However you get to muscle memory, be it reps against less skilled opponents during sparring or exchanging reps back in forth in a more cooperative setting, there’s a study step beforehand:
Mental memory is taking the time to study all the individual pieces that work together to make a position function effectively. This on average takes me an hour or more.
What I consider lazy or misinformed, is being introduced to a position and repping it half-heartedly against a dead body 5-10X before adding resistance and deciding whether or not it’s for you.
Dude, what’s the rush? Would the preceding process be mistaken for study in any formal learning institution?
Instead, take all the time in the world, fleshing out the steps for a solid conscious road map for the body to follow.
Mental memory first, then muscle memory.