21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2010
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2009
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.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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.
on 15 May 2008
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2011
I do not play tennis but read this book because some horsemen recommend it. I found it useful as the book explains how good our body is at computing and calculating what it needs to do to perform certain actions - such as a tennis stroke or for me riding a particular movement or working with my horse on the ground. It explains how our conscious mind gets in the way, sometimes by thinking we are not good enough or piling on pressure to perform as our ego interferes. Our conscious mind wants to dissect how we do some physical action and this is enough to affect our natural game and ability. I am very guilty of over analysing things so am trying to be more in the moment and trusting my body to get it right - shutting my conscious mind out is not easy. I would recommend this book for anyone wishing to play a sport or instrument as it may help you to stop micro-managing aspects of your game or playing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2000
My principle sport is Table Tennis, I don't play tennis at all. Nevertheless I have found the concepts in this book very helpful and easy to follow. Having put some of the author's principles into practice I am now much less prone to defeat by so-called "poorer" players. In the past I have played matches where (for seemingly inexplicable reasons) my game almost literally fell apart. This happens much less frequently and never to the same degree as before. My play is now much more consistent. Although I am still not a world beater this book has undoubtedly been a great help. The book's contents are simple to understand and not too difficult to implement. Re-read every couple of months for maximum success. It's one of the cheaper books on this subject so the decision to buy is not too painful. I heartily recommend it!
on 25 August 2014
A friend recommend this book to me as it had helped her to refocus on her serve, which had disappeared completely during a period of absence, due to maternity leave. She knew the problem was in her head and this helped her to get her serve back on track. I was playing with her and my game, that day, was inconsistent. I was becoming frustrated that I couldn't hit a good forehand, that I was going long etc. I was shaking my head at disgust at my own game. All the things that this author says not to do...... I read the book and quiet honestly it has changed my game and probably my life. I stop myself before I get all angry on the court with my game. I ask myself to stop trying too hard. I say to myself, 'forget the last point and the score'. I don't think about how I am going to hit the ball, I just hit it. I play with gay abandon, and believe me, it just works...... Try it!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2000
If you are that person berating yourself for missing an easy smash, or it seems that you are forever trying to goad yourself into being better, faster, quicker etc. - then reading this book will certainly bring some welcome relief. It gives a valuable lesson in how to relax and take let yourself perform without hindrance - something that can help us in every avenue of life.
It is a subtle, engaging, non-preaching, compelling read. For anyone who likes competition, find out not only how to be a better competitor, but also how to get more enjoyment out of it. Superb.
on 24 February 2009
I came to this book as a business coach exploring the origins of modern business coaching. Much of our current approach to coaching can be traced back to Timothy Gallwey and this inconspicuous little book published in 1974.
Even the author himself is at pains to explain that in many ways this is not just a book about tennis, rather it is about overcoming mental obstacles to performance. Whether that performance is in sport, at work or in some other area of life.
I found it a very though provoking book and had to read it more than once for all of the subtle information to sink in, but it was well worth doing so.
An essential addition to the library for any aspiring coach (or tennis player!)
on 22 June 2009
If you've ever served at break point, and despite extra care served a double fault, here's why. And a zillion other little niggles that all lead back to the same basic problem. This is a classic, hugely influential on generations of would-be Federers, and asks the reader to consider some very fundamental questions.
The lessons learnt, and the progress that ensues, are lessons for life, not just for tennis. Follow this book for a how-to on nurturing yourself, on feeling good about your shortcomings, and on building the confidence needed to tackle and reverse them. I don't know who wouldn't benefit from this book.
Oh, and watch the damn ball, stupid!