I was watching Wimbledon over the weekend and in the mixed-doubles final a comment by a commentator got my attention:

No-one’s told Leander Paes that as you age your reaction times slow down“.

He’s 42.

It made me wonder about our expectations of age-related degeneration. Yes, there are mechanical, physical processes which take place – but when?

And clearly Paes’s reaction times were not diminished – hence the comment (and the match outcome, though Martina Hingis also had something to do with that).

In the Alexander Technique we work with people’s thinking. We find that we move in accordance with our ideas.

Many of our ideas, our thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

A great example is an experience my trainer Don Weed tells, of an adult organist who had had polio as a child and lost 80% of the ability to flex her right ankle.

After working with her for 30-40 minutes her range of flexion increased from 20% of normal to over 80%.