Movement vs. Skill

When you learn the Alexander Technique, or become more advanced and apply it to 'work' on your coordination, the focus is often on specific movements; such as lifting an arm, or moving from sitting to standing.

It's easy to forget that the outcome of working with these specific movements is to:

  1. Put the movements all together to do a skill

  2. Apply the alexander technique in a broader way to influence an overall pattern of movements (a skill)

Photo by Mark Jefferson Paraan

It can be easy to get lost working on the 'therapeutic' or 'cognitive' aspects within a specific activity; forgetting that the outcome still needs to make something happen (i.e do the skill).

Other students get lost in the overall pattern of movements (the skill), not taking enough care to refine the movement within the skill they want to improve.

Because of this, it can be helpful to get clear on what the difference is between a movement and a (motor) skill.

Movements are learned first

Movements are behavioural characteristics of specific limbs or parts

Movements are the building blocks of skills

Skills are voluntary goal-directed movements

Skills need head, torso, and/or limb movement to achieve an outcome

Different kinds of movements can be used to do the same skill, to achieve an outcome

So which area do you need to focus on today: The movement or the skill?