I sometimes call this the “Bambi on ice” effect.
This symptom is usually most common with beginner – intermediate students on their chord changes. Here is how you test for it – quickly choose a song you know or write down a chord progressing. Video yourself playing it. Now put your guitar down, and play it back. Watch what your fingers are doing.
Are your fingers moving in a consistent, controlled and precise movement, directly to the fret and string that they should be? Or are they moving towards the right string, then away from it, then back to it? Or are they moving and landing on the wrong string, so that you have to move them a second, or even third time to get them to the correct place?
Each of those movements is completely unnecessary and is significantly slowing down how quickly you can make these chord changes. It is also a big reason why a lot of beginner – intermediate students cannot change chords in time.
So how do we fix it?
You have to slow it down. Play it much, much slower.
Play it so slowly that it no longer sounds like music. (As a side note, when we are practising, the sounds we are making should not be musical, we are training our body to move in a specific, controlled and repeatable manner, not creating music).
Move each finger one at a time, and make sure they goto the correct front and string in one single movement. If you make a single mistake with this, you are doing it too fast!
Spend just 10 minutes doing that. Don’t speed up. Keep it slow. Keep it controlled. Keep you mental focus.
If you do that every day for a week, you will quickly find that your chord changes start to feel a lot more natural and ‘fluid’ rather than feeling forced and sloppy.