The Alexander Technique and Sport

With the Alexander Technique the sportsman will learn to keep the result in mind without leaving aside the means necessary for a good use of himself in action.

Anybody will easily admit that physical exercise is healthy. The danger comes when we are ready to harm ourselves in order to try to overcome our limits. You might have known some moments where your results were becoming worse and worse despite of your desperate attempts to do better.

In the Western world, we are quite obsessed by the achievements of our goals, obsessed by the end results of our efforts. You might have noticed, during international competitions, the apparently lack of effort and the expressions of release on the face of some African runners. On the other hand, the aggressive expression of victory of some Westerners is often shocking and distressing in this context.

Not to put one’s goal before anything else is a difficult concept for a Western mind, because it seems to go against any value imparted to him since he was born.

This is where the Alexander Technique can be very useful. It teaches how to keep the goal in mind without taking destructive shortcuts for our health and efficiency. It teaches how to become able to give to ourselves the means to achieve our ends. It teaches us to give more importance in the practice to the means in order to discover the joy and freedom of movement. The pains and sacrifices that a top athlete goes through are incompatible with this perspective of self respect. But this is his choice and even he can limit the damages to himself by the practice of the Alexander Technique, as many will testify.

Many sports require anyway so much effort, physical and mental and can easily lead to traumas or even broken bones. The Alexander Technique can teach you to use your body in an more balanced and appropriate way, reducing this way part of the excessive tensions which lead to traumas and change your responses to the situations, and avoid accidents.

In his book ‘The Use of the Self’, Alexander describes the case of a golfer having difficulty to keep an eye on the ball, a problem often encountered by golfers. He describes how his attention goes away from the ball at a crucial moment and his eyes leave the ball. By learning to inhibit our habitual way or doing and reacting and by applying the principles of the Alexander Technique, we can learn not to interfere with the reflex movement activity at the crucial moment, to prevent all sort of unnecessary tensions and to create the appropriate mental, psychological and physical conditions.

We can also learn to improve the quality and the time of our reactions in order to get the best of a given situation by getting the best our ourselves in a state of better use and coordination. And, who knows, even maybe feel happier …