"Lead researcher Juergen Beckmann, PhD, put it pretty profoundly: “Consciously trying to keep one’s balance is likely to produce imbalance.” Simple (brain-hemisphere-dependent) tasks that activate motor portions of the brain while drawing activity away from the ruminating portions can help experienced athletes perform (in terms of accuracy and complex body movements done from muscle memory) without being messed up by nerves. “Just let it happen; be the ball.”"

How to not choke at sports: Make a fist with your
left hand. [Then pray the ref doesn’t hit you with a technical foul or red card]


Via http://kottke.org


Whether on the court, field or course, the body depends on the brain for direction. But the brain is a busy taskmaster, with duties beyond guiding motion, making it difficult to focus on that particular job. Like chess masters and virtuoso musicians, superior athletes are better than novices at turning on just the parts of the brain relevant to the desired task, Milton’s work reveals. “In professionals, the overall brain activation is much lower, but certain connections are enhanced,” he says. In other words, experts employ only the finely tuned neural regions that help enhance performance, without getting bogged down by extraneous information.

Elite athletes’ ability to focus the brain might even explain their struggle to eloquently describe performance after the game. Like a starship captain diverting power from life support to bolster shields in a battle, professional athletes temporarily shut down the memory-forming regions of the brain so as to maximize activity in centers that guide movement.

“That’s why they usually thank God or their moms,” says cognitive psychologist Sian Beilock of the University of Chicago. “They don’t know what they did, so they don’t know what else to say.”


More at: Brainy Ballplayers - Science News

(via Why Some People Think The End Of The World Will Come In 2012)

Basically, the Mayans stopped “making” calendars once they got to 2012 ergo, the world ends in 2012.


What goes on in a nuclear reactor - and in Japan now?