Mu waves or moo waves? Schladming fans
demonstrate their spirit, and their udderly
cow-inspired hats, on Jan. 25.
Show, Don’t Tell, Ski Racing Skills
The importance and significance of demonstrations of technical and tactical skills appears
to have a sound neurological basis in the sequencing of skeleto-muscular patterns. Dr. V.S.
Ramachandran, a behavioral neurologist who is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition
at University of California, San Diego, has conducted research on mu wave suppression which
is instrumental in what are recognised as mirror neurons. Ramachandran has wryly dubbed
these neurons as Ghandi Neurons because his research shows that “they are dissolving the
barrier between you and me.” Simply stated, his research has validated mu wave activity when
the subjects clenched and flexed their fists. Furthermore, these same mu waves lit up when the
subject observed another person doing the fist routine. AMAZING! Ergo, the “mirror neuron”
phenomenon. And it is confirmed that people have several systems of mirror neurons that
perform different functions. Consequently, I have made a leap of faith in coaching and have
focused on a whole lot less talk and a lot more of demonstrations of technical and tactical
skills by both myself and the athletes. For me, I am more in tune with the biomechanics of the
athletes’ skills and performances for more precise feedback. And for them, they are liberating
their performances from being too step-by-step, mechanical and allowing the mu waves and
mirror neurons to get their booties in gear. It may sound like a sci-fi mind-meld — and it is,
because we are all connected.
Dean “Deanski” Tonkin