Experiential Learning

How Nadal Learns from Experience

10 Sep , 2016  

One of my main takeaways from a recent presentation by Charles ’70:20:10′ Jennings was a performance boosting technique used by Rafael Nadal. I’m not into sport, but Nadal’s technique can be used by anybody in almost any field.

Nadal is renowned for religiously working through a routine between every point and every game. Many assume he’s OCD and he’s on one of the top tennis players with the most eccentric rituals.

But what’s behind his ritual?

According to Jennings, Nadal uses these rituals to engage in a process of continual improvement. His ‘time wasting’ between points is used to reflect on what just happened, and what he can do next time to improve.

While many sports people will slide down an inevitable slump at some point in their career, Jennings describes Nadal’s constant circle of reflection and correction as a way to arrest those slumps before they can take grip.

In the busyness of life, how often do you reflect on what you’re doing. Is it every few minutes like Nadal? Or is it when things blow up in your face and there’s no choice but to do a post mortem?

Jennings suggestion to incorporate this into our approach was to simply ask three questions (which I’m paraphrasing somewhat):

  • What have I done in the last period? (successes/ challenges/ obstacles)
  • If I had the opportunity to do it again, what would I do differently?
  • What is the key learning I’ve gained from this?



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