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.

In 1974, initial experiments and their surprising results were published as The Inner Game of Tennis. The book surpassed expectations of both author and publisher by selling over one hundred times more copies than predicted and soon became a New York Times Bestseller.

Shortly thereafter, KCET produced a six-part nationally viewed TV series called Inner Tennis, each of which focused on a particular theme such as overcoming fear, achieving concentration, breaking bad habits, etc.

In 1977, when it was published Inner Skiing applied the same learning techniques to an icier sport and dealt specifically with overcoming the various kinds of fear commonly experienced in that sport.

In the 80s, Random House asked me to write The Inner Game of Golf and to, in doing so, describe the learning from the point of view of a student of the game, which I was. Perhaps more than in any other major sport, the golfer is vulnerable to subtle shifts in mindset, which can have drastic impact on one’s performance.

About that time Barry Green, then the lead bassist for the Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra approached me to collaborate on The Inner Game of Music, another activity in which both the fear of failure and doubt can be anathema to the quality of performance.

One of my first long-term customers was AT & T. Not long after, I was invited to help IBM, shortly after I helped Apple with the Inner Game methods.
And in the 1990s, the Inner Game was a method used to train top-level managers at The Coca-Cola Company.
Hundreds of lectures were delivered in a wide range of Inner Game applications including Achieving Excellence in Performance, Learning to Learn in an Age of Change, the Internal Games of Management, Leadership and Coaching.

The Inner Game of Work, published in 1999, is an inside look at how the Inner Game methods and models have been applied by many individuals, in a wide variety of companies, over the past twenty years. Mostly, it is focused on the attainment of individual excellence. With the turn of the century, the focus of my own interest had turned towards The Inner Game of Teams. The work of overcoming the obstacles faced in people working together effectively is both challenging and fascinating. In the last half of 1999, I helped facilitate over 50 workshops with teams, and joined forces with Dr. Valerio Pascotto to do what I believe is pioneering work in the field of people learning to work effectively together.

In my work with teams and companies, I found that a primary obstacle for most in the pursuit of a goal seemed to be stress. In 2009, I collaborated with two respected physicians, Dr. John Horton and Dr. Ed Hanzelik, to study how stress affects our bodies and minds. We explored how the Inner Game principles could help with not only stress management, but stress reduction and prevention. From this research evolved into The Inner Game of Stress.

In 2012, the The Inner Game International School of Coaching was Launched in Brazil. As of 2017, The Inner Game Schools are now active in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, and in the U.S. by the and of 2017.