Weekend is starting and I don't know for you but we have a wonderful weather here in France. With the comeback of sunny days, more and more peoples are doing outdoor activities. Among all the possible sports, there is one I really like: Tennis. I now try to play every weekends.
Babolat, the famous producer of tennis racket, will launch in May a new type of connected racket. The Babolat Play will records actions about your game, present them through an apps and allow you to share the content. We will probably see this in every competition in the next few years. I am saying that because the IFT (International Federation of Tennis) recently add a new rule. They are not changing rules often and the new one (number 31) is about connected devices. This new rule allow individuals to measure, record and share informations about their actions…. Only after the match!
This make me think about my last game a week ago where I lose a game against one of my friend. I really like playing against better players because that's for me one of the best way to improve myself. But measuring this improvement is quite difficult. Every time I play with someone stronger than me, I ask them what I'm doing wrong. I can see that the answer depend of the friend I'm playing with. Some of them will tell me that I miss endurance, which is quite true because I'm smoking a little bit too much... But with others friends, I am not mastering enough some technical points. Even If I have the ability to run for a longer time than him, he will win because he is better than me and I'll run from left to right until I miss one ball. Depending of the friend I am playing with, I'll have to improve endurance or technique. But I have to improve both of them to be a "better player".
Writing this article helps me to put things in perspective and I think that what I say about this specific improvement in tennis can be generalize to all forms of improvement.
Rule 1: You can't improve what you can't measure. If I want to improve my technique, I have to be able to understand how much backhand shot I've made during this game, how much were good… and define what specific point I want to improve.
Rule 2: Improvement is specific and has to be related to a specific goal. Being a better tennis player is definitely a goal. But you have to be specific: Have 75% of my backhand shot who reach the location I was targeting. General improvement can only be through several minor specific points you want to improve.
Rule 3: Improvement has to be time-bounded. If I am able to tell you what kind of progress I've made, it also has to be link to a time objective. Improvement is more valuable if you do it quickly than others. If I say that I've improve my technique, knowing if it takes me 1 or 10 years will be important.
Those 3 elements are important checkpoints in any improvement process. And I will probably buy this new Babolat racket.
The process behind this is very similar to Personal Analytics. By presenting to you meaningful informations about the way you work, Personal Analytics helps you to measure, improve and setup objectives in both personal and professional life.
Have a good Weekend!