The Inner Game of Tennis

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jimstorm, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. jimstorm

    jimstorm Rookie

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    Just read it, im pretty sure it saved my athletic career. I went from smashing up my racket last Thursday, to being confident that i will never get mad in a match or practice again.
    GO READ IT!
    its easy and a really helpful.
     
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  2. tennisfreak15347

    tennisfreak15347 Banned

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    can you describe the contents of it?
     
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  3. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Tennis Zen Style... :)


    Great read!!!
     
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  4. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey - This book introduces a revolutionary program for overcoming the self-doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that will keep a player from playing upto his/her abilities. Learn to play like a ZEN master and stay in your ZONE !
    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.

    http://www.woodtennis.com/inner10s/
     
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  5. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Anyone in performance genre can benefit from the read. Musicians have been reading it for years and so there was a Inner Game of Music published, but I can't remember the author.
     
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  6. Enrique Guldberg

    Enrique Guldberg New User

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    this book is in my opinion one of the best tennis books ever. I m coach, and i m using this idea to coach. Is not only helping me in my job if not in my life
     
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  7. kairosntx

    kairosntx Professional

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    One of the best books on the mental side of sports. Pete Carroll makes makes his players at USC read it.


    From the LA Times:

    The Inner Game has developed a big following since it was first published in 1972. Carroll is such a big fan that he wrote the foreword of the latest edition. He also reportedly had his three Heisman winners -- Palmer, Leinart, and Bush -- read the mere 122 pages. The latest Trojan to subscribe to the philosophy is team captain Lawrence Jackson.
     
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  8. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Must admit I think there are better books out there if you want something with a practical application to your tennis.

    I think Mental Toughness Training by Jim Loehr is much better as it gives you a lot more practicality and doesn't fill your head with self 1 / self 2 clutter.

    Having said that the book is better than not addressing the mental side at all and is worth purchasing.
     
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  9. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Greatest tennis book ever written I think. That and Winning Ugly together are the Ying and Yang of tennis books. Still Inner Game is top of the list. I got my first copy when I was 11. Read half of it and didn't get it, picked it up again a few years later and everything went off like a lightbulb. Still have my original copy.
     
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  10. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I read winning ugly and didn't feel like it was all that valuable. Sure there was some good advice on mental aspects of the game, but when it comes down to it the first priority should be to learn proper fundamentals, effective practice techniques, and then to really develop your game before any of that matters.

    I read the books "Tennis Mastery" and "Competitive Tennis: Climbing the NTRP Ladder" as a novice, which I think helped me far more than Winning Ugly did.
     
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  11. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    It's a good book. There is a later book by the same author that contains more practical applications. I have it sitting at home but I can't remember the name....

    Otherwise I found Wardlaw's "Pressure Tennis" (featuring the "directionals") good and also "Tennis Mastery" (lots of pictures) from a technique/practical perspective.

    Other good mental books are "Mental Tennis" and "Winning Ugly". Mental tennis has many of the elements of the Inner Game about it. Winning Ugly is more about in match attitudes than anything else and good pre-match analysis and discipline. That and some anecdotes. Not the best but very readable.

    One of these days I'm going to make a thread containing all my book reviews....one of these days....
     
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  12. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Tennis Mastery is a great read!
     
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  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Agreed. Tennis Mastery is an absolute must for self-taught players who want to avoid plateuing at a low level.
     
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  14. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Winning Ugly has a lot to do with Gilbert polishing his own ego, telling stories of some of the greatest players he beat and how much money he won and even though theres a lot of that throughout that book I still think he gives a lot of really good pointers especially for someone playing competitively. I read it when it first came out when I was about 13 and it helped me out quite a bit in tournaments especially his take on set up points, starting a match at 60% like Lendl and so on. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but just like everything it won't work for everyone but its good you found a book that helped you a lot and you enjoyed it. Thats the key.
     
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  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Lol! Agreed. He strokes his own ego so often in the book.
     
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  16. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Yea, well its true. Right away in the first chapter he tells everyone he's made X amount of money and is on the top 10 money list or something (not anymore of course ha) but some of the old stories in there are fun to read I'll admit that.
     
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  17. Kevo

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    I think the ego stroking is kind of instructional though. He also admits that he had some terrible looking strokes and wasn't a great tennis talent. Overall it was a good read, and perfectly applicable to an average league player.
     
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  18. jb193

    jb193 Rookie

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    If you like the Inner Game of Tennis, I also highly recommend reading "Tennis: The inner Game" also. It is just a continuation and explains more....

    While I really enjoyed reading the book, I too find difficulty applying the principles to my actual game.

    However, educationally speaking, it has insight into the human mind that I think everyone can benefit from reading this..... His emphasis on the value of "focus" is a game & life changer.
     
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  19. Serve_Ace

    Serve_Ace Professional

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    I'm sorry but these books don't really work....
     
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  20. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Its a personal opinion, thats about it
     
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  21. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Tennis Mastery has lots of good stuff in it but the editor should have been shot. Disgraceful.
     
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  22. beckham

    beckham Semi-Pro

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    yeah i just finished reading it, and i think i will reread
     
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  23. Caloi

    Caloi Semi-Pro

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    Saw this thread and had to go check an email I received over the summer. A neighbor that I was hitting with a bit recommended me this book. Now I'm very curious and would actually have some time to read it so I'll be sure to go check it out.

    Anyone use their libraries for tennis book recources? I may need to go over there and see if they carry anything.

    To the poster that said they'd put together a review of the books they've read, I'd certainly appreciate it!
     
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  24. blue12

    blue12 Rookie

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    Yeah I'm not sure! Does anybody have any specific examples of techniques from the inner game of tennis that they found helpful!

    I read it a long time ago but don't really remember it.
     
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  25. Serve_Ace

    Serve_Ace Professional

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    It's all in your head. There I just pretty much summed up every single tennis improvement book.
    Though I'm sure there's more haha.
     
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  26. Caloi

    Caloi Semi-Pro

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    lol, I'm always looking for the holy grail of tennis tips. When i was learning golf I read something one day that took me from a 100 shot kind of guy to a sub 90's kind of guy. It doesn't even matter what the tip was, just that it was one simple thing that made me think about my shot. To this day I can still hit in the low 90's even though I only play a handful of times each year now.

    I keep looking for that 'something' with tennis...:?
     
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  27. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    A specific example from the book the Inner Game of Tennis? Hmm there's lots but the one that almost comes first to mind and one of the best ones from there is his take on watching the ball, more specifically seam watching. Lots of good stuff in there.
     
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  28. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    What I believe is the holy grail of tennis tips is a quote that came from the book Tennis Mastery, and it goes something similar to this,

    "If you want to be an advanced player, you must play like an advanced player".

    This basically encompasses everything. You must learn and use advanced stroke fundamentals and strategies. You must practice in a productive way. Every time you step foot on a tennis court and have a decision to make, whether it be a shot selection or decision on what to do during your court time, you should do what advanced players would do.

    You don't look for shortcuts on how to beat 3.5 players. If you can't beat 3.5 players while using an advanced game, then you just need to practice harder until you can. If you look for shortcuts you will start employing intermediate strokes and strategies that will stagnate your game.
     
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  29. Caloi

    Caloi Semi-Pro

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    I like that, and it makes sense.

    I've followed some of your posts in the past (haven't been here much lately) but I forget, are you coached? It's one thing I've considered but not sure if it's worth it. On one hand I'm self taught and enjoy looking at videos and reading up on tennis tips (back to the original intent of this thread) and figuring things out on my own. OTOH I'd like to get better faster and think a coach would help that.
     
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  30. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, some interesting moments there...
     
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  31. jb193

    jb193 Rookie

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    The key to the "inner game" is focus. It is not letting your ego standing in the way of your natural ability and just play the game the way it should be played and that is with desire. Tim Galloway, says doing this can be done through focus. Focus on things that are actually real, such as the ball, for example. The ball's flight pattern, it's bounce, it's sound, and its visual properties. His literature is more than a tennis technique, but more of a life skill. I guess his ultimate contribution to me is that "focus" really is a life giving exercise and that the way to do this to be totally aware of what ever you are interested in accomplishing in a non-judgemental mindset. I personally think that concept is genius. I have honestly applied his teachings more to my work than tennis. I personally have too many inner demons on the tennis court however to fully incorporate his ideas in actual competitive tennis.......
     
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  32. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I take full responsibility for the typos and mistakes that got printed in the book. After it was edited, it was redone as a PDF file with the printers moving some text and changing some of the captions. (Most of the mistakes were in the captions that got changed.) I missed these when the drafts were sent back to me in the PDF files. It would have paid to have had it edited again at this point, no doubt.

    Those who have read Coaching Mastery will find it nearly completely free of these mistakes...

    Live and learn!

    Thanks to all who have written the kind and valuable comments about the book that I wrote to help everyone attain higher skill levels based on my Advanced Foundation.

    And I agree, that the other books that have been mentioned are excellent too!
     
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  33. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I'm not coached but I did take 2 lessons last year. I found that a good instructor is definitely worthwhile, but it was too expensive for me to continue pursuing it. Plus I believe that there was still alot I could teach myself so I was ok with continuing on with the self-taught route.

    On the downside, I've made alot of mistakes along the way by being self-taught, so I'm sure a good coach will save you alot of time by avoiding these mistakes. It takes alot of effort to read all the available resources and watch videos and then take initiative to correct your own technical flaws. There will always be things you miss or just don't know enough about. But the books I mentioned like Tennis Mastery and Climbing the NTRP Ladder (as well as fuzzyyellowballs.com videos) really helped me to move forward on my own.

    I didn't get much out of Winning Ugly because I don't think that stuff matters until your technical game is where you want it to be. If you don't have the strokes, then you will fall apart against a good opponent no matter how mentally strong and strategic you are. Don't get me wrong, I want to make sound strategic decisions, but I don't want to rely on that and I think at this stage of my development that strokes are a top priority.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
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  34. Caloi

    Caloi Semi-Pro

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    I appreciate the reply and understand the issues regarding costs for a coach. For now I am just doing the self taught thing and trying to get to the courts as much as possible.

    My last hit my main goal was to keep my shoulders level. I've been noticing myself being off balance when I hit. At the end of the day I was very happy with the results. The guy i hit with regularly is like a brick wall. Nothing hard back to me but everything comes back so I get in a good amount of hits.

    These are the things I find as little jewels...if I can read about it I can incorporate it into my hitting sessions. If it's BS then I can move on.
     
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  35. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    It's by far the best tennis book I've ever read.
     
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  36. futuratennis

    futuratennis Rookie

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    yea, reading up on all that stuff sure does work, and after experiencing an outburst of anger on court a while back i havent gotten angry for about 3 months now, the worst i do is say "come on" or "what the hell am i doing" i think seeing other people getting angry and throwing their racquet also makes you realise how stupid u looked when u did it
     
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  37. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    I have just bought this book (Inner Game) Its fantastic, it articulates what I think I already knew, and as soon as i saw it on paper, bam, it clicked and made complete sense. I am trying that now, trying to just let the body do its thing and not clutter it with instructions etc.

    Of course this can only work once you have some basic grasp of what you need to do.

    I am a big fan, i will try to incorporate some of the basic stuff here, hope it will improve my game, i know most of my current blocks are mental. In a match i take about 50-60% of my game into it, need to improve on that.
     
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  38. Donny0627

    Donny0627 Professional

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    Best Tennis Book ever: Winning Ugly
     
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  39. GetBetterer

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    It is a good book. One I read as well.

    All it says is that there's a side of you that hits the balls, and hits them well. The other side judges how you hit the balls and stuff. However, the side that's supposed to be quiet starts talking like this:

    "What kind of a hit was that? You suck."
    "That was on the ****ING LINE!!!"

    It also works in reverse:

    "That was a good shot. Let's hit one like that again."
    "Great smash right there, let's go for another."

    Basically the book tells that side to shut up so it can't interfere with the other side since it's the other side that gives you the good hits you want.
     
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  40. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    yeh, but its quite hard to do.

    I tried it today, when i missed a first serve, and just relaxed, and said, do your thing to the inner self (i sound crazy i know) and didnt stress out, and guess what I hardly DF'd today, after DF'ing about 2 per game few days ago (both in league situations, so a bit of pressure).

    The approach is a bit zen like, but there are things i identify with and if i can incorporate them i can only see benefits from it.
     
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  41. Jim Hendricks

    Jim Hendricks Rookie

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    Gallwey wrote a follow up book in 1976 called "Inner Tennis Playing the Game" that expands on the concepts and goes a little deeper than his first book. It is well worth a read if you can find it.
     
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  42. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    It is indeed not bad at all. More on application and ways to learn how to use the "inner game" concepts than on the concepts themselves. Almost the more useful of the two books
     
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  43. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

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    So it sold a gazillion copies, got praised a gazillion times by actual winners.... and you just bluntly put that statement out there?
     
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  44. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I for one don't care for any of the mental strategy "books".. What I have found at the rec level people think that they are making mental mistakes instead of physical ones.

    The reason they shanked that shot into the net was because they didn't turn their shoulders at all - not because of some mental flaw. Or that patty cake serve has no pop because of technique - not because they need to learn how to "win ugly."
     
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  45. GetBetterer

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    GuyClinch:
    He talks in the book about his students, and how they made similar mistakes too, and how he made the mistake of making them focus on those things when he was a starting coach. Later, he went on to talk about how they learned to hit, and all he needed to do was help Side 2 focus on the shot rather than Side 1, which has to do with their physical vs. mental part you're talking about.
     
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  46. supineAnimation

    supineAnimation Professional

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    I think the kinds of psychological and emotional issues the book is designed to address are likely not a priority for hackers, yes. But if those players care to become higher level players I think reading this book will be highly beneficial to that goal. As a one time 5.5 and current 4.5, I have and still use things I learned from that book.
     
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  47. jb193

    jb193 Rookie

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    Well, part of the book exactly addresses what you just pointed out.. He emphasizes the reality of any situation by calmly analyzing what truly "is" happening versus what you think might be happening in an emotionally charged judgmental fashion...

    His book is about the power of focus, the power of playing in the present, analyzing your game in a calm inquisitive demeanor, being relaxed and letting your natural abilities take over (the kinetic chain) and most of all, how to deal with that irrational angry voice in your head that can wreak havoc on your game and your life.. You can truly use the insights of this book for tennis at all levels and even use them outside the game....
     
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  48. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

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    The "Inner Game of Tennis" book is really a great book. I read it a couple times and started incorporating the tips into my practice games/league matches/tournaments starting last year and it has helped trememdously.

    It basically teaches you how to simply focus your mind and I have gotten into the "Zone" on a couple occasions. I wasn't aware that I was in the zone at the moment but after the matches I could tell because the balls/serves that were coming in at 100mph felt a lot slower and I felt like I was slowing down time and the ball when I focused. :)
     
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  49. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    He also rewrote and revised the book. In the revised book he just clears up what people apparently were confused about, so I consider it like a merge of both of his books.
     
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  50. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

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    What I have found at the rec, high school and club level is that people make mental mistakes which lead to physical ones.

    Technique is movement, movement is a matter of your brain telling your body what to do. The only time a body movement bypass the brain is reflex, which I dont think happen in tennis save for possibly the serve return.
     
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