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The Alexander Technique can help both amateurs and professional athletes to increase their effectiveness and discover the joy of movement again. The Alexander Technique teacher is not a better football, swimming or athletics coach. The Alexander Technique teacher is an expert in mental and physical coordination. It is a kind of a basic training, which goes ahead of sports activities and provides benefits for any sport activity.
Here are two practical examples.
Sample Scenario 1: "Football"
In the middle of a game, player X is preparing to pass the ball to a team mate. In this situation, he has to coordinate his own body and simultaneously identify his team mates and opponents in a three dimensional space - a scenario that changes dynamically from moment to moment. One complicating factor may be that an upcoming tackling of an opponent additionally puts the player under pressure. Player X shoots ... and the ball lands at the opponent.
What does the Alexander Technique have to say? Player X would probably always be in a position to successfully pass the ball to his team players. In the language of the Alexander Technique, however, the following happened: The complexity of the game situation and the pressure of the (approaching) tackling form a stimulus situation which causes an undesirable additional response with player X - a stress response.
His perception and his movement are disturbed. This disturbance response is "too much" - too much of neuro-muscular activity. The Alexander Technique helps athletes to be aware of this "too much" and to stop it – it is called "inhibition". This is a big challenge especially for athletes, because they are used to "make an effort". Inhibition does not mean "more" but "less". This results in easy, effortless, aesthetic and purposeful movements.
The situation shown from the field of "football" can be applied to any sport, for example to tennis players before the strike, the show jumper before the jump, the swimmer before the start or the turn, the gymnast before the acrobatic element or the runner before the next step.
Sample Scenario 2: “High Jump”
The flop technique in the high jump is characterized by an arch shaped approach. To compensate for the centrifugal forces, when turning, the athlete is inclined to the centre of the curve and jumps out of this inclination. Many high jumpers tend to early give up the necessary inner inclination when approaching and to lean towards the bar (external inclination). As a result, the bar falls already in the phase of the rise. The Alexander Technique refers to the underlying response pattern as "endgaining". The jumper is in the decisive moment too much influenced by achieving his goal, namely to try to cross the bar, and forgets the design of the process, which is to be passed in order to achieve the objective (the persistent internal angle). He inclines too soon towards the bar, thereby affecting the direction of the movement negatively.
Surprisingly, most high jumpers are aware of this "inclination" and yet they often cannot stop it. Even if top high-jumpers seem to have overcome that miscoordination externally, it may still act as a disruptive factor. This is demonstrated by the fact that top athletes sometimes fall back into the old mistakes, when they are under pressure and have to go to their power limits. Similar forms of target fixation fundamentally affect the performance of athletes in all sports. They also cause unnecessary tension in the body and increase the risk of injury.
The Alexander Technique teaches us to control ourselves in motion, and thereby overcome unwanted habit patterns (e.g. endgaining). The movements are thus more effortless and more effective.
Alexander Technique in the Equilibrium Studio