[ read online Textbooks ] The Inner Game of Tennis: The classic guide to the mental side of peak performance (English Edition) Author W Timothy Gallwey – Intimatenights.co.uk

The Inner Game of Tennis: The classic guide to the mental side of peak performance (English Edition) chapter one Reflections on the Mental Side of Tennis The problems which most perplex tennis players are not those dealing with the proper way to swing a racket Books and professionals giving this information abound Nor do most players complain excessively about physical limitations The most common complaint of sportsmen ringing down the corridors of the ages is, Its not that I dont know what to do, its that I dont do what I know Other common complaints that come constantly to the attention of the tennis pro I play better in practice than during the match I know exactly what Im doing wrong on my forehand, I just cant seem to break the habit When Im really trying hard to do the stroke the way it says to in the book, I flub the shot every time When I concentrate on one thing Im supposed to be doing, I forget something else Every time I get near match point against a good player, I get so nervous I lose my concentration Im my own worst enemy I usually beat myself Most players of any sport run into these or similar difficulties frequently, but it is not so easy to gain practical insight into how to deal with them The player is often left with such warmed over aphorisms as Well, tennis is a very psychological game, and you have to develop the proper mental attitudes or You have to be confident and possess the will to win or else youll always be a loser But how can one be confident or develop the proper mental attitudes These questions are usually left unanswered So there seems to be room for comment on the improvement of the mental processes which translate technical information about how to hit a ball into effective action How to develop the inner skills, without which high performance is impossible, is the subject of The Inner Game of Tennis The Typical Tennis Lesson Imagine what goes on inside the head of an eager student taking a lesson from an equally eager new tennis pro Suppose that the student is a middle aged businessman bent on improving his position on the club ladder The pro is standing at the net with a large basket of balls, and being a bit uncertain whether his student is considering him worth the lesson fee, he is carefully evaluating every shot Thats good, but youre rolling your racket face over a little on your follow through, Mr Weil Now shift your weight onto your front foot as you step into the ballNow youre taking your racket back too lateYour backswing should be a little lower than on that last shotThats it, much better Before long, Mr Weils mind is churning with six thoughts about what he should be doing and sixteen thoughts about what he shouldnt be doing Improvement seems dubious and very complex, but both he and the pro are impressed by the careful analysis of each stroke and the fee is gladly paid upon receipt of the advice to practice all this, and eventually youll see a big improvement I too admit to overteaching as a new pro, but one day when I was in a relaxed mood, I began saying less and noticingTo my surprise, errors that I saw but didnt mention were correcting themselves without the student ever knowing he had made them How were the changes happening Though I found this interesting, it was a little hard on my ego, which didnt quite see how it was going to get its due credit for the improvements being made It was an even greater blow when I realized that sometimes my verbal instructions seemed to decrease the probability of the desired correction occurring All teaching pros know what Im talking about They all have students like one of mine named Dorothy I would give Dorothy a gentle, low pressured instruction like, Why dont you try lifting the follow through up from your waist to the level of your shoulder The topspin will keep the ball in the court Sure enough, Dorothy would try hard to follow my instructions The muscles would tense around her mouth her eyebrows would set in a determined frown the muscles in her forearm would tighten, making fluidity impossible and the follow through would end only a few inches higher At this point, the stock response of the patient pro is, Thats better, Dorothy, but relax, dont try so hard The advice is good as far as it goes, but Dorothy does not understand how to relax while also trying hard to hit the ball correctly Why should Dorothyor you or Iexperience an awkward tightening when performing a desired action which is not physically difficult What happens inside the head between the time the instruction is given and the swing is complete The first glimmer of an answer to this key question came to me at a moment of rare insight after a lesson with Dorothy Whatevers going on in her head, its too damn much Shes trying so hard to swing the racket the way I told her that she cant focus on the ball Then and there, I promised myself I would cut down on the quantity of verbal instructions My next lesson that day was with a beginner named Paul who had never held a racket I was determined to show him how to play using as few instructions as possible Id try to keep his mind uncluttered and see if it made a difference So I started by telling Paul I was trying something new I was going to skip entirely my usual explanations to beginning players about the proper grip, stroke and footwork for the basic forehand Instead, I was going to hit ten forehands myself, and I wanted him to watch carefully, not thinking about what I was doing, but simply trying to grasp a visual image of the forehand He was to repeat the image in his mind several times and then just let his body imitate After I had hit ten forehands, Paul imagined himself doing the same Then, as I put the racket into his hand, sliding it into the correct grip, he said to me, I noticed that the first thing you did was to move your feet I replied with a noncommittal grunt and asked him to let his body imitate the forehand as well as it could He dropped the ball, took a perfect backswing, swung forward, racket level, and with natural fluidity ended the swing at shoulder height, perfect for his first attempt But wait, his feet they hadnt moved an inch from the perfect ready position he had assumed before taking his racket back They were nailed to the court I pointed to them, and Paul said, Oh yeah, I forgot about them The one element of the stroke Paul had tried to remember was the one thing he didnt do Everything else had been absorbed and reproduced without a word being uttered or an instruction being given I was beginning to learn what all good pros and students of tennis must learn that images are better than words, showing better than telling, too much instruction worse than none, and that trying often produces negative results One question perplexed me Whats wrong with trying What does it mean to try too hard How to improve your game and discover your true potential by increasing your concentration, willpower and confidence Described by Billie Jean King as her tennis bible , Timothy Gallwey s multi million bestseller, including a new introduction from acclaimed sports psychologist Geoff Beattie, has been a phenomenon for players of all abilities since it was first published inInstead of concentrating on how to improve your technique, it starts from the understanding that every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game The former is played against opponents on the court, but the latter is a battle within ourselves as we try and overcome self doubt and anxiety It is often won or lost before a ball has been hit Gallwey s revolutionary approach, built on a foundation of Zen thinking and humanistic psychology, will teach you how to develop your concentration, work on your gamesmanship and help you break bad habits You will also learn how to trust yourself on the court and how to maintain clarity of mind throughout the match, giving you a clear psychological advantage over your opponent Whether you are an amateur or a pro, The Inner Game of Tennis is essential reading for overcoming the self doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning It is guaranteed to change the way you play tennis forever

About the Author: W Timothy Gallwey

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