*The Inner Game of Tennis*
By Tyler Bridges
Multitasking is a hard feat to accomplish, much less master. Performing multiple actions at the same time is no easy task, and it is especially hard to keep up over time. Eventually, one of our actions begins to falter. However, there are methods that can be used to master multitasking and enable our brains to effectively manage several tasks at once. The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey offers many tips and tricks that can help you master yourself and work past any mental barriers that stop you from employing your full potential.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “What does a book about tennis have to do with ballroom dancing?” The methods described in this book extend beyond any one sport. Simply replace tennis with ballroom dancing—or any other sport of your choosing—and you have a book that can help you achieve your goals.
Gentlemen: we as leads have many different things to think about when we’re dancing. Is our frame properly positioned? Are we looking the right way? In which direction should we be moving? What steps do we want to dance next? And, of course, are we smiling? Between all of these things, I often find it very difficult to keep track of everything. Soon, my shoulders are raising, my smile falters as I fall into focus, or I drive in a direction completely different from the one I intended. At the same time, the ladies are performing all the same actions. Even if you accomplish all these actions, simply thinking about how you’re dancing these steps can trip you up, and soon you’re making mistakes again.
While years and years of practice can eventually bring about success through muscle memory, there are easier ways to conquer mental hurdles than stubbornly pushing through them. The easiest of these methods is visualization. Instead of telling yourself all the things you need to do in order to dance correctly, simply envision yourself dancing as you think you should. Construct a visual image of correct dancing, and imagine yourself dancing that way. Focus on the image instead of words. Your body will unconsciously mimic the image, to an extent. This will cause much greater improvement over less time.
Another major component to having a better mental game is to see things in a nonjudgmental light. That is, focus on what is actually happening, not how well or poorly it’s happening. This will keep you from trying too hard and allow you to look at your dancing objectively. While dancing, don’t think of things in terms of whether they’re good or bad. Instead, compare your dancing to the visual image in your head of how you want to dance, and make the necessary adjustments. This will help you improve much faster and save you a lot of stress.
Visualizing is the key to overcoming the barrier of multitasking. Instead of stopping to think of how you’re doing everything, just have a visual image of what you want to accomplish. Your body will follow suit, given time. The important thing is to have that visual image and retain it as you practice. Hang on to that visual image of how you want to dance, and compare your current dancing to that image instead of judging your current dancing. This way, you will improve and be able to multitask successfully.