My Passion for tennis (3) - THE INNER GAME OF TENNIS - Gallwey

Listen to the way players talk to themselves on the court. "Come on Marie, hit the ball in front of you" Most players are talking to themselves all the time, "move up on the ball", "keep it to her backhand", "bend your knees", "watch the ball". The commands are endless...its like hearing a recording of your last lesson playing inside your head.

Imagine that there are two parts within the same person. Self 1 (teller) and Self 2 (doer). Self 1 is full of instructions, do this, don't do that. Although Self 2 which includes the unconscious mind, nervous system and is anything but stupid, Self 1 doesn't trust him. So the player's cheek muscles tighten, his lips purse and he overhits the ball....and starts chastizing himself again.

By thinking too much and trying too hard, Self 1 has produced tension and muscle conflict in the body. Self 1 is reponsible for the error but heaps the blame on Self 2. As a result, the stroke grows worse and frustration builds.

Remember that Self 2, the doer, is the unconscious mind. Once Self 2 has hit the ball firmly, he knows FOREVER which muscles to contact to do it again......just let him do it.
Getting it together mentally in tennis involves the learning of several internal skills:

(1) learning to program your computer Self 2 with images rather than constantly instructing yourself with words

(2) Learning to "trust thyself" (Self 2) to do what you (Self 1) ask of it. Just let Self 2 hit the ball

(3) Learning to see "nonjudgmentally"....see what is happening rather than simply noticing how well or how badly it is happening. In other words, quit trying too hard.

Then there is the "master skill"..without which nothing of value is ever achieved...the art of concentration.

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