There are two populations of patients who usually recover from stroke faster than others (or, at least, have a great advantage): Athletes (incl. dance, yoga, martial arts, etc.) and musicians.
There are three reasons for this...
Reason one: There may very well be hypertrophy of the motor portions of the brain in both athletes and musicians. We know that massed practice will reconfigure the brain, with new neurons recruited and new pathways developed. And which populations are, by definition, involved in massed practice? Athletes and musicians.
Reason two: As anyone who is either an athlete or a musician knows, both these populations know how to train. And I don't mean just, "Yeah, I did my therapy today" kind of training. I mean the "I dream about therapy, wake up and plan my day around therapy and dedicate most of my time to therapy," kind of training.
Reason three: Athletes and musicians are often extremely motivated to get back to their instrument or their sport.
Both athletes and musicians understand all the factors that are important to stroke rehab. They know how to practice with vigor and focus. They know the commitment of time and resources that such practice involves. And they know that if their practice routine changes, they will get different results.
Stroke survivors are true athletes. Lower level athletes playing a higher stakes game. But on the other hand, they have the most devoted fans in sport: Their loved ones. And their families and friends have every reason, both altruistic and self-serving, to coach, cajole, encourage, support and embolden their athlete toward success.