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The Inner game of Tennis
I recently read "The Inner game of Tennis" by W.Timothy Gallwey . It is more about the mental side of Tennis and the jist of it goes something like this:-
"Letting it happen and not making it happen- Avoid stroke by stroke instructions. The primary goal of self 1(mind) is to set goals for self 2(body) and then let self 2 perform. The native tongue of self 2 is imagery:sensory and lose mucles. Hold the image in the mind of where you want the ball to go and let the body do the rest. For learning absorb the images in front of you- concentrating without thinking. When we unlearn to be judgmental, it is possible to achieve spontaneous, concentrated play. Judgments are personal reactions to sound, sight, feeling and thoughts within our experience. Visual and feeling images- feel images. Words were not learnt by self 2 for a lot of time after birth. Once having programmed the body, self 1ís role is to observe the results in a detached manner as if it is observing somebody elseís stroke. Having programmed yourself with the desired flight of the ball, trust your body to do it. " If I were to sum it up in one sentence, it would be to try and experience the game as much as possible instead of intellectualizing.
When I mentioned it to our chief coach here, he dismissed all this by saying that Tennis is more about getting the mechanics right. I was wondering if people in this forum agree to whatever is mentioned in the book. I recall reading something on this forum about getting the feel right(instead of thinking) but could not trace the article. Kindly let me have the link if it is there.
I don't know my best shot is my serve and when I'm hitting it great I don't think about technique at all I just think of what I want the serve to do and I make it happen almost unconsciously and I'm getting closer to hitting 120mph serves every time I play. Off the ground I think too much and miss time the ball alot so I constantly have to tell myself to relax and swing freely like with my serve. As long as you know your mechanics are sound I would say thinking about your shots is a liability. As far as shot selection goes that's where experiencing the game is key.
I'm surprised there haven't been more replies to this post as in my opinion, the Inner Game of Tennis is possibly one of the most important tennis books ever writtten!
The book details how to learn and enjoy the game by relaxing and imitating the game of players around you and describes the battle between ones' conscious wanting to do something, self 1 (always judging and criticising) and the less subjective self 2, which allows for learning in the same non-judgmental way that for example a child learns to walk.
It does help to have a coach who understands the process though. Many emotionally challenged players suffer as a result of their own hands, unnecesarily beating themselves up, hating themselves for missing shots and failing to live up to their expectations. Secretly though, I reckon many of these players actually love this mental battle with themselves - they'll never win though - for them that win could always have been that little bit better - that shot hit just a little bit cleaner - they could have put that ball a way a little bit earlier.
The Inner Game of Tennis helps takes away MUCH of unnecessary unwanted pain players inflict on themselves - I recommend it thoroughly.
THE TENNIS GURU
I have written a book titled "Mastering The Mental Side of Tennis." It's about a muscle testing technology I created called Hemispheric Kinesiology and explains how the hemispheres of your brain influence how well or poorly you will perform during your matches. My website is www.hk-relax.com. I am interested in starting a discussion for the mental side of tennis. Anyone interested?
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