This is the 11th and final section of the running series on Scouting College Quarterbacks.
Author Malcolm Gladwell stated that it takes up to “10,000 hours of practice” to become an expert at anything. This repetitive practice produces the cognative ability and internal muscle memorization where upon the action becomes almost rote. Football coaches and scouts have for years expounded upon the importance of “reps” in developing young football players, especially those at the quarterback position. John Westenhaver understands this concept and warns of the consequences of poor coaching methods leading to learned and repeated poor performance.
The Football Educator
APPENDIX B: COGNATIVE ABILITY/MUSCLE MEMORY
The process by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used, the mental processing that includes the attention of working memory.
Synonymous with motor learning that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.
This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and MEMORY systems. This can help the quarterback become very good at something through repetition, but in exactly the same way it can make him absolutely terrible at the same time.
Muscle memory does not judge good or bad, and so if the quarterback has a history of poor performance in one or many parts of his game he is inevitably going to make the same mistakes at the pro level that he made in his formative years. This is bad because he has wasted his time learning (or not being coached properly) improperly. When the quarterback repeats mistakes again and again, he builds negative, less than functional muscle memory. The key to building good muscle memory is to focus on the quality of the quantity.
These two factors greatly influence the quarterback’s efficiency and consistency.