COMPANION

Rowing

F. M. Alexander on rowing in UCL

F. M. Alexander criticises the attitude of rowers in a picture published in The Evening Standard in 1939 with the caption ‘Determination mirrored in their faces’, and reproduced in UCL. Alexander writes:

I have carefully studied the expression on the faces of the young men in the picture, but have failed to find any justification for the above caption. Four of them look as if they were being tortured on the rack, three as if in a trance, and just one, the third from the left, as if he had taken part in a rowing race and had the right attitude towards a rowing contest. Surely a university boat race should be a friendly contest between men animated by the sporting instinct. Every one of them should wish the victory to go to the best crew. It should be an experience of pleasure, happiness, and healthy recreation to all concerned, not an unnatural struggle involving distortion and loss of consciousness through the ‘determination’ to gain an end even at the cost of personal exhaustion and damage.[1]

Writings – Articles

  • ‘Rowing for gold’ by Gwen Dobie, Val Thompson Williams; rowing masters gold medalist, Val Thompson, writes on her experiences of using the Technique in her rowing (single scull and double scull).[2]
  • ‘Making rowing training safer and more effective’ by Patrick Pearson; an Alexander Technique teacher and rowing coach on the need for re-evaluating training practices in rowing.[3]
  • ‘Olympic gold for F. M. Alexander’ by Caroline Chisholm reports on giving Alexander Technique lessons to members of Great Britain’s coxless rowing team who won four gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics.[4]

Writings – Books

  • Master the Art of Working Out by Malcolm Balk, Andrew Shields contains a section on the rowing machine.[5]
References

[1] The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), p. 52–53.
[2] ‘Rowing for gold’ by Gwen Dobie, Val Thompson Williams in STATNews vol. 5, no. 6 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, January 2000), p. 21.
[3] ‘Making rowing training safer and more effective’ by Patrick Pearson in The Alexander Journal no. 19 edited by Francesca Greenoak (STAT, 2003), pp. 43–44.
[4] ‘Olympic gold for F. M. Alexander’ by Caroline Chisholm in STATNews vol. 6, no. 14 edited by Ann James (STAT, October 2004), p. 15.
[5] Master the Art of Working Out by Malcolm Balk, Andrew Shields (Collins & Brown, 2007).
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