View Full Version : Inner Game of Tennis Questions
07-17-2009, 02:01 PM
I have been reading The Inner Game of Tennis, and i have a question that i was wondering if anybody could clear up for me. The book says that during play your not supposed to remind yourself how to do something, by using any "magic words", or by just telling youself what to do, but then how are you supposed to improve certain parts of your game. For example sometimes I have trouble watching the ball all the way to the racket, so to make sure I watch the ball during points I remind myself, this also goes with staying on my toes and moving my feet. So is this wrong? And if it is what should I do instead? Thanks.
07-17-2009, 06:03 PM
The major point of the book is allowing the unconscious mind, control over the body from the ego mind.
You still want to make changes but you don't focus all of your conscious attention on all the finite details necessary to make the changes during the match , just make a note of it in a broader sense in the mind and allow the unconscious mind to make the necessary adjustments,given that you know the proper technique to begin with.
This comes with practice,as an analogy I teach martial arts, to ingrain a self defense technique into motor memory where it can be used without conscious thought requires around a thousand repetitions. There are over 500 hundred techniques to learn to reach black belt level, but true mastery of the system never comes until you actually quit thinking about the separate techniques and are able to react without thought,we call this flow.
Work on the individual things you want to improve by practicing and drilling,
if you are trying to do this constantly during matches your overall game will suffer because your focus will be too narrow and the conscious mind will have too much control over your play.
Practice,practice,practice, get the technique correct and ingrained until you do not have to think about it during match play.
07-17-2009, 06:09 PM
I am a very advanced player. I wish I was as good at other sports as I am at tennis. Not a super power hitter, just a winner.
I think it's okay to remind yourself conciously to prepare early. What this bible adresses is the moment afterwards when your brain eye and body make several thousand quick calculations,
the ball is hit
the voice inside the mind must be quited to achieve perfection at this point as there is sooooo much going on.
Sometimes focusing in non verbal ways is bad as well. Tennis is an art. After a certain point you just get really skilled. It accumulates, not like scholastic learning, it's a physical skill, like riding a bike, and all of a sudden you're doing wheelies, riding wheelies, bunny hops, etc.
07-18-2009, 03:43 PM
ok thanks guys
I like to tell the people I coach to just be aware of what is happening and don't try to focus too much on making it happen. We obviously go over technique and work on it in a methodical fashion, but when it comes time to hit, I just want them to be aware of what's happening, not really try to make it happen by thinking specifically about the techniques.
Many times I have told people to do something strange and they do it just fine, but then when they try to do the normal thing they can't. I think this is because when doing the strange or unusual thing they aren't so concerned with watching the results.
As an example, sometimes I ask people to hit with the frame instead of the strings when serving. I am always surprised at how often the person I'm teaching perfectly nails the ball with the frame on the first try. For some reason though, they can't hit the center of their string bed after 20 or 30 tries.
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