Improving Your Kinesthetic Instincts

In the movie, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sundance was asked to
shoot a tin can with his gun out of the holster. He took aim with his eye and missed.
When he put his gun into his holster and drew from the hip, he hit the can easily and
Instinct is a catch-all word that describes an 'unconscious' activity which is hard
to describe in words. If you act instinctively, you just know how to do a certain
thing. In sports and games, you often develop kinesthetic instincts that enable you to
play well -- dunking basketballs, shooting arrows, throwing a knife, playing darts,
pitching horseshoes, etc.
A man delivering consistently good tennis shots across the net is exhibiting this
unconscious faculty in his accuracy. If an opponent comments to him about his
remarkable play, his conscious awareness more likely will interrupt the fluidity of his
kinesthetic swinging and his timing will invariably be disrupted. The spatial variables
of the tennis game are more completely understood by the non-analytical side of the
brain. One way to disengage the verbal, analytical side of the brain from interrupting
your play is to say, "Bounce!" whenever the ball bounces, and "Hit!" whenever it
hits the racket. This procedure takes your mind off the analysis of your shots.
Less involved kinesthetic activities like walking, running, bicycling or shifting car
gears are less easily disrupted. Balancing, juggling or doing gymnastics require more
synchronized coordination. To improve your bowling or your shooting of a bow and
arrow, distract the analytical side of the brain by bringing your conscious awareness
to your breathing and count to 10 as you inhale.
To improve your basketball, use the basket as the center of a clock. Call out your
position as the time of day before you shoot. For example, as you move to the side
of the basket to shoot, say to yourself, "I'm at 3 o'clock." Recite the 2's table while
doing gymnastics, playing soccer or wrestling. When skiing, call out numbers to
indicate the angle of your skis with the snow. Repeat an affirmation over and over
while hitting a baseball or playing golf, like "I'm getting better and better." Sing a
tune while fencing or shooting skeet.
As an instinctive exercise for the tennis player, practice hitting tennis balls at a tin
can without thinking analytically right or wrong. For the fisherman with a casting
rod, chunk a practice plug into a garbage can. Then after getting good at that, plunk it
into a bucket.
For the hunter, use a BB rifle and shoot at small rubber balls thrown into the air (you can see a BB in flight). After that, shatter aspirins in flight! With practice,
you'll acquire an inexplicable 'feel' to it. Kinesthetic adjustments will be made
without your conscious evaluation, and you'll get closer and closer until you finally
do it. If you try to think about your actions and exercise conscious control, you lose
control. Improve the attitude of the exercise by extending excitement and enthusiasm
towards the object and the lesson. Then enjoy yourself and simply let go.
Japanese Buddhist monks can throw consistent bull's eyes into a dart board by
using their peripheral vision alone. A football quarterback going back to pass,
instinctively uses his peripheral vision to avoid on rushers while focusing his
attention on the intended recipient of his pass. For instinctive practice, read
something on a blackboard in front of you while throwing paper wads or coins into a
bucket at varying angles to the right or left of you. Archery in the days of Robin
Hood was a right brain "kinesthetic instinctiveness," not the left brain sighting-device
approach of today.
The 'instincts' of some martial artists are so keen that they can virtually break or
catch an arrow in flight toward them. To improve kinesthetic skills, first visualize the
action you want to take (see "Exercise -- Improving Your Visualization Skills"). See
and feel yourself doing it correctly. When you get good at that, you'll find that it'll
only take a moment to precede the movement inwardly and you'll achieve better
results. As an exercise, hold a wine glass in your left hand and pour water into it
from a long necked watering can at a distance of 3 to 4 feet away without spilling a
drop! Practice visualizing the action first, and soon you'll be doing it easily.
Remember, the above drills are designed to make use of more of your unused
potential. Whether you find an immediate use for your newly acquired skills or not is
irrelevant. Pathways and avenues in the quagmires of your mind are being opened
up. These in turn will lead to other areas and so forth. The more mental and physical
skills that you acquire, the easier it will be to acquire others.