The Inner Game of Tennis Book Summary - The Inner Game of Tennis Book explained in key points
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The Inner Game of Tennis summary

W. Timothy Gallwey

The Ultimate Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

4.3 (176 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey is a classic sports psychology book that emphasizes the importance of mastering the mental game of tennis, rather than focusing on technique alone. It provides practical insights and techniques for improving one's mental focus and concentration under pressure.

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    The Inner Game of Tennis
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    To excel at their game, tennis players need to win an internal battle, and it’s a coach’s job to show them how.

    Lots of people have seen world-class tennis stars battling it out on the court. But there’s another struggle facing tennis players that’s not so visible: they’re also playing an inner game within themselves.

    This match is between the conscious mind of the player, what can be called Self 1, and her unconscious mind, or Self 2. Just consider the tremendous effort required of players to overcome self-doubt, calm down before a match and stay positive.

    Beyond that, for many players, the conscious mind judges and instructs the unconscious. That’s why you may have seen tennis players talking to themselves on the court, exclaiming things like “you klutz!”

    Such situations are a prime example of the interaction between the two selves, and the ways they interact in this inner game determine how successful a player will be in the outer game. This is essential information for tennis coaches, as it’s their job to help players balance both selves.

    To do so, a coach will often tell players what to do and what to avoid. The problem here is that, in many cases, the more you consciously focus on what you’re told, the less successful you are. At times like these, Self 1 is attempting to control Self 2 – and the results are rarely desirable.

    A good example is how Self 1 might say stuff like “stop being so nervous!” But think about it: Would such a command actually do much to calm your nerves?

    Probably not, and that’s why coaches need to teach players how to let each self do its thing, without interference from the other. By mastering this technique, a player can excel at her sport, responding to every moment practically automatically as if having an “out-of-mind” experience.

    But how can both selves interact in this way? And how can you, as a coach or player, help them do so? You’ll learn the answers to these questions and more in the next blinks.

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    Key ideas in The Inner Game of Tennis

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    What is The Inner Game of Tennis about?

    The Inner Game of Tennis (1972) explains the tension between your conscious and unconscious minds, and how this conflict relates to performance, specifically through the lens of tennis. These blinks offer concrete advice on how to harness your natural ability and excel both on the court and off.

    The Inner Game of Tennis Review

    The Inner Game of Tennis (1974) is a book that explores the mental and psychological aspects of playing tennis, offering valuable insights for athletes and non-athletes alike. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It delves into the inner struggle of competing with oneself, revealing how self-imposed obstacles can hinder performance and providing strategies to overcome them.
    • The book emphasizes the importance of focus and concentration in achieving peak performance, offering practical techniques to improve mental clarity and enhance overall skill level.
    • Through its accessible language and relatable anecdotes, the book captivates readers and offers a deep understanding of the mind-body connection, making it far from boring.

    Best quote from The Inner Game of Tennis

    The concentrated mind has no room for thinking how well the body is doing, much less of the how-tos of the doing.

    —W. Timothy Gallwey
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    Who should read The Inner Game of Tennis?

    • Athletes who want to improve their game
    • Entrepreneurs seeking a performance boost
    • All readers who want to live a more fulfilling life

    About the Author

    W. Timothy Gallwey played tennis himself before becoming a tennis instructor, where he discovered the power of mental training. Now he’s a best-selling author and business coach who applies the “Inner Game” to a broad range of everyday challenges and situations.

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    The Inner Game of Tennis FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Inner Game of Tennis?

    The main message of The Inner Game of Tennis is that mastering the mental game is crucial for success in sports and in life.

    How long does it take to read The Inner Game of Tennis?

    The reading time for The Inner Game of Tennis varies, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Inner Game of Tennis a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Inner Game of Tennis is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on how to improve performance and overcome mental obstacles.

    Who is the author of The Inner Game of Tennis?

    The author of The Inner Game of Tennis is W. Timothy Gallwey.

    What to read after The Inner Game of Tennis?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Inner Game of Tennis, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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