I’ve just finished above and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was written in 1974 – with some updates over the intervening years (made obvious by references to tennis players that hadn’t been successful in 1974). As a guide to life it’s wonderful – I imagine that I enjoyed it so much as it precedes Daniel Kahnemann’s great book Thinking Fast and Slow, with Timothy Gallwey’s discussion around Self 1 (our ego) and Self 2 (our subconscious) being eerily prescient of Kahnemann’s two system explanation for how we think and act.
I found the use of tennis coaching in developing an understanding for how to live more effectively really well structured and I liked the manner in which Gallwey personalised his examples with his own learning experiences – both as a student and coach. What really struck a chord with me was how he unpicked his methodology and begun to use really effective questioning that allowed the student to tune into what was happening, in a purely observational as opposed to judgemental frame of mind. Alongside which he recognised the challenges in achieving this, noting success and failure for himself and students.
It got me thinking about my own coaching / teaching and the opportunities to say less whilst asking better questions that provoked insight for the individual before any external feedback was given, or small pointers / cues that would allow the learning to happen away from me.
The end of the book becomes a far wider exploration of how tennis was a vehicle for Gallwey to consider his life as a whole:
The book is an easy read – only 134 pages long and something I’m sure I’ll come back to again in the future.