The Inner Game Philosophy

I’ve been reading this excellent book on tennis called The Inner Game of Tennis and I think it could apply to many things and not only different sports. It’s about reaching what many sports enthusiast call “the zone” through finding a term that author Timothy Galway call relaxed concentration.

So how do you reach that stage where every stroke or movement comes natural to you? A lot of the book deals with being less judgmental of yourself, you know how you want to scream “Idiot” or something even worse every time you mishit a shot or do something stupid on the court? What happens when you start belittling yourself and force yourself to improve your technique or rotate that wrist, throw the ball higher on the serve, and move your feet better is that your muscles tense up and you end up not improving at all, but getting more and more negative and starting a downward spiral which might end up with you breaking a racquet (this has happened to me at least, several times).

What you need to do instead is more of a zen approach, to look at the situation and the performance more objectively, and analyze where your racquet head is through the swing, how you’re feet are moving before the shot, and if something isn’t working not to scream at yourself, but to say to yourself with some distance: “Aha, I think I was hitting it a bit behind me or, I didn’t come through properly on my forehand. I need to pay attention to where my feet are or how the racquet head travels through the swing.”

This kind of thinking will help your muscles and mind to stay relaxed (relaxed concentration!) and identify what is wrong in your game. If you don’t know you should probably ask a coach or a tennis pro to help understand what you lack in your technique. The key is definitely to quiet your negative thoughts and to evaluate your play in a more balanced and objective way.

The Inner Game philosophy has a lot going for it and can be applied not only to tennis but to other sports and areas of life as well. I can very much recommend this and other books in the series.

Go improve your Inner Game now, / J.


Winners and Losers

Novak Djokovic has had the best year of his life in 2011, winning three Grand Slams but today he had to retire in the Davis Cup semi-final between Serbia and Argentina, giving Argentina a place in the finals. I write about this because I find the picture terribly strange. Can you really celebrate when someone is on the ground in pain? I don’t like Djokovic, but this is a bit much even for me.

Sports can really bring out the best and the worst in people.

The giant

img_9Today Federer plays the giant, Ivo Karlovic. The guy who hasn’t lost serve once in the tournament. The guy who people say only has one shot, the serve.

When you are serving from 2,08 meters you get a different perspective on things. You can create angles that other players can’t dream of. And that is what Karlovic uses to great effect. It is not really the pace that makes him dangerous, it is the placement.

So how will Roger cope with the giant in today’s quarterfinal? So far he has done quite well. He has broken him twice and is 2 sets to 0 up. He SHOULD win. But on the other hand the giant might win 3 straight tie-breakers and it is all over. I am confident, however that Fed will pull through in 3. He is after all the maestro!

On the other court Haas plays the Djokovich and he won the first set! Go Haas and go Fed.


federer1Many thought it was strange that I cheered for Federer in the French Open final against Swede, Robin Söderling. But true tennis fans understand me. Federer IS tennis. His way of playing is simply superior to anyone else. He is a tennis artist, not a mere player. And now he has finally proved that he is the greatest of all time.

Tomorrow he plays Söderling again. And I again hope he wins. It is not that I dislike Söderling, on the contrary, but Federer deserves his 15th slam to surpass Sampras and his 14.

I am very happy that there are many out there who think like I. Even Swedes like Gul Instinkt. The best (Swedish) tennis blog. Period.