There is more to The Inner Game of Tennis than just tennis. It has applications in all sports, as your professional life. The concept was developed by Timothy Gallwey, a tennis player and coach. Using his experience from tennis, Timothy Gallwey illustrates the methods you need to take to raise your performance in any activity.
Tennis is divided into two different games, according to Timothy Gallwey.
The outer game focuses on the mechanics of holding the racket, keeping your arm level during your backhand, etc. It is the area on which most coaches and athletes tend to concentrate.
This is the game that occurs in the player’s imagination.Timothy Gallwey – The Inner Game of Tennis
Although Timothy Gallwey recognized the value of the outer game, he was more focused on—and believed that most people’s approaches lacked: the inner game.
The mental side of Sport
Tennis players don’t find that their physical limitations or skill are their most complex challenges. They do better in practice than in games. They are aware of the issues with their forehands, yet they cannot break the pattern. They lose track of other things while they focus on one.
Classic Sport Teaching
A tennis expert is instructing a motivated player. The pro is meticulously assessing and dissecting every movement to offer insights since he is anxious about whether the pupil would think him worth the lesson cost.
Before long, 10 things the student should or shouldn’t be doing are racing through his head. It appears doubtful and challenging to improve. Nevertheless, the expert gives the player some advice: Practice everything I told you, and ultimately you’ll see a tremendous difference.
Maybe we should do something differently
Like everyone else, tennis instructor Timothy Gallwey acknowledges that he overtaught his students. But one day, when he was more at ease, he started speaking less and observing more. To his astonishment, the pupils made mistakes, but without his intervention, they started self-correcting on their subsequent shots.
If the teacher didn’t even instruct them on rectifying the problems, how did they achieve it?
When he began to provide them with feedback, a drop in shot quality followed. Instead of focusing on the game, the student would pay close attention to the coach’s directions. Timothy Gallwey said, Relax and don’t try so hard. Such counsel, however, was not helpful.
Less is More
His second lesson was with a beginner who had never gripped a racquet. Timothy Gallwey chose to skip all the routine instructions and explanations about the basics.
Instead, he hit 10 consecutive forehands, and the player only needed to pay close attention. The objective was for the beginner to catch a visual image of the forehand instead of just thinking about it. The learner successfully hit the balls by exactly replicating Timothy Gallwey’s technique. His footwork was off, while everything else was fine.
For the beginner to feel (and not think) about the proper grip, Timothy Gallwey placed the racket in his hand and slipped it into position. He then verbally advised him on his footwork. The one thing the student strived to remember was also the one thing he forgot. Everything else had been absorbed and replicated without a single word of instruction.
What can we learn from this?
- Showing is better than explaining
- Images say more than words
- Too much instruction is worse than none
The Inner Game and the discovery of the two Self
Do you ever speak aloud to yourself? Suppose you dropped something, for instance. “Watch out, you idiot, you!” While some of us swear at ourselves more than others, it’s typical for players to do so in sports. This is an excellent illustration of the interaction between Self 1 and Self 2, as Tim Gallwey terms them.
- Self 1: your conscious mind. The part you typically use to think, make decisions, and communicate with yourself.
- Self 2: your subconscious, which you access when you’re relaxing, and just letting things happen.
These two selves are often in inner conflict, and how this conflict ends usually determines how well you perform on the outside.
Self 1 frequently only gets in the way. We perform at our best when Self 2 is in charge, as you can deduce from thinking back to your own experiences. Does it ever help, for instance, to tell yourself to stop worrying? Rarely. We must adopt a new strategy to address this inner disagreement.
True self-confidence won’t be easy to come by as long as Self 1 is either naive or arrogant enough to ignore Self 2’s abilities. Self-trust must be the foundation of the new relationship we must create with ourselves.
What does having trust in yourself imply on the tennis court? It doesn’t require you to ace every strong serve you do. Tennis players who trust their bodies allow their bodies to strike the ball.
Swing the racket with confidence in your body’s and brain’s abilities.
Let It Happen; let It Learn
Can you just step onto the court if you’ve never played tennis before and let things happen? If your body knows how to hit, let it happen. If your body doesn’t know how to hit, let it learn.
The actions of Self 2 are things it has learned from watching other people do or the information it has stored in its memory of previous actions.
If you are a beginner who has never held a racket in his hand, you need to let the ball hit the strings a few times. Self 2 strives to replicate the successful things and performs less of the unsuccessful things. Whether or not you hit the ball in the right place, Self 2’s computer memory always gathers valid data and saves it for later use.
Programming the Self 2
Allow your body to learn new and valuable skills when you don’t know how to accomplish anything; he will save them for use later. Follow three steps to program Self 2:
- Self 1 establish Goals
- Self 2 do what was implied without passing judgment;
- Sending visuals rather than words to Self 2.
The Inner Game and Changing Habits
Why is it so simple for kids to pick up a new language? Mostly, they lack the knowledge to obstruct their natural learning process. A return to this innocent approach to learning is the Inner Game method.
When there is no suitable substitute, it is significantly harder to break a habit. The harder you try to break a habit, the harder it becomes.
Fighting one’s way out of challenging mental habits is an arduous task. You will need to try to break a negative habit if you believe it is controlling you. There is an approach that is more organic and playful. A kid merely begins a new habit instead of digging his way out of existing ones. Because he doesn’t think he has a habit, a child doesn’t need to stop crawling. He merely walks away because he finds it more convenient to do so.
Step 1: Non-judgmental Observation
Where would you like to begin? What aspect of your game requires improvement? The stroke you consider the worst may not always be the most adaptable one. Allow the stroke to communicate its desire to change.
After watching and feeling your serve for around five minutes, you might clearly know the specific aspect of the stroke that requires emphasis. Find out what changes your serve would want to see. It might desire a more flowing, more powerful rhythm or more spin. It’s probably quite clear what needs to change if 90% of the balls find the net. In any case, allow yourself to experience the desired change before observing a couple more serves.
Step 2: Picture the Desired Outcome
Imagine your serve having greater force as a following stage. Let’s say that additional power is desired in your serve. An effective strategy to perform this may be to observe the motion of a person who serves with a lot of force. Don’t overthink anything; just take it all in and try to feel his feelings.
Step 3: Trust Self 2
Start serving once more without making an effort to control your stroke. Avoid attempting to strike the ball harder, in particular. Just wait for your serve to start serving itself. Allow it to happen now that you have requested additional power. Allow your body to investigate the possibilities because this isn’t magic. But regardless of the outcome, don’t include Self 1.
Step 4: Non-judgmental Observation of Change and Results
Your role is to merely observe as your serve is being served by itself. Keep an eye on the process without interfering. Don’t assist if you feel compelled to. You’ll be less likely to engage in the typical interfering habits of trying too hard, judging, and thinking—and the aggravation that invariably results—the more you can convince yourself to trust the natural process at work.
You experience a certain level of ego fulfilment when you work hard to hit the ball correctly, and it goes smoothly. You experience a sense of mastery over the circumstance and control. However, it doesn’t seem like you deserve the praise when you only let the serve itself. It doesn’t feel like you struck the ball. You typically feel good about your body’s capabilities and perhaps even amazed by the outcomes, but the praise and sense of self-fulfilment are replaced by another type of happiness.
As soon as I force myself to rest, the real relaxation disappears and is replaced by the odd phenomenon of trying to relax. Peace cannot be compelled or forced to happen; it must be permitted.
The Inner Game: the meaning of competition and winning
According to Timothy Gallwey, our society views competition as a way to project an image onto others; that is when our worst traits manifest themselves.
The worry about self-image is the biggest threat to our performance. Your worth is not determined by how well you do in one game. Because we constantly strive for achievement and perfection and believe that if we don’t succeed, we don’t deserve love, we frequently fail to appreciate the small elements of life and nature.
To win is to overcome obstacles to reach a goal, but the value of winning is only comparable in magnitude to the value of the goal achieved. Achieving the goal itself may not be as valuable as the experience we have in making a supreme effort to overcome the obstacles involved. The process can be more rewarding than the victory itself.Timothy Gallwey – The Inner Game of Tennis
Think of your adversary as your friend who will create obstacles for you to overcome. When competing against you, the adversary turns into a partner that helps you advance! With each difficulty that arises during the battle, both grow and become stronger.
Conclusion the Inner Game
Timothy Gallwey has been instructing tennis for many years in a way that can alter both his students’ performances on the court and their lives off it. His approach is based on the idea of the Inner Game that participants engage in with themselves.
He presents the concept of Self 1, which controls our ego-mind, the area of our brain that criticizes and applauds itself Self 2, which relies on primal instincts to do tasks like breathing and striking a tennis ball.
The ultimate objective is to silence Self 1 and let Self 2 take control of our decision-making. Through the Inner Game methods, you will learn to focus intently, calm your thoughts, and define what winning means. Gousset, David
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