View Full Version : Inner Game ...of Tennis?!

03-05-2003, 05:05 AM
Have you read the book, did it do you wonders? How?
Is the revised Inner Game of Tennis any better than the original?
Are the other better books on the subject (of simple zen for the sportsman)?

03-05-2003, 07:30 AM
I have the book, read it and nothing will do wonders for me.


03-05-2003, 07:49 AM
I read the book years ago, when I was playing tennis and then again when I got back into playing pool, but don't think it helped me any.I think what helps the most with the mental side of your pool game, is bearing down hard on the fundamentals.I've read lots of books and articles about the psychology of sports and I think the only thing that helped me was improving my fundamentals.Just my two cents!

03-05-2003, 07:52 AM
"The Inner Game of Tennis" was recommended to me by Jim Rempe in 1987. Mr. Rempe said (at the time) it was the best book he had read concerning the mental side of compitition.

I read it and have re-read it maybe 3 times since then and recommend it as a must read.

Since then, I have also found another bood that is as good.
"Golf is not a game of Perfect" by Dr. Robert J. Rotella. This is a great book on the history of golf and again.. the mental side of compititon.


03-05-2003, 09:06 AM
I play an AA game of Tennis & scratch or semi pro at golf.
Both games fully understand that the mental side of the game must be taught along with the mechanical side. The Tennis book is great, you can find many similiar books like it in Golf.

Any thing you can find on Zen, read. A trip to the library would be a wonderful idea, as some of these books may be out of print. Most of them are found under the inner game of, tennis or golf.

I have a great story how the greatest athlete of the century used this technique in 1912 to achieve world fame, so this is nothing new, the problem is when players find it, and realize what the awesome power this holds, they don't want to share it with others.

There are those who claim Zen cannot be taught. I am a Zen master, and I can teach you the path to achieve Zen, and I can teach you how to perform self Hypnosis so you can enter the zone, which in its self, is nothing but self Hypnosis, people fall into by accident, now & then, then play out of there heads.

Do not discount Yoga, not only does it teach you to stretch, A guru is a teacher of yoga. There are 8 stages on the way to Moksha. Yama, disciplined behavior, Niyama, self-purification, Asana, body postures, sitting in a lotus position, you see pictures of this all the time. Pranayama, control of breathing, Pratyahara, control of the senses, Dharana, fixing the mind on a chosen object. Dhyana, which is where I am at presently, the 7th stage, which is meditation, the 8th & final stage I hope to achieve within the next 3 years, then there will be no further reason to play pool, Samadhi, a state of concentration in which the yogi realizes that his soul is free & pure, and empty of all content.

The real key to pool is playing with a total empty head with no conscious thought, just allowing your inboard computer take over & make all of the decisions for you, I actually teach this & people tell me they cannot believe the results when it begins to kick in. The final stage, the yogi reaches Kaivalya which is total isolation of the soul from the body, from all other souls, and from all of nature. Keep playing pool & it is impossible to get there, and few of you ever would, but if you examine the first 6 or 7 stages, every one of them is a component of vital importance in playing pool at the highest level.

There is a lot of organized teaching & training on Yoga, Zen is harder to find, and is mostly a Buddhist meditation thing, which I have been in study of for 20 years. Zen is a school of intutive thought. It is not a religion, there is nothing there that can conflict with any Christian beliefs that you have, so do not be afraid of it. You can down load a lot of Zen type music from the inner net, via Kaaza or imesh, It is mostly under Tibetan chants or chimes, I love to practice with this in the background. There is also a lot of lovely wood flute music, from China on there, or sounds of nature which are cool.

Zen actually has nothing to teach, and no rituals. When you see my tape & view the premier of the ripleys believe it or not show, you will hear the producer say to me just before I shoot, are there any more rituals you need to perform, and I said no, I am going to make this shot on the first snap, and get the hell out of Dodge, I dont have all day long to shoot this thing, bang, wap, the hardest shot ever made on TV, fell as I called it. They had 4 hrs scheduled for me to make it, I used l minute & 30 seconds. There was a coffee break for 15 minutes just before that shot. I went in a corner, sat in a lotus position, closed my eyes, & went into deep relaxation & meditation, all I was doing was seeing the shot being made perfectly over & over. When the director yelled every one back on the set, I got up, opened my eyes, & walked to the table. I guess they thought that was a little weird and therefore her question to me. All I know is what I did, worked. Once you are shown the path to Zen, it then becomes self training that leads to an understanding of your reality. The basic idea is that a person can train & discipline his mind so that he comes in touch with the inner workings of his being. He now aims to grasp intuitively what he cannot grasp rationally. This larger awarness, cannot be taught, some find it, some do not. If you are worthy, you will find it, other spirits will direct you to this.

Each person must find this on his own, which is what makes Zen to hard to understand or to achieve. Zen was founded in China in 520 by Bodhidharma, who called it Ch'an. A outgrowth of this, is the Tai Chi movement in China, which has just hit this country. The concept in this is one must be able to find his Chi or center, then all vital forces will flow naturally. One cannot achieve proper balance, until one understands what & where his chi is.

A Zen movement flowered in the l000's & 1200's and in the 1600's, if you messed with a Samuri's wa, upset his inner peace & tranquality, he would pull out his sword & actually chop off your head. It drives me crazy when people mess with my wa. Once you get deep in there, you are like in a cacoon, seperated from the rest of society. The center of Zen is in Japan today.

I am a 2nd degree black belt in Japanese Karate, and at the higher levels of this sport, all of the above comes into play & focus. The great things Karate gives you is focus, the ability to do any single one thing perfect, and to be able to hit a ball 4 times harder than a non Karate person.
Every record in pool that I have set, has been do to all of the above listed things. It was all done between the 6" of my ears, and not by my 17" arm. The above is the key to the vault, but be warned, you do need to find some one to direct you, and this will entail years of study & practice.

I can have people kicking in with my techniques in 2 to 4 months, 2 if they are a trained athlete and have performed any sport very well. 4 months if they are a ball banger. By all means, read everything you can find, and begin your study into this field. Pool is in the dark ages in this area, few teachers under stand it, or teach it. They teach you how to stand & stroke, but what good is any of this if you go out & choke the cheeze.

Choking is very wide spread through out pool, & most are ashamed they are one of the chokers, but what they don't under stand, is this can be stopped with simple mental training. I teach both, so the student advances with the mental part & the mechanical part equal to each other, so one does not get in front of the other.

A little pool story, read in the front of the great book, 99 critical shots by Ray Martin, few know that Mosconi's run of 526 balls was beaten by an unkown and a nobody, Micheal Ufemia of NYC. I think the guy ran 650 in Brooklyn, 50 people saw the run & signed affidivits, and I have a copy of this. I researched this and have came to the conclusion it did happen. It looks like the powers to be at the time, his big table mfgr & the pool assoc, buried this guy, to protect the big star, or to give him time to go past the new level, which he never did. If he had not had a stroke, surely he would have, because I have heard he got at or close to 600 once.

Here is the best runner of balls of all time, MF, Micheal Ufemia, but what good did it do him to spend a life time achieving this great skill that eclipsed every other player on earth, when he got into actual competition, in a tourney, the guy would freeze up & lose l50-2, horrible scores, you can look them up.

One pro told me the story of how he was set to play him the next day in an event, so he went in the practice room to find him, & sat down to observe him from a distance. He saw what he wanted to see & going out the door ran into Irving Crane, who said, you look white as a Ghost, what is wrong with you. The pro replied, I just saw God play, the guy ran over 200 balls without missing & I just left, I could not watch any more. Irving laughed & said, oh, you just watched Micheal, don't worry, when he hits the lights tomorrow, you will not have any problems, and the pro said Irving was correct.

/ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gifSo learn to train your mind, that is the inside secret of championship & winning pool. wwwfastlarrypool.com Shoot straight, innovate, no fear, is a Zen thing, and never give up. VENI, VIDI, VICI.....Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger

Jimmy Mendoza
03-05-2003, 09:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> I play an AA game of Tennis &amp; scratch or semi pro at golf.
<hr /></blockquote>

You hold all the break records, can do things with the cue ball that I could only dream of (or was that Mike Massey that can do that?), play AA tennis, are a scratch golfer, and a Karate expert, among other things. What is your bowling average?

03-05-2003, 10:33 AM
I have the book and would be willing to mail it to anyone that wants it. It's a small paperback and we can keep forwarding it to anyone that's interested.

Paul Mon~~~~~bought the book 2nd hand for 50 cents.

03-05-2003, 11:46 AM
Pool= "A" player
Golf= 4 handicap
Bowling= 190 bowler
Darts = "Dead bulls"
Horseshoes = "Stud"
Baseball = 90 mph fastball
Football = "NEVER" lose at a football video game

Anyone else notice that people that excel at some of these handeye cordinated sports are good at all of them? Must be the Zen!

Voodoo Daddy
03-05-2003, 12:06 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Jimmy Mendoza:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> I play an AA game of Tennis &amp; scratch or semi pro at golf.
<hr /></blockquote>

You hold all the break records, can do things with the cue ball that I could only dream of (or was that Mike Massey that can do that?), play AA tennis, are a scratch golfer, and a Karate expert, among other things. What is your bowling average? <hr /></blockquote>

/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gifI was gonna ask that too...lotsa hats old Fast Larry wears.

03-05-2003, 12:28 PM
Yeah, there has been tons of golf literature on the mental game. The best I've yet encountered though was Michael Murphy's "Golf in the Kingdom". Murphy gives a performative account of a somewhat magical round of golf in Scotland... It is more novel than instruction, but interesting and helpful nonetheless. He is (or was, haven't checked lately) the director of a Zen Center in California.

Happy reading.


03-05-2003, 12:31 PM

What you say about zen is interesting. I studied pranavayu extensively and it is a very good meditation tool. I also feel that the secret of being in the zone is to play without conscious thought. I have been working on this recently and am enjoying it. We will see where it takes me but I am finding fulfullment in my practice these days, which is nice.


03-05-2003, 01:24 PM
Here's something I've been wondering about for a while...

Both golf and pool involve calculating a large number of variables before hitting a shot. A golfer must take into account wind, elevation, contour, trajectory (sometimes both rising and decending), spin and distance, as well as the relations between each of these (i.e. if I am hitting into a 20-mph headwind, it will reduce the distance my 5-iron flies by 20 yards if hit normally, 15 yards if punched, and closer to 5 yards if knocked down -- though the knockdown itself flies 10 yards shorter than a full shot...).

A pool player must perform a similar calculation involving deflection, throw, tangent angle, etc. (there are, I think, more variables in pool, although -- unlike golf -- they can all be guaged accurately, as -- assuming a good table -- there are no bad bounces).

Now, in each instance, it seems propicious to "empty one's mind" before actually hitting the shot -- that is, to be concentrating on the conclusion reached by the prior calculation, in abstraction from the data. Granting this, I am curious about the differences (if any) between being in "the zone" while playing golf and while playing pool.

In my own experience (I was a regionally competitive golfer for about 6 years -- a solid scratch in those days --, and played pool for a living for about 2 years -- though only locally, I wasn't *that* good then), it is both easier and more effective to play golf without conscious thought than it is to play pool. The sheer volume of information involved in pool seems to require that one -- even while in the zone -- consciously plans, at least a little. Although golf also involves linking shots together, putting a drive in the fairway to as to have a shot at the green is quite a bit less complicated than playing 3-rail shape to a 2-inch circle in order to be in line on the next ball.

At any rate, to meander on towards the point of this, I have found, personally, that my mind is an asset while playing pool, and a detriment while playing golf. Pro golf doesn't really fit in here -- those guys have caddies to do all the thinking for them (hit a 173.5 yard 6-iron on line with that pine tree... ok!...). So, I'm curious what those of you that are golfers as well as pool players think about this -- what are the phenomenal differences between "the zone" while playing pool and while playing golf?

Sorry that was so long... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif



03-05-2003, 01:56 PM
I am relatively new to the sport of pool and have even less experience with golf. I am more experienced in karate and tennis and have studied zen and other meditation practices. Before coming to the sport of pool, I had never heard of the 'zone'. When I read the book by ewa, the idiots guide to billiards was the first time I heard the term 'deadstroke'.

I did notice in the past that I performed best when I was not conciously thinking but was what I called 'in the flow'. I do not want to get too philosophical here except to say that when I started playing pool and learned what the 'zone' was, the connection with my previous experiences with karate and tennis became clear. When I was competing in karate, in particular, I was in and out of zone or what I referred to as 'going with the flow' on a regular basis and on demand. So I do think it is possible to be in the zone in pool too on demand, and in that respect I do agree with Larry.

Being a relative newcomer, I have not achieved this in pool to the degree I did in karate. I was relatively skilled in karate so being in this state meant defeating my opponent and often winning a trophy. Being in this state in pool, as an unskilled player, means being in a pleasurable state and enjoying the game. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I have to work on drills because I have a lot of skills I have to learn. I kind of stumbled on this realization that once those skills are there the brain will do them automatically without having to sequence every step.

Knowing this has given me a lot of relaxation because I know that just doing the drills and getting the skills I need will result in being able to play pool. So now I just see certain things I need to work on and am not worried because I feel that the spiritual part will take care of itself when the skills are learned.

Sorry if that seems clear as mud. /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif


03-05-2003, 02:09 PM
Ahh, that helped me clarify what I was thinking (from muddy to, well, just dirty perhaps, hehe). In tennis, certainly, strategy becomes ingrained. Sure, a good tennis player sets up points, but this does not involve an "active" thought process during the shot (viz. one should "know", through practice, the correct shot to hit at all times, without having to really think about it during the point). So, I suppose that I'm wondering about the differences in mental activity between something like this and pool, where (at least sometimes -- sure we can hit easy, or common, shots without actively strategizing) it seems that the sheer amount of information needing to be dealt with makes having a truly empty mind impractical, if not detrimental.

This would be an interesting area for sports psychologists -- determining the phenomenal characteristics of the zone in a variety of sports and then comparing them to each other...


03-05-2003, 03:13 PM
Yes, I play tennis and have read it. No it didn't really do much for me. I can never really get into those sport psychology books and don't feel like it's really something a book can teach you.

03-05-2003, 08:14 PM
Inner Game of Tennis is the BEST non-pool book for pool players in existence. Insightfull, well written, easy to understand and totally applicable to pool. I think this is a classic and a must-read.

03-06-2003, 01:25 AM
Hi Weelie:

Great book. Worthwhile read.

Jack Nicklaus says he visualizes himself successfully completing the shot before he shoots. Then he just steps into the memory. It's an essential part of his preshot routine.

There are both western and eastern methods that stimulate zone play. But every method depends upon "muscle memory". That's a skill that's understood and directed by the brain non-verbally.

It seems that muscle memory (and the part of the brain that directs the muscles) is easily overridden by the language centers of the brain.

The classic example is going to your first pool tournament and experiencing a fight or flight reaction that makes normal play near impossible.

The language center creates imaginary worries and the body responds with a hormone soup that ruins your night.

Anyway, there's lots of great info about a wide variety of pro players getting into the zone and playing at the top of their game.

--Ted from Phoenix

03-06-2003, 04:27 PM
Dear Jimmy Mendoza &amp; voodoo daddy, dear sirs, Mike Massey today is the best &amp; the most powerful trick shot star in the USA, He does nothing but improve &amp; keep's getting better. I am his biggest fan &amp; admirer, ask him, he will tell you this is true. My father began to teach me how to play pool &amp; to bowl at 2 yrs old. When I was 12, I had a combined average playing on 3 teams a week of well over 200.
My father was an excellent teacher, and who bowled an 800 series, and boo coo 700 series. From the time I was 2 yrs old, I just did not see how it was not possible to bowl over 200, because that is all I ever saw the man do. If you think something is so, it is so...
bowling was the first sport that I got very good at. There are a dozen first class top of the class pool players I know of who have excelled at multiple sports. Babe Cranfield played as well or better at every sport that I did, only he was a much better pool player than me, he once ran over 400 balls, how about that. Please sir, I was not trying to brag, I was trying to make a point, learn one sport well, the next one you take up is easy, and if Zen works in Golf, it will also work in Tennis, Pool, on &amp; on &amp; on....Some will believe this, some will not. I can't save everyone, only a small percentage, I realize only a small percentage is going to get on this boat and get something out of it.

Dear Bluewolf, Laura, thanks a lot, you just blew my greatest secret, the thing I am best at, teaching players to play by feel with no conscious thought, zero, nada. You turn off your inner voice, and turn your entire game over to your cpu, that resides under your hair on your head, &amp; you let the cpu play the game &amp; you go along for the ride, this is a giant leap of faith for any one to go with, and it can take 3 to 4 months until many begin to see if it works or not, but when it kicks in, Holy Cow, the results can be astounding. Laura, there is no way they can believe, that it can actually be this simple, most can never buy this. They want to believe that this and all other games are hard, and I am saying they are easy, if you want them to be. If you want to make them hard, they are. My only point was to say, look, using the same method, it allowed me to play a number of sports well. I expect 75% of the people who read this will think I am nuts or a liar, well that just goes with the territory. On every thing that I do now, or have done in the past, my answer is simple, you can believe it, or not. I really dont care which option you choose.

Here is a nice story nobody will believe, I gave up bowling for golf, tennis &amp; pool. There just were not enough hours in the day to do all of them, and later I dropped Tennis also. I met my 2nd wife Sarah in l983, we were married then and still are today. On our 2nd date, she suggested we go bowling, she said I bowl in a league, I asked what is your average, she said l40, I said that is very good. She asked me if I bowled, I said no, I had not touched a ball for over 10 years, now she was hot to play me. I had been drinking a little, was loose as a goose, and there was no pressure to beat her. I just got on a roll &amp; got hot, and began by hitting 6 strikes in a row. Every time I would roll a strike I would come back &amp; say is that how you do it, gees this game is easy. You should have seen the look on her face. I shot a 268, a 240 something and on the last game, my ball was heavy &amp; a semi finger tip type, I did not have the finger strength to hold on to it, so I lost control of it &amp; shot a l90, but shot a 700 series. My wife had never seen one rolled before. Sarah never asked me to go bowling again, and dropped out of her league, to join me to play Golf. This 700 series was not in the zone, it was half drunk and just fast &amp; loose having a hell of a good time. No fear dude, with no fear, anything is possible.

I have not had a bowling ball in my hands since l983, and since it has now been 20 years, I would not take a bet I could shoot over 200 in 3 games. What I did then, and what I can do now, are now, two entirely different things. My dad once rolled 17 straight strikes in a row &amp; did not bowl a 300 doing it. He had two 800 series.

A guy came by my office &amp; noticed on my wall a bunch of bowling patches, several l25 over series, a couple of l50 over pin average, several 75 over game patches, several 225 &amp; three 250 game award patches, and said that is very impressive, you are a good bowler, I said no I am not, these are my fathers awards he won when he was in his last year of life &amp; was 75 years old. Rolling a bowling ball, rolling a golf putt, rolling a cue ball, all of the principles are close and in my opinion if you do one well, you can do the others well.

Dear Mr. Landshark 1002000, ah so grasshopper, it is obvious you know the truth and are well on the way. My compliments on a fine post sir, and I hope others will join in and reveal to the players what they have found that works &amp; share those experiences.
Fast Larry Guninger

03-06-2003, 05:15 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> Dear Bluewolf, Laura, thanks a lot, you just blew my greatest secret, the thing I am best at, teaching players to play by feel with no conscious thought, zero, nada. You turn off your inner voice, and turn your entire game over to your cpu, that resides under your hair on your head, &amp; you let the cpu play the game &amp; you go along for the ride, this is a giant leap of faith for any one to go with, and it can take 3 to 4 months until many begin to see if it works or not, but when it kicks in, Holy Cow, the results can be astounding. Laura, there is no way they can believe, that it can actually be this simple, most can never buy this. They want to believe that this and all other games are hard,Fast Larry Guninger <hr /></blockquote>

In watching very good players like apa 7s i noted how they played so much better some times than others. It puzzled me. I did not know about the zone then. And you gotta realize that pool players trying to tell me what that was, it did not compute. They would say 'you have perfect concentration...you cant miss...you play above your skill level'. In karate, all of us including the instructor were into zen, so communication about these things made sense. When ww was trying to tell me what the zone was, It did not seem like what I had expereinced. I tried to explain what happened when I went into this state, and it seemed so different than what poolplayers were saying that I forgot about it until you Larry brought it up again. I kept saying "I need to practice with 'nonattachment', not thinking, just look and shoot and it does not matter if it goes in, just the meditative expereince of the stroke, the balls clicking and then and only then did I shoot my best." When I would say things like this to ww or to others on my apa team, they looked at me like HUH..whaz up wid here /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

So I did not use the word zone anymore...i called it 'playing in the feel' or 'playing out of the feel'

well thanks for stimulating us Larry