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Swing Analogies: A Student is like a Bad Juggler

August 5, 2010


A student is like a bad juggler…

A common mistake new teachers make is to forget what it is like to be a student learning a challenging dance movement.

“Leaders, this time, I want you to concentrate on keeping your hand low. And not throwing her out on the five. And anchoring back on that 7&8.”

Mentally speaking, almost all of us are beg/intermediate jugglers. We can only handle juggling a few concepts at once, until we get those concepts deep into “muscle memory.”* (Which takes a lot longer than a rotation in class).

So, if it’s a really important ball you want your students to add to their juggling, or at least a really complex one, just give them one to worry about. They’ll add it to their juggling a lot faster.

*–“Muscle Memory” is one of those terms that, though it makes some kind of sense, can be a little too misleading for my taste.

Muscles don’t have memory, obviously, and don’t do things on their own. it’s just a colorful way of saying Motor Learning. But, “Motor Learning” doesn’t have that visual and alliterative punch, you know?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 2:17 pm

    We often refer to the muscle memory/motor learning aspect as the way that a movement becomes ‘habitual’ for a while (created by structured repetition)until the student no longer thinks intellectually about the movement and it has a sense of being second nature for them to move in that way. When that stage is reached, the student begins to assimilate it and change it to their own nature (or 2nd nature). Their movement then has a similarity to the way they were taught but has become their own and not just a copy. Thanks for this Bobby because we’ve always talked about ‘habit’ in the class but I never thought about what was actually happening until I saw this post. Now I can use expressions like muscle memory and habit with a better understanding having put it nto words and explained it to myself :o)
    Harry

  2. August 11, 2010 5:26 am

    Is it a coincidence that you probably wrote this from Eauze? :-) It’s a joy to have found this blog with a great title. Though a ball newbie, I might pick up tiny bits f useful information and meanwhile enjoy your writings. And thanks for the “saucisse” taster.

    • jackthevampire permalink*
      August 11, 2010 7:54 am

      Haha. It IS a coincidence. I wrote this awhile ago. Glad you like it, though.

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