An account by Tim Gallwey
In 1971, while on sabbatical from a career in higher education, I took a job as tennis professional in Seaside, California. While teaching on the court one day, I realized that many of my instructions were being incorporated in the student’s mind as a kind of “command and control” self-dialogue that was significantly interfering with both learning and performance. When I inquired further, I found there was a lot going on in the mind of my tennis students that was preventing true focus of attention.
I then began to explore ways to focus the mind of the player on direct and non-judgmental observation of ball, body, and racquet in a way that would heighten learning, performance, and enjoyment of the process. With this new awareness, amateur tennis players seemed to naturally develop the instincts and physicality of much more experienced players without specific instruction.