🎾 The Inner Game Of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey - Book Notes
February 06, 2024 • 3 min readRating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads:Inner Game of Tennis
⛰ What It’s About
- Insightful: Mental techniques and strategies for improving focus, concentration, and overall mental toughness especially when playing elite sport.
- Simple: Short and to the point book discussing Sports Psychology
- Ideas widely applicable in so many other fields outside of elite sports and sports in general.
I really enjoyed the Inner Game of Tennis and the main reason it’s because of the focus on the mental side. How we can achieve things if we let go of thoughts and judgments and decide to trust ourselves to achieve what we planned out to.
Focus on Process, Not Outcome: Instead of always thinking about the end goal which is winning a game or achieving a particular result, it’s better to focus on the things you’re doing in the moment. Pay attention, improve your skills, and enjoy the process. Don’t stress too much about the outcome—concentrate on the task at hand and remember to enjoy also playing the game of tennis for the sake of playing it.
“Letting go means allowing joy to come into your life instead of contriving to have a good time’ and the ultimate ‘winner’ in the end ‘stops caring about the outcome and plays all out.”
Another insight is the idea of quieting the mind, not something easy to achieve but as he calls it this is the art of relaxed concentration. I’ve certainly experienced it but it’s not always that easy to get to such a state.
Getting it together mentally:
- learning how to get the clearest possible picture of your desired outcomes
- learning how to trust self 2 to perform at its best and learn from both success and failures
- learning to see ‘nonjudmentally’ - that is, to see what is happening rather than merely noticing how well or how badly is happening
I rarely think but a lot of things happened because I let them happen rather than work hard to
make them happen. For example: moving to Spain, I made the decision, worked for it on it but I had to let go at the same time and trust the process rather than stress about it every day.
❗Images are better than words: Getting the clearest possible image of your desired outcomes is the most useful method for communicating with self 2, especially *when playing a match.* → if self 2, the doer, knows and has a clear idea of what is to be done it’s easier for self 2 to get going and do the things.
Allow learning to happen: As long as you take people’s guidance (the pro or a book or a mentor/coach etc.) as an opportunity to explore your own experience, you really cannot help but learn in a natural and effective manner.→ this is something I do when reading books too I try to understand things through my lens and experience and then I try out the things to see how they feel/work for me. Feeling and trying things out on your own is so different from just reading about it and assuming it just fits. We are all so different.
Relax: I think this is something universal, relaxing is correlated so many times with laziness and it is given so little weight on it’s importance in achieving anything. If we don’t take moments to stop and rest I believe we cannot tap into some inner resources. As the author says though: Relaxation happens only when allowed not as a result of “trying” or “making”.
See what it feels like to ask yourself to do something and let it happen without any conscious trying.
✍️ My Top 3 Quotes
- “success and failure are not decided solely on the pitch, in the ring or on the tennis court. They are just as often decided in the mind, sometimes before the player have even entered the arena.”
- “images are better than words, showing better than telling, too much instructions worse than none.”
- “The cause of most stress can be summed up by the word attachement. Self 1 gets so dependent upon things, situations, people and concepts within its experience that when change occurs or seems about to occur, it feels threatened. Freedom from stress does not necessarily involve giving up or anything, but rather being able to let go of anything, when necessary, and know that one will be all right. It comes from being more independent - not necessarily more solitary, but more reliant on one’s own inner resources of stability.” - 🤔🤯
What I Liked About It
- It was quite short and to the point.
- Stories that accompanied the ideas shared.
What I Didn’t Like About It
Too much tennis jargon and insights into tennis techniques that I didn’t care about.
How the Book Changed Me
I tried to see myself while doing an exercise and it made such a huge difference. Although I was aware of it it takes it to such a different level.