When the Inner Game of Tennis was published in 1972 I was 10. I am sure my father bought it, I think he was still playing tennis at the time. A couple of years later I must’ve picked up The Inner Game of Tennis the summer I went to tennis camp when I was 13. Notice the cover, tennis balls were still white. I was playing with a Wilson T-2000 just like Jimmy Connors.
What I didn’t know at the time, when trying to read and decipher Gallwey’s book at 13 years-old, was that Gallwey’s book was a spiritual book. A book that taught more than court tactics but it also talk life tactics and concentration tactics.
In 7th grade I was playing tennis at the height of my abilities. My school won the district tennis tournament (that was as high as things went back then) and the #1 player, Cisco Hobbs, and I got to come home early and play the finals the next day while our peers were still in class.
It was kinda cool. And also a bummer. We would’ve had an audience at the tournament. This way it was just him and me and the coach. I can still remember my mom driving me to the match. I was working through all the ideas I could to get ready for the match. I remember as we warmed up trying to focus on the patterns that the ball stripes made as it was coming over the net at me. (A Gallwey exercise) During the match, at some critical moments, when things could’ve gone either way, I remember returning to that exercise. Trying to focus on the patterns of the spinning ball. I still use this “focus” exercise all the time.
A couple days ago I got an opportunity to propose a social media marketing plan for Tim Gallwey on his new book The Inner Game of Stress, coming out in a few weeks. The outcome of the game/proposal is not important. What is amazing is two days earlier I had been re-reading the “The Inner Game.”
Update: Timothy Gallwey stopped by the site and commented on the post.
Three more tennis-related posts:
- Zen and the Tennis Ball Machine: Alone with Patience and Agility
- The First Cut: Applying The Way of the Sword to Life and Tennis
- Leadership and Teamwork: Mixed Doubles Anyone?
Grab a used copy of Inner Game of Tennis off Amazon.