The Muscle Memory Of Daniel Murphy


The Mets are going to the World Series. Woo hoo!

I was six years old in 1969 and I vaguely remember getting on the school bus towards the end of game 5, making it home just in time to see Cleon Jones catch the last out in left field.

That kind of memory sets one’s fandom in stone even if the memories of a six year old are kind of hazy. By 1973 when the Mets returned to the World Series against the A’s I was fully obsessed.

This year, the Mets have had an amazing few months and one player in particular has had a ridiculous two weeks.

Prior to October Daniel Murphy was a good player, underwhelming in the field, embarrassing on the base paths and slightly above average as a hitter.

In the last two weeks he has played like one of the all-time greats in all aspects of the game.

Usually I split my drive time between music and NPR but at the moment it is all sports talk radio. And an interview on one of the shows with Kevin Long, the Mets hitting coach, focused on why Daniel Murphy is doing so well; which led to this blog post.

Muscle memory is a big phrase in sports. The goal is to develop and then refine technique making it automatic through conscious repetition.

Long, talking about why Murphy is doing better rattled off a list of micro changes to his hands, feet and relationship to the plate. He finished with a sentence that I loved hearing, “He has gone from someone looking for base hits to someone looking to do damage.”

Daniel Murphy’s swing a thing of beauty built on thousands of repetitions and in the last two weeks he made small adjustments and locked them in during batting practice and then put them into action destroying the Dodgers and cubs.

Muscle memory is how every athlete makes use of their natural talent building consistency into their technique.

Muscle memory is also determining how you do everything in your life as well. Your walking pattern is built on years and years of muscle memory that was built unconsciously through imitation and movement.

No one actually teaches you how to walk when you first come up to stand. You just have at it and the results are sometimes none too pretty.

But just like an athlete that works to refine technique you can do the same with your walking patterns rebuilding you muscle memory to ingrain and instill new positive patterns into the way you move.

Let’s Go Mets!

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