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Inner Tennis, Playing the Game Hardcover – November 12, 1976

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Editorial Reviews

A phenomenon when first published in 1972, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that, as Gallwey wrote, "Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game." The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey's revolutionary thinking, built on a foundation of Zen thinking and humanistic psychology, was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge. It was sports psychology before the two words were pressed against each other and codified into an accepted discipline. The new edition of this remarkable work--Billie Jean King called the original her tennis bible--refines Gallwey's theories on concentration, gamesmanship, breaking bad habits, learning to trust yourself on the court, and awareness. "No matter what a person's complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step," he stressed, "is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing--that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is." There are aspects of psychobabble and mysticism to be found here, sure, but Gallwey instructs as much by anecdote as anything else, and time has ultimately proved him a guru. What seemed radical in the early '70s is now accepted ammunition for the canon; the right mental approach is every bit as important as a good backhand. The Inner Game of Tennis still does much to keep that idea in play.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (November 12, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394400437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394400433
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

W. Timothy Gallwey has produced a series of bestselling Inner Game books, which set forth a new methodology for the development of personal and professional excellence in a variety of fields. For the last twenty years Gallwey has been introducing the Inner Game approach to corporations looking for better ways to manage change. He lives in Malibu, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tomaz Mencinger on January 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Gallwey expands his concepts and approaches to the inner game. He manages to explain his ideas even more clearly and identifies many more inner obstacles. But his approach is the same - cooperation of Self1 and Self2, letting go and trusting your body and applying the principle of non-judgment.

He goes deeper into the natural learning mechanism and uses many examples from his coaching that shows us exactly how the lesson went and what his questions and advice to the player were.

The best parts of this book are the drills. Their goal is to quiet our mind and allow our potential to come through unhindered. And quieting the mind goes even deeper in this book. He calls it Progressing in the Art of Relaxed Concentration and it has four stages: paying attention, interested attention, absorbed attention and finally »being wholly there« or union.

What he describes is actually a pathway to »the zone« which is a more common term among coaches and athletes for this special state of mind.

The parts on natural learning and body awareness can help the beginner and the advanced player to quickly realize - become aware - of his shortcomings and correct his technique. Which usually corrects itself by the way...

The book ends with two very intriguing chapters which go deep into human psyche - self-image and the will to win. The self image part is quite possibly a real eye opener if you haven't read any books on similar subjects. It makes you realize all the limitations that we put on ourselves because of our self image.

There are many books about tennis technique and tactics. There are also many books that deal with the mental approach to tennis but this approach is limited to off court or in between points or games.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Timo Makelainen on November 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I just wanted to share the incredible feeling that just a little patience managed to get me after reading this book. Mr. Gallwey has managed to put into words how one feels and thinks when involved in sport (any sport not just tennis). I first read this book 18 years ago, and my snooker game (billiards) improved immensely. For anyone wanting to master their sport, and find out what "being in the zone" is all about, this is a MUST read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keith Whittingham on August 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The content of this book turns itself to addressing the application of the ideas expressed in "The Inner Game of Tennis" by the same author. The first book is excellent - the best bit about it is that the basic idea is good and the book doesn't take 400 pages to explain it. The second book has some extensions to the first but not enough to warrant a whole new book. You are left with the idea that the author is scratching around for material to fill up the number of pages the publisher asked for.

IMHO buy the first book for sure. Books are cheap so, if you're looking to implement the ideas, this book will still pay back the investment but skim read it.
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By Lord Jim on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I played tennis competitively, ranked nationally, and was asked to walk on the college tennis team, after I had "retired." What kept me from being a top 100 player was my brain. I was introduced to John Newcombe when I was 12 and he relayed the most seminal observation that Gallwey addresses; Newcombe said that the top 100 players have all the same physical abilities and shots, but what separates the top 10 from the rest of the pack, is the mind. I would "choke" in almost every match. Newcombe called this "walkabout." I called it, pathetic. I did not have the tools to overcome this; until now. This book would have made so much difference in my tennis. I have started to play again competitively, 35 years later, and I still choked, allowing players of lesser ability to catch up and beat me. Half way through this book, I have experienced immediate improvement. A fellow who beat me 0 and 0 in a state tourney back in July, experienced my improvement, totally attributable to this book, losing to me 2 and one last week.
There are seminal, common attributes to a higher level of achievement in any endeavor that we undertake, Gallwey is the only one who I have met in reading this book, who communicates in the most effectual teaching manner, the techniques, the processes, the enlightenment to reach into ourselves and grasp the capabilities that we have, but have not touched, because of the "noise" that distracts us. He teaches the how to utilize the sentiments of words that express the process; visualize, focus; that generalization of "keep your eye on the ball." Cliff Richey signed my racquet cover 36 years ago with the aforementioned quip, and what seemed so obvious to a 12 year old kid, means so much more that Gallwey in his teaching, shows me how.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This fabulous book teaches the student of tennis how to concentrate and perform to his best in pressure situations. By focusing on all the details of the game at once, it relaxes the mind, so that thinking is kept to a minimum, and the body is allowed to react to the ball coming over the net. The body moves according to it's reflexes, and the player is allowed to hit the ball as he has practiced over and over. The racquet hits the ball almost by itself. It is thinking that gets the athlete into trouble, and creates anxiety. This book teaches techniques to reduce the effect of the mind on the shot.

I have used this technique on the tennis court, and even applied it to golf competition, and business situations, with much success. I highly recommend this book.
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