A Surprising Book Recommendation

The Inner Game of Tennis

So, the semester is going to start to wind down pretty soon. Usually around this time, I find that I have a few extra minutes to read something that’s not required reading. (Yes, you will have a lot of reading to do. No, not all of it is exciting reading. Yes, your professor will notice if you haven’t done the reading. Yes, you will ultimately do better if you don’t put off the reading.)

My adviser for theatre recommended that I read a book called The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. The book is essentially about how good tennis players are able to get in that certain “zone,” the zone where they are ready to play, they know how to play, and there is no self-doubt getting in the way of their game.

I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t really understand why my adviser was having me read this book. I don’t play tennis. The only sport I like is basketball. I don’t intend on picking up a new sport any time soon.

Sooooo, what’s this all about?

Well, surprise future pioneers! I’m recommending this book TO YOU.

This book is all about how our minds get in the way of us succeeding. As a first year in college, you’re going to be nervous and you’re going to be intimidated by your peers. Rest assured, if you were accepted to Transylvania University, it is because you have shown you have a high standard for yourself in terms of academia. You’re a smart kid, and Transy wants to add to your smarts. Sometimes, though, knowing that you’ve made it to college isn’t enough. Self-doubt happens. It happens to all of us. The trick is to not let it get in the way of living your life. You will never rise to become the best person you can be if you’re constantly putting yourself down.

That’s what The Inner Game of Tennis is really all about; knowing who that “self” is inside your head that is telling you can’t, and then learning how to silence that “self” with the more focused, more assured person that you really, truly are.

If you’re starting to get a little anxious about college, I highly recommend reading The Inner Game of Tennis. In essence, it is about the mind/body connection that an athlete experiences in the midst of a game, but it is an applicable process for everybody.

Life is a game, and if you spend too much time putting yourself down for how you’re playing it, well, you’re going to miss out on a whole lot of things . . . like how well you might actually be playing.