The Inner Game of Tennis Book Review
W. Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Tennis is a short book about how to improve tennis game by developing the mental side of the sport. Mr. Gallwey begins by discussing that many of the problems that tennis players face are in their minds. He then explains this more by breaking it down into a simple idea: that a person has two “selves”: Self One and Self Two. Self One is the part of every person that is critical of each action that is made, telling the person whether or not a particular action is “good” or “bad.” Self Two is the part that is actually performing the actions. He then discusses the learning process when it comes to technique, how we should instead try to learn as children do: by simply taking things for what they are, not judging as bad and good or right and wrong. In the next chapter he goes a bit further and talks about habits we may already have developed and again points to children as the solution to this problem. Children do not fix bad habits, they simply form new ones. Mr. Gallwey believes we could learn quite a bit by emulating this. In the last few chapters, he talks about actually performing, on and off the court, as well as the meaning of competition. Most of it had to do with the idea of focus and concentrating on the here and now. The idea of there being two separate entities within one person fascinated me. I have always noticed within my own singing a sort of inner struggle between two competing sides of myself. This book certainly put that into perspective. I now can recognize Self One and Self Two in myself, looking back at my own practicing and performing. Mr. Gallwey proposes the idea that Self One is the “ego-mind,” which I understood as our ego, which can be hurt if we perform poorly. To compensate for this, we seem to over-think and weigh ourselves down with too many internal instructions that, when things go poorly, simply turn into attacks on Self Two’s performance and person. I feel...
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