Correlating Gallwey’s Inner Game of Tennis with Luther’s Theology
Also a Book Review of W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis
Since writing the post, time-slows-down-in-the-zone back in 2008, I have wanted to deal with W. Timothy Gallwey’s Inner Game of Tennis again, because many of his insights can be correlated with Luther’s theology. I will present those insights and Luther’s correlations, which are also basically features of the Christian faith, the way it is experienced and lived. Then it will be important to answer the question, why do all these correlations exist?
In my dissertation, Sword of the Spirit, Sword of Iron, I argue that Martin Luther (1483-1546) championed spontaneity. Medieval times were characterized by mediation, that priests mediated the faith to the other estates, the princes, peasants, and burghers, for example. Luther championed immediacy. All, everyone was part of the Christian estate and they were the priesthood of all believers, who had immediate access to God and a specialized priestly estate was not necessary to mediate their relationship with the sacred.
My emphasis on spontaneity in my dissertation is well placed. Timothy Gallwey speaks of a deeper sense of confidence, while Luther emphasizes a deeper intensity of faith, which he also refers to as trust and confidence. For Luther faith is an overarching confidence in God, while Gallwey places trust in a second self. From Luther’s point of view, which is basically the Christian one, Gallwey’s Self 1 and Self 2 can be considered the old and new self in Christ. In the fourth article on Baptism in Luther’s “Small Catechism,” he writes
that the old Adam and Eve in us, together with all sins and evil lusts should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance and be put to death, and that a new person should come forth daily and rise up, cleansed and righteous, to live forever in God’s presence.
 W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis: the Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance, (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1974-2008). Throughout this study, the numbers in parentheses are the pages of his book.
Note that Gallwey is describing how to get into the zone with physical performance. As a trumpet player he has really helped me, even though he coaches tennis players. But imagine getting into the zone intellectually and getting into the zone spiritually! That might be where Martin Luther of old comes in to help us.
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