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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know Your "Selves" Better
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...
Published on Nov. 12 2010 by momRN

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3.0 out of 5 stars Classic not as practical as recent resources
Gallwey's book was an instant classic when it first came out. It was somewhat revolutionary at the time as few sport psychology books were available for the tennis public. It still makes good bathroom reading and it still applies to a general lifestyle, not just about tennis. However, there are currently more practical mental toughness or mental zone books out there which...
Published on Dec 12 2001


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know Your "Selves" Better, Nov. 12 2010
This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, June 7 2014
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This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
It is a book not only for athletics but for anyone who wants to master his/her life. A simple and excellent guidance book
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must in any competitive tennis!, March 8 2013
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Tony K (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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Explained the concepts well and a must read if you are 15 or 65 and play a competitive match. This is the first book that revealed the inner game of tennis and life. Wish there is a sequel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inner game of Tennis, Jan. 14 2013
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It was not quite what I was expecting but I bought it for my son. I had read a copy of it in the early 80's and liked it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid approach to better performance, Aug. 3 2008
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Glen Argan (Edmonton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
Interesting book that has many insights I will use in improving my curling game.

However, given that this is a classic book written more than 30 years ago, I have to wonder why today's top tennis players are nothing like the calm, detached athlete that Timothy Gallwey sets forth as a model. They are passionate about winning and many get angry with their own mistakes or calls made by line judges. Top tennis players are not "detached from the result" as Gallwey would have us be.

My guess is that the tennis elite may have learned some things from this book, but have not bought the Zen tennis approach hook, line and sinker. Maybe they should - maybe we all should and the world would be a better, less hyper-competitive place. That they haven't does show that Gallwey's approach has some limitations for competitive athletes.

All that said, The Inner Game of Tennis has much to recommend it. His analysis of the role that the left brain and right brain (Self 1 and Self 2) play in athletics is extremely useful for analyzing one's own inner talk. His chapters on Changing Habits and Concentration: Learning to Focus are gold mines of practical tips.

The basic insight I will take away from this book is that of seeking awareness of what I am already doing in my curling delivery and having that awareness without making judgments. Let change/improvement happen, without forcing it to happen according to a preconceived model. Gallwey would never use as judgmental a word as "improvement," but probably everyone who reads this book is seeking exactly that. Pursued patiently using Gallwey's approach, they will probably find it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A new approach to learning and enjoying the game, July 7 2006
By 
Remy Bernard (Gatineau, Qc, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
Excellent book on the psychology of playing tennis (or any other sport for that matter). Some concepts you already know or "feel" but Timothy Gallwey writes them in words extermely well so he makes you realize the ones you know and makes you discover the ones you don't know. Note that he doesn't "show" you how to make a forehand/backhand or any other shots. Instead, he tells you how you should approach learning and practicing them.

His concept of the 2 selves really hit the spot for me and helped me greatly in taking a different approach when playing others or practicing my shots. If you're like me, you've always felt there's a natural way of playing but most people are trying too hard and try to control every single movement in their shot. This makes you believe that it's how you should be playing (make sure you hold your raquet this way, then hold your raquet at this hight... shift your weight here while moving your raquet this way...). But Timothy explains and gives you tricks to focus and simply trust your body to make the shots it naturaly can make (or learn to make).

I really liked the chapters on why people play tennis and Timothy's concept of competition. This makes a great difference when enjoying the game. He actually goes very far in my mind and I now understand some of my friends attitude better after reading those 2 chapters (you most likely have some friends like this: win by all means so to prove one self to the other and themselves... and if they loose, there's always an excuse for it). It makes the game even more fun while getting better at it.

I'm a 28 year old amateur playing in a local league and just for fun with friends. I would have loved to read this book when I was a kid. Helps tremendously in self-esteem and the perception of competition (for any sport).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can help both calm and vexatious people alike!, Aug. 4 2004
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Bruce (Ottawa, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
This book is very well written and easy to read. The author uses intelligent wording/language and teaches through interesting stories. If you are a player who is easily frustrated you should read this book to help you calm your mind when you play tennis. Even a player who is normally quiet should use this book as a tool to stay even more focused. Don't be thrown off my the author's 'laiser faire' attitude towards winning tennis games; the real kick is in the last couple chapters when he talks about why it's important to win. Great book, I will read it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I should have read this 20 years ago!!, July 2 2004
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This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
This book has cured me from being a head case!! Better late than
never! Thank you Tim Gallwey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars use this book to play better and have more fun, May 7 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
Tennis has been one of my favorite sports for many years, although I've never been that good at it (3.5 USTA rating, which is sorta intermediate). I had never heard about this book until it caught my eye at the library, and it intrigued me. I'm not that big on instructional books, because sports are so visual it's almost impossible to describe (for example) all the things your body needs to do to hit a decent serve. In my own game, my serve has actually deteriorated quite a bit over the years, and all my attempts at "fixing" it only seemed to make it worse.
Then, I happened to watch Andy Roddick play on TV at the 2003 US Open. As you probably know, Mr. Roddick has hit the fastest serve ever recorded (150+MPH), and is one of the best tennis players in the world. What really amazed me about his serve is that his motion isn't very complicated (like Pete Sampras or John McEnroe, to date myself). What I noticed is that his main focus when serving is simply to make perfect, solid contact with the ball and send it on its way over the net. Somehow, I was able to lock in on a mental image of Roddick getting his racket, arm and shoulder into perfect position to hit a killer serve. Then, just goofing around really, I took some balls to my local park and started whacking serves the way I thought Roddick would if he was in my body. The results were immediate and impressive. My velocity went up dramatically, and I just felt so much more comfortable than I had for years.
In this book, the author says he noticed that if he watched Frankie Albert play QB for the SF 49ers and then played street football with his friends (pretending he was Albert), he could throw much better than usual. I totally agree with what he's saying, and my Roddick experience above is another example. In fact, what got me started playing tennis was the total style, class, and enjoyment that was Bjorn Borg's game in the 70's-80's.
So, I agree with most if not all of the author's lessons, especially finding someone to "be like" and then "being like" that person. I also agree with the importance of getting your analytical, critical mind (Self 1) to focus on things like the spin of the ball or the sound it makes when your opponent hits a shot. Where I think the author sells the reader short is by not making two points:
1. TENNIS IS NOT EASY. While keeping your Self 1 under control will definitely help, everyone has physical limitations, and tennis is a difficult hand-eye coordination exercise. In my opinion, the main reason tennis has fizzled in popularity in recent years is because it's basically a hard game to learn. The author probably skips this point to avoid scaring people off, but he could counter by mentioning that the Inner Game will make tennis less difficult and more enjoyable.
2. TENNIS REQUIRES LOTS OF PRACTICE. This book is somewhat Zen-like in its approach, but any Zen book will tell you that the most important part of your practice is, well, practice. By this I don't mean hours of boring drills and instruction, I just mean playing on a consistent basis with a variety of levels, watching matches on TV or in person, and spending some time hitting by yourself or with a friend.
I still gave the book 5 stars, because I think it can help anyone's game and other aspects of life as well. I'm also reading his books on work and golf, but to me the author's forte is tennis so I'm glad I started with this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars GURU, March 5 2004
This review is from: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Paperback)
When I began reading this, I was somewhat dubious due to Mr. Galwey's long time involvement with Prem Rawat the notorious cult leader who once was known as Guru Maharaj Ji of Malibu, CA. However, as a long time tennis player and golfer, I could not deny some of the basic views he put forward. Read it but note cult thinking as well.
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