You move lightly across the court, your racket finds the ball, the strokes seem to do themselves: flexible, powerful, without excessive stress to your joints...
But however hard you try to link all the parts of the learnt tennis techniques together, in practice you're often more tense than you would like - and your strokes more cramped. Yet top players like Federer and Djokovic speak of 'complete relaxation in the arms', 'getting the power from the legs', 'be completely absorbed in the game'.
The Alexander technique teaches you to organise yourself as a whole in your sport. This prevents unnecessary tension and results in more powerful, efficient strokes, less injuries and more focus on the ball and your opponent.
Whether you have little or loads of experience on the tennis court, we're building up your forehand, backhand, volleys, services, smashes from the ground, looking for those flexible, powerful strokes that seem to hit themselves.
From a participant:
" Alexander Technique Tennis: from tennis to Zennis!
After several AT running workshops with Gilles, I decided to ask him to start working on my tennis from an Alexander perspective. The running workshops already were a revelation, the tennis lessons may even be more so, but maybe that's because I'm a tennis player more than a runner.
The Alexander Technique tennis lessons are not only very insightful and effective, but also fun! Every month a friend and I have a 1,5hr lesson and it is always over before we know it - AT tennis time flies.
The AT tennis lessons are different from the usual tennis lessons I've had. In the normal lessons I was busy 'hitting it right', in the AT tennis lessons I'm busy creating the right conditions to hit well. Through numerous exercises and down to earth explanations you are building on the basic technical foundation for your strokes. Hence I'm no longer involved in 'doing' the strokes, but in making the strokes happen. That is a big difference!
Before these lessons I didn't really know what's necessary for a good forehand, backhand, volley or service. I see top players developing much more power than I do, while I seem to be working just as hard. Now I know how they manage to do that and I can learn to apply it at my own level. It's all about applying technique.
Besides learning what to focus on to get more from my game, an important effect of the lessons is that I start hitting in a lighter and more flexible way. Therefore I stress my body much less and hitting the ball has far less impact on my arm and shoulder joints. When the technique works out, hitting feels more whole and my strokes somehow become 'dryer', they happen with less effort. I play more from an inner centre than from my arms and legs. They become more of an extension of the centre.
Furthermore I notice I can focus better, because I know now what to keep my attention on. I'm less occupied with good or bad strokes, and more with whether I can apply what I've learned. I can observe my tennis more critically without ending up in emotions.
The greatest overall effect of Gilles' lessons is that I enjoy my tennis even more than before. " - Frank.