golf training students dramatically improved their results during and after his rhythm and timing training with me.

What happened was that he was processing about 15 frames per second as we started and was processing almost 30 frames per second when we finished. This means that for an average golf swing of one of his students, he was seeing perhaps 7 frames when he started the training with me. He was seeing about 15 frames per swing as he finished getting his own rhythm and timing circuits fine tuned with me.

Actually Seeing More Of The Cards

Because he was seeing more of the frames of his students swing, he was able to make more fine discriminations of his student’s movements. He was able to actually see more of what had been happening with his students swing, so he was able to make more fine and more appropriate distinctions of the movements in his student’s swings.

This means that his brain was not giving him as much ‘made up’ information as before. Because he had more precise information about the swing, he was able to give more precise training interventions and his students were able to dramatically improve their own golf scores.

Getting The Right Information Makes All The Difference

Challenging the Line Judge’s calls is tricky business when you didn’t actually ‘see’ where the ball landed. Many times in the matches at the US Open this year, we see a player challenge when a ball is called ‘in’ because they perceived that the ball was ‘out.’ And when the replay shows us that the ball was straddling the line, it is easy to come to the conclusion that the challenging player needs to improve their basic rhythm and timing brain circuits.

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