Wendy, Kali and I also attended an ‘Inner Game Conference’ at the University of Hertfordshire on April 29th. Tim Gallwey ran the whole day and is famous for his best seller, ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’. His ideas are at the forefront of what we do in coaching today moving from a ‘directional’ approach to letting the ‘player’ or coachee work it out for themselves.
The very basic premise is that we have a ‘Self 1’, which is our internal chatter or thoughts, and a ‘Self 2’, which is our inner wisdom or instinct.
Tim believes that we are natural learners, after all, who taught you how to walk? But, he says, our Self 1 lets interference get in the way of our performance.
He demonstrated the process in a couple of ways, firstly by getting someone to catch a tennis ball and, whilst doing so, asking her to watch the arc of the ball or notice the pattern on the ball. Whilst this occupied Self 1, Self 2 was able to learn how to catch the ball more often.
A second demonstration was with a woman who had a fear of doing presentations to large audiences. When she came up onto the platform she kept her back to the audience and only spoke with Tim. He asked her what she felt (fear) and how that manifested itself (heartbeat) and the scale of the fear from 1-10. Then he told her he was going to ask her to turn around and point out the audience members who were wearing glasses, which she did, looking at everyone because now her Self 1 was preoccupied. He then asked her to look for people with blue eyes and then to look for scary people. He then checked her fear levels which had gone down considerably. It was a fabulous activity to use for people who are nervous about presentations.
Anyway, more from us next time about the ‘Inner Game’ conference including how Wendy received a personal coaching session from Tim Gallwey. For now, I would like to leave you with something Tim said at the conference:
When you are playing tennis, ‘Your friend will hit everything to your strong forehand.
Your enemy will hit everything to your weaker backhand – making it better. So, who is your friend?’