The Inner Game of Tennis
Monday, July 12, 2010
I'm reading a great book called The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. It contains great insights into how to improve your tennis (or to improve any skill for that matter) by changing the way you learn.
Instead of rushing to judgment on your tennis strokes (and mis-judging what's going on) the book teaches you how to calmly and objectively observe what you're doing and what's happening, with full and relaxed concentration.
Only then (the book teaches) can you effectively analyse how to improve, rather than doing what most people do: criticising yourself with vague, unfocused, and unhelpful/unproductive comments like 'that was terrible' or 'I'm useless' or 'I'll never get this right', without really noticing exactly what just happened and learning from it.
Once you master this Zen-like approach to learning, you discard all the self-defeating emotions of anxiety/tension/anger/frustrat
ion/confusion/irritation, and instead observe what's happening and learn from it. The book helps you to focus, boost your powers of observation, think more clearly, learn more quickly, and enjoy yourself more.
Apart from improving your tennis, it helps you to 'learn how to learn more effectively' - and this skill can be transferred to every area of your life.