The Inner Game and the Culture of Sports Coaching

Sean Brawley

The group that most resisted the Inner Game method: tennis coaches.

When The Inner Game of Tennis was first published in 1974 it took the tennis world by storm. Tens of thousands of players bought the book and by the letters they sent to author, Tim Gallwey, it clearly helped them to learn, perform, and enjoy their tennis like never before.

Athletes in other sports also found great benefit from reading the book and putting some of its ideas into practice. After a while it even became required reading for the USC School of Engineering, UCLA's Social Studies program, and The Actor's Studio in New York City.

There was one group of people, however, that resisted the Inner Game methodology on its face and criticized its ideas at that time: tennis coaches.

In fact, when I spoke on the Inner Game of Tennis at the 1993 USPTA Conference and wrote an article for its magazine, quite a few of the "old guard" tennis coaches were still denouncing it so many years later. This, despite the popularity of exercises from the Inner Game such as "bounce-hit," which famed authority Jack Groppel told me was the greatest exercise ever created for teaching tennis.

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Sean Brawley has dedicated the past 25 years to helping people from all walks of life elevate their performance and unlock their potential. In the process he has become one of the world’s foremost experts on accelerated learning, innovative coaching, and sustainable high performance.

Sean was the primary mental coach for the USC football team for 9 years and helped Pete Carroll and the Trojans win 2 national championships. Sean is a former Top 150 world ranked tennis professional who competed at the highest level of the game including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

After the tennis tour, Sean met and began working closely with Tim Gallwey, the author of The Inner Game series of books including the classic, The Inner Game of Tennis. Sean is the first certified Inner Game coach in the world. He has facilitated numerous Inner Game of Tennis and Golf workshops in the past 20 years.

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