„Inner game of tennis” – Tim Gallwey

Ocena: 7/10

Wbrew tytułowi to jest książka dla każdego. Autor jest instruktorem tenisa który stworzył nowatorski sposób treningu tenisowego który wspomagał walkę ze stresem meczowym. Przedstawione podejście zen w sporcie, które możemy zastosować w dowolnej ludzkiej aktywności.

Moje notatki

The first skill to learn is the art of letting go the human inclination to judge ourselves and our performance as either good or bad.

Be clear about this: letting go of judgments does not mean ignoring errors. It simply means seeing events as they are and not adding anything to them. Nonjudgmental awareness might observe that during a certain match you hit 50 percent of your first serves into the net. It doesn’t ignore the fact. It may accurately describe your serve on that day as erratic and seek to discover the causes. Judgment begins when the serve is labeled “bad” and causes interference with one’s playing when a reaction of anger, frustration or discouragement…

Judgment results in tightness, and tightness interferes with the fluidity required for accurate and quick movement. Relaxation produces smooth strokes and results from accepting your strokes as they are, even if erratic.

The first step is to see your strokes as they are. They must be perceived clearly. This can be done only when personal judgment is absent. As soon as a stroke is seen clearly and accepted as it is, a natural and speedy process of change begins.

When the mind is free of any thought or judgment, it is still and acts like a mirror. Then and only then can we know things as they are.

As one achieves focus, the mind quiets. As the mind is kept in the present, it becomes calm. Focus means keeping the mind now and here. Relaxed concentration is the supreme art because no art can be achieved without it, while with it, much can be achieved. One cannot reach the limit of one’s potential in tennis or any endeavor without learning it; what is even more compelling is that tennis can be a marvelous medium through which skill in focus of mind can be developed. By learning to focus while playing tennis, one develops a skill that can heighten performance in every other aspect of life.

To learn this art, practice is needed. And there is never a time or situation that you cannot practice, save perhaps sleep. In tennis the most convenient and practical object of focus is the ball itself. Probably the most often repeated dictum in tennis is “Watch the ball,” yet few players see it well. The instruction is an appeal for the player to simply “pay attention.” It does not mean to think about the ball, how easy or difficult this shot is to make, how I should swing my racket at it, or what Tom, Dick or Harry will think if I make the shot or miss it. The focused mind only picks up on those aspects of a situation that are needed to accomplish the task at hand. It is not distracted by other thoughts or external events, it is totally engrossed in whatever is relevant in the here and now.

One of the easiest ways to maintain interest in the ball is to not look at it as a stationary object, but as an object in motion. Watching its seams helps focus your attention on the object itself, but it is just as important to increase your awareness of the flight of each ball as it moves toward you, and then again as it leaves your racket. My favorite focus of attention during a point is on the particular trajectories of each shot, both mine and my opponent’s. I notice the height of the ball as it passes over the net, its apparent speed and with utmost care the angle at which it rises after bouncing. I also observe whether the ball is rising, falling or at its apex in the instant before the racket makes contact. I give the same careful attention to the trajectory of my own shot. Soon I become more and more aware of the rhythm of the alternating shots of each point, and am able to increase my sense of anticipation. It is this rhythm, both seen and heard, which holds fascination for my mind and enables it to focus for longer periods of time without becoming distracted.

Focus is not achieved by staring hard at something. It is not trying to force focus, nor does it mean thinking hard about something. Natural focus occurs when the mind is interested. When this occurs, the mind is drawn irresistibly toward the object (or subject) of interest. It is effortless and relaxed, not tense and overly controlled. When watching the tennis ball, allow yourself to fall into focus. If your eyes are squinting or straining, you are trying too hard. If you find yourself chastising yourself for losing focus, then you may be overcontrolling. Let the ball attract your mind, and both it and your muscles will stay appropriately relaxed.

Why? Because it is those very obstacles, the size and churning power of the wave, which draw from the surfer his greatest effort. It is only against the big waves that he is required to use all his skill, all his courage and concentration to overcome; only then can he realize the true limits of his capacities. At that point he often attains his peak. In other words, the more challenging the obstacle he faces, the greater the opportunity for the surfer to discover and extend his true potential. The potential may have always been within him, but until it is manifested in action, it remains a secret hidden from himself. The obstacles are a very necessary ingredient to this process of self-discovery.

Winning is overcoming obstacles to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached. Reaching the goal itself may not be as valuable as the experience that can come in making a supreme effort to overcome the obstacles involved. The process can be more rewarding than the victory itself.

So I arrived at the startling conclusion that true competition is identical with true cooperation. Each player tries his hardest to defeat the other, but in this use of competition it isn’t the other person we are defeating; it is simply a matter of overcoming the obstacles he presents. In true competition no person is defeated. Both players benefit by their efforts to overcome the obstacles presented by the other. Like two bulls butting their heads against one another, both grow stronger and each participates in the development of the other.

This attitude can make a lot of changes in the way you approach a tennis match. In the first place, instead of hoping your opponent is going to double-fault, you actually wish that he’ll get his first serve in. This desire for the ball to land inside the line helps you to achieve a better mental state for returning it. You tend to react faster and move better, and by doing so, you make it more challenging for your opponent. You tend to build confidence in your opponent as well as in yourself and this greatly aids your sense of anticipation. Then at the end you shake hands with your opponent, and regardless of who won you thank him for the fight he put up, and you mean it.

Maximum effort does not mean the super-exertion of Self 1. It means concentration, determination and trusting your body to “let it happen.” It means maximum physical and mental effort. Again competition and cooperation become one.