My Passion for tennis (4) - THE INNER GAME OF TENNIS - Gallwey

If you think about your own highest moments or peak experiences, you will also remember them as moments of great pleasure. When this happens on the tennis court, you are concentrating without TRYING to concentrate. You feel alert with an inner assurance that you can do what needs to be done without having to "try hard". Quieting the mind means less thinking, calculating, judging, worrying, fearing, hoping, trying, regretting, controlling or distracting.

Quieting the mind is a gradual process involving the learning of several inner skills. The first skill is to learn to let go the inclination to judge ourselves and our performance as being good or bad. Watch the face of a hitter and you'll see expressions of judgmental thoughts occurring in his mind. Frowns after a "bad" shot, self-satisfaction after every shot that he considered "good."

The best example of a quiet mind that I can think of is Venus Williams. When Venus walks on the court, she's wearing her "game face". If she double faults, hits a ball into the net, or misses an easy forehand, her game face doesn't change. She isn't judging herself, isn't thinking something demeaning to herself. If she serves an ace to win the match, her game face stays the same, it doesn't change (unless its the US Open or Wimbledon). These judgments are our personal ego reactions to the sights, sounds, feelings and thoughts. When the mind is free of any thought or judgment, it is still and Self 2 can do his job..."get the ball over the net"
In the game of tennis there are two important things to know, (1) where the ball is and (2) where the racket head is. As soon as you picked up a racket and began to learn the game you were told to "watch the ball"....its simple, you come to know where the ball is by looking at it. You don't have to think "oh boy, here comes the ball; its clearing the net by about a foot and coming really fast. It should bounce near the baseline and I'd better hit it on the rise". No, you simply watch the ball and let the proper response take place.

You realize the importance of knowing WHERE your racket head is but you can't look at it to know where it is because you're watching the ball. You must FEEL it...feeling it gives you the knowledge of WHERE it is.
Learn where the racket head is at the point of bounce.....without judging whether it is too high or too low...don't let Self 1 frantically say "get your racket up" or "you've dropped the racket head". Then Self 2 has no magic phrase that must be repeated and can concentrate without thinking.

No comments: