|The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey|
- Self 1 vs. Self 2. Gallwey points out the inner battle between the mental (Self 1; read: mind) and the “human” side (Self 2). A good illustration of this is when striking a ball with the racket, the human body and brain are smart moving in a way to strike the ball. However, when the ball is not struck well, a player can be frustrated – yelling at himself to strike it better. From here, the player’s mind (Self 1) is now in control with much focus on how to strike the ball which only motivates the player to keep thinking too much about how to strike the ball. This prohibits the natural learning process of the body & mind (Self 2) to make the right adjustments.
- The “natural self” (Self 2). Gallwey points out how each person is the perfect version of himself or herself. However, the mind gets in the way trying to be “better”. The natural self, however, knows how to improve. Gallwey points out how young children learn how to crawl, walk, talk by themselves. Children’s minds do not interfere and try to teachthe body how to walk. Instead, the body moves, learns, adapts, and tries again.
- Reviewing the self. As a tennis instructor, Gallwey used to instruct his clients how to swing. Most of the time, however, players would already know what they would need to do. They still did not do it. Then, Gallwey instructed players to watch their reflections in how they strike the ball. The players watched and realized how they should swing their rackets – it was not any different from what instructors had said. However, this gave clients the ability to self-assess and visualize the proper way of swinging. No other coaching was needed. Their movements would improve on their own.
I appreciated Gallwey’s book identifying Self 1 and Self 2. Unsure if there were many more take-aways that others would get out of the book. However, my focus points were about the need to bifurcate the mind from what the player (the true self) knows what to do. Overthinking is all too common which can paralyze the player.