blog-eyed, endgaining vs. means whereby, conscious/subconscious

In Alexander Technique, we talk about endgaining versus means whereby. If you are endgaining, you are streaking towards your goal regardless of how you get there. If, instead, you focus on the process of moving towards your goal, you are using means whereby. Since Alexander Technique deals with changing habits, it’s imperative to focus on the process.

But what approach should you take on the tennis court? During a point, you have to react, not think. If you are thinking, you are too slow to react. On the other hand, there are many adjustments you need to make during a match. So, I use a combination of endgaining and means whereby. Before a point I rehearse my strokes – the means whereby to my goal of winning the point. During a point, however, I follow the advice of Sean Brawley. When I hit a ball, I only think about where I want the ball to go, not how I’m going to get it there. I have to trust my body to get the ball where I need it to go once the point has started, at that point, it’s a little late to develop new strokes.

Lanny Bassham deals with this issue by talking about the conscious and subconscious. After practicing forehands and backhands consciously until they become automatic, the subconsious can execute these shots during a point without thinking. The conscious mind can only entertain one thought at a time, the subconscious can rapidly run through all of the calculations needed to land that ball just inside the baseline. This speaks to a useful approach to learning a shot or working on improving a shot. Let’s say you are practicing your serve and you want to work on your toss and keeping your eye on the ball as you hit it. It’s a good idea to choose one of these things only to think about as you practice.

Practice and Competition Report: played with Mojgan for two hours, two rally games and one set: 6-15, 8-15, 4-6, practiced my serve for one bag of balls.
Solutions Analysis: looking for a solution to the problem of getting tired. Likely solution: go to bed at 11:30pm instead of staying up until past midnight writing my blog. This way I can get to the court an hour early and practice my strokes. The idea here is to become a better tennis player not a blog-eyed blogger.
Success Analysis: I realize that I had reverted back to coming over the ball on my serve. If I brush my racket directly across the ball instead, I get more spin and and I can hit the ball harder.