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The Inner Game of Tennis: The classic guide to the mental side of peak performance Paperback – 5 Sep 1986


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; 1st Pan Book Edition edition (5 Sep 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330295136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330295130
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By tennismom on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
As most people can guess by the title, the "inner game" of tennis is the game that takes place iin the mind of the player and is played against barriers such as nervousness, self-doubt, etc.

To gain clarity on the mental problems in tennis, the book looks at the concepts of "Self 1" and "Self 2". Self 1 is the name that is given to the conscious ego-mind which likes the tell Self 2, you and your potential, how to hit the ball and play the game. Or, to put it another way, Self 1 is the "teller" and Self 2 the "doer". I found this to be an interesting idea, as we have all caught ourselves talking to ourselves or have seen others talking to themselves during a game. If you ask someone who they are talking to, they will usually say "I'm talking to myself." This, of course, implies that there are 2 "selves", "I" and "myself"- and so is born the idea of Self 1 and Self 2. Pretty astutue observation in my opinion.

Now according to the book, to achieve peak performance, the key is to resolve any lack of harmony between the two selves, as it is the contrary thinking of Self 1 which causes interference with the natural abilities of Self 2. This requires the learning of several inner skills, such as the art of letting go of self-judgements, letting Self 2 do the hitting, recognizing and trusting the natural learning process, and so on- which is what much of the books spends discussing.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who plays tennis (or any other sport for that matter) as it does a great job in dealing with the fact that many of our difficulties in tennis are indeed mental in origin. Other helpful books for tennis players I've come across include Treat Your Own Tennis Elbow and Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Olivier Choquet on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is fundamentally introducting some very simple concepts that will probably explain a lot about why as tennis players, many of us just don't progress and have uncontrolled performances - 5 min of genius, 20 min of totally rubbish game, great practice session, then fear in match etc...all influenced by the mind and the Self1 (to discover in the book).
The net result for me after reading the book (I apply the simple tips of the book):
- I enjoy myself more when playing
- I win more matches
- My tennis is more liberated
- I am not anymore an abnoscious person on the court when I miss points (actually, I am super calm now)
I saw a review which gives a poor score to this book and I can actually understand it somehow since in reality, once you understand the concepts explained, one could argue, you don't need 130 pages or so to develop on them, but I think it is a bit harsh to rate it like that and the book is well worth the money.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Astore Stargazer VINE VOICE on 28 July 2002
Format: Paperback
If there are many of you out there that are like me, then you can be forgiven for being very sceptical about learning from a book rather than the more conventional typical coaching methods, however this book differs from all the others I have read, and also gives you the advantage on the most important aspect of the mental side of the game.
Before I read the book I was having a lot of trouble with keeping my mind focussed when things didn't go my way, I would get frustrated and more often than not my tempor would get the better of me time and time again. However after reading the book my tennis pals noticed a huge difference in my temprement, and I was channelling my frustration into determination. But the book also demonstrates ways of improving your all round game in the simplist terms and I found that I learned more from the book than I was learning from my qualified coach from serving to backhand its all here and for the price it is a true bargain, the book isn't as expensive as some that are out there but it is clearly more effective as it really focusses on the mental game and explains it in a way that would put most of the best coaches to shame. If you keep smashing your tennis racket like me then look no more and buy this book immediately because it is a true bargain.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is beautiful. Every chapter just makes perfect sense. Gallwey has taught me many things through this masterpiece - how far in you can get away standing to receive even fast serves, that I was a "good-o" type player and why this mentality won't get you anywhere or at least any happiness, how you shouldn't *try* to win but instead make the *effort* to win, how breathing can transform your game, how awareness is the key to playing to your potential and thoughts are your obstacles, and so much more.

The only thing I lament is that I don't remember what he says in this book everytime I step on court and instead sometimes end up reverting to my erroneous thinking! But I think I'm getting better. I'm determined to win the inner game! What one really needs is to find a way of drilling his advice into their subconscious! I can only recommend continually rereading it!

You should also bear in mind that this book is a lesson on life as well as tennis, and can make you life more peaceful. I think Gallwey says somewhere in here something along the lines of "you can practise concentration to improve your tennis, or you can practise tennis to improve your concentration..." If you buy one book to improve your tennis get this one, no matter what level you're at. It will increase your enjoyment of the game.
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