A Great Book
All pickleball players have felt the tightness that can come during an important match. You will be playing loose and feeling great during rec play, and when you walk onto the court for a tournament and the feeling changes. Tightness starts to creep in. For most of us, this doesn't happen in every tournament, but when it does it is hard to shake off. I started to wonder why this happens in the first place. My research lead me to the book The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey.
The message of this book is amazing and I can't encompass it all here but I hope to convince here that this book is worth your time. The message of Inner Game of Tennis is not just about tennis. Everything touched on in this book can be equally applied to pickleball or other areas of life. Gallwey covers topics about focusing your mind so you can overcome distractions and self-doubt. In contrast, we've all had those moments when you've played out of your mind. He touches on why that happens and how you can make that happen whenever you want.
Gallwey explains that there are two selves at work here. Self 1 is the critical self who is often condescending and always giving directions about what went wrong and what to do to fix things. Self 2 will get the job done, and when not pressured by Self 1, allow you to play your best. The book covers strategies for quieting Self 1 and allowing Self 2 to just be in the moment and play.
I have put his strategies to work and found wonderful results. It is a book that I will read multiple times to help make the principles stick and become second nature. I highly recommend this book not just for pickleball but for how you look at challenges and life in general.