How Raducanu Focuses on Game Development

How Raducanu Focuses on Game Development

What are your expectations when learning a new skill? 

Do you expect to see quick results? Learning new skills can be frustrating.

Sometimes, it feels as though you take one step forward and two steps backward. Tennis players often expect immediate results, but that is not the reality of skill development.

In fact, nothing interferes with learning more than the expectation of instant gratification. Instant gratification is when you expect to see immediate rewards from your work rather than being patient for the long-term benefit.

When tennis players expect immediate results and don’t see improvement right away, they assume the new technique or skill isn’t working or is not worth the time and effort necessary for skill development.

For example, if you were looking to increase power in your serve, you may initially fault more often on your first serve during competitive matches. Those faults lead to frustration, and you think, “I’ve been working on this serve every day for two weeks, and I keep hitting the ball in the net.”

As the match wears on, you become increasingly agitated with your lack of results, leading to more faults. Instead of continuing to work on your serve in practice, you abandon your efforts and erroneously believe you don’t have what it takes to hit a powerful serve.

When learning a new skill, you must invest the time and effort required for long-term mastery. In other words, you should understand that skill development is a process that demands repetition.

The same is true of mental skill development. Managing pressure in matches requires several steps, such as understanding that dealing with pressure is a learnable skill, understanding pressure can help performance, recognizing early warning signs of stress, learning how to relax your body when your muscles feel tight, and refocusing on the task at hand. 

You won’t develop mastery or achieve long-term benefits if you only work on these skills two or three times. You need patience and commitment to the process.

WTA tennis player Emma Raducanu missed much of 2023 after operations on both wrists and her ankle. Raducanu, ranked No. 10 in 2022, dropped to 250th early in the 2024 season.

During her first four tournaments in 2024, Raducanu struggled with form and won just three matches.

Instead of worrying about results, Raducanu has focused on developing her skills and rediscovering her grand slam-winning form.

RADUCANU: “I want to work on becoming a better tennis player. I think for me, I’m not too concerned about this year’s tournaments. A lot of people out there would say that I need matches, but I think that for me I want to work on my game and development. Taking time to do that is very necessary… I want to work on developing skills. It’s just a bit of a journey for me.”

Learning a new sports skill can be challenging, but it is necessary for next-level performances. 

Skill mastery takes time and consistent effort. Even though mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, the long-term rewards will be worth the commitment.

Focus on the process and not just the outcome. Learning new skills, whether mental or technical, requires patience and commitment. Shifting your focus from the result to the process will help minimize frustration. 


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