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How the Brain Anticipates

We’re coming back from Camanche Hills Sporting Clays after three days of coaching and we’re looking forward to going to the bay to fish for a couple of days.

While in California, I read a recent study on how the brain is constantly anticipating ahead of where we are. This really got my attention. We talk about the anticipation circuit, and all of a sudden a study pops up on how the brain anticipates. I put a really good post in the Forum on the running stations topic. Check it out.

Routines and Anticipation

It occurs to me that the routines are so important because the more something is a habit, the easier it becomes for the brain to anticipate without really focusing on it. Also, the brain becomes so satisfied when both the conscious and subconscious parts are both planning what is about to happen, i.e. focusing on and reading a pair of targets and making a plan and executing it.

The better you get at it, the easier it becomes for the brain to execute the plan while you become less focused on any one thing.

That would be skill. The more skillful you are at something, the less you have to be consciously focused on any one thing, and the more the unconscious brain takes over and runs the program.

When the conscious brain is consumed with planning the shot, it’s consumed with anticipating what you’re about to do. When the unconscious brain (which is always ahead of where you are) is doing the same thing, the opportunity for peak performances goes way up.

Routines are important because they allow the brain to think less and anticipate farther out in front of where you are. They also allow you to focus on fewer things as you commit the planned act.

The Zone and the Unconscious Brain

I just thought that they were to “occupy the conscious mind so the unconscious could take the shot” and after doing them enough you just dripped into the zone. That does happen. But I now think “dropping into the zone” has more to do with the unconscious brain always planning ahead. Now the conscious brain is making a plan for the future. Because they are both doing the same thing about the same thing at the same time via routines, they are focused and the zone is the result.

This emphasizes the importance of the vivid preload in practice and performance even more. And it shows how the kill shot review makes it easier for you to visualize the shot in more detail.

So when both of your brains are tied up in what you are about to do, there’s no existing doubt about the outcome. But you cannot be consciously thinking about what and how you’re going to execute the plan. When you try to engineer the shot, the brain cannot anticipate as far in front.

This is why it’s so important that you really believe in the plan or correction and become very decisive. It’s what being process-oriented is all about.

It’s this belief that allows the anticipation in the subconscious to occur and give you confidence.

More to come!

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