The Inner Game of Tennis

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9780394491547: The Inner Game of Tennis

The Inner Game of tennis is that which takes place in our mind, played against such elusive opponents as nervousness, self-doubt and lapses of concentration. It is a game played by our mind against its own bad habits. Replacing one pattern of behaviour with a new, more positive one is the purpose of the "Inner Game". Peak performance at tennis, like any sport, only comes when our mind is so focused that it is still and at one with what our body is doing. The key to the "Inner Game" and better tennis is achieving this state of relaxed concentration so that we are playing "out of our mind" and therefore no worrying about how, when or where to hit the ball. In The Inner Game of Tennis, Tim Gallwey, a professional player and instructor who has produced dramatic results among the amateurs and pros he has trained, explores how to overcome mental obstacles, improve concentration and reduce anxiety for better performance at every level. There is no physical reason why any of us should not more consistently serve aces or hit perfect returns. The Inner Games approach makes all the difference.

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Review:

A phenomenon when first published in 1972, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that, as Gallwey wrote, "Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game." The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey's revolutionary thinking, built on a foundation of Zen thinking and humanistic psychology, was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge. It was sports psychology before the two words were pressed against each other and codified into an accepted discipline.

The new edition of this remarkable work--Billie Jean King called the original her tennis bible--refines Gallwey's theories on concentration, gamesmanship, breaking bad habits, learning to trust yourself on the court, and awareness. "No matter what a person's complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step," he stressed, "is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing--that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is."

There are aspects of psychobabble and mysticism to be found here, sure, but Gallwey instructs as much by anecdote as anything else, and time has ultimately proved him a guru. What seemed radical in the early '70s is now accepted ammunition for the canon; the right mental approach is every bit as important as a good backhand. The Inner Game of Tennis still does much to keep that idea in play. --Jeff Silverman

From the Back Cover:

The Inner Game of Tennis will help you: use the mind/body connection and learn to trust yourself on the court; find the state of "relaxed concentration" that allows you to play at your best; utilize the "inner game principles to make the most of traditional instruction techniques; focus your mind to overcome nervousness and self-doubt; and build skills by smart practice, then put it all together in match play. Gallwey is one of the leading innovators in sports, and this new edition refines the techniques that he has perfected over his long career. His straightforward and concise style, clear examples, and illuminating anecdotes will help tennis players of all abilities - from beginner to expert. The Inner Game of Tennis will change the way you play the game.

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Gallwey, W. Timothy
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