This area of skill development came up in today's seminar with mc - which I will write more of soon (it was excellent) - but I also came across this today which is relevant to the discussions:
Study shows new brain connections form rapidly during motor learning
New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a study published this week in Nature. Led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study involved detailed observations of the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning.
When you are learning a new physical skill, you are re-wiring your brain....and to some degree this is permanent.
"It's a remodeling process in which the synapses that form during learning become consolidated, while other synapses are lost," Zuo said. "Motor learning makes a permanent mark in the brain. When you learn to ride a bicycle, once the motor memory is formed, you don't forget. The same is true when a mouse learns a new motor skill; the animal learns how to do it and never forgets."
Interesting stuff. You need to learn the skill....but that learning gets hardwired into the brain and stays there. As mc said today, the nervous system is plastic.