The Inner Game of Tennis (1974) by W. Timothy Gallwey

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak PerformanceThe Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not a great one for reading non-fiction that doesn’t have to do with work: I have countless histories and gender theory texts, but not so many in the sport psychology range. This book might change that (a bit).

This is easily the best book I’ve read about tennis, even if some of its discussions are a bit dated — it was written in 1974 when Bjorn Borg was just about to become the hot new thing. The thought of metal racquets or the Williams sisters were decades away.

That said, almost every page of The Inner Game of Tennis makes sense. It might be repeating things that I’ve heard before, but they’re presented in a compelling way — almost Yoda-esque. And, I have to say, concentrating on not thinking while playing tennis increased the power of my serve by a good 20 mph the other day. I actually thought the ball was just hanging up in the air after my toss, waiting for me to smack the hell out of it. This non-thinking stuff is great! Concentrate on the seam of the ball, listen for the sound of contact on the racquet, relax the body, trust muscle memory… it’s all sound advice.

If you play tennis, read this; if you don’t play tennis, but you are into head games, it’s still worth picking up. I’ve never loved playing as much as I do this summer — even if my inner McEnroe has been silenced.

View all my reviews

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Midatlantic Musings by Jane G. V. McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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About midatlanticmusings

Historian of the Irish Diaspora and masculinities, wife, mother, lover of good books, red wine, fine whiskies, pop culture aficionado, and Star Wars wonk.
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