4 Stages of Learning

This seems like a good place to introduce another basic of using psychology to improve your badminton; the 4 stages of learning.

This basically means that whenever you learn how to do something, whether it’s play a new shot in badminton or do something a different way, you go through these 4 stages…

Unconscious Incompetence

Unconscious incompetence is when you don’t know that you can’t do something.

It’s like the exercises that you are going to learn from me that you haven’t read about yet – you don’t know what they are, so you can’t do them!

Conscious Incompetence

But then if I tell you that I worked out how I could serve nearly every single serve exactly where I wanted it, we get into conscious incompetence.

You are consciously aware that you can’t do that (let’s assume you can’t!), and you feel a drop in confidence when you realise that there is something that you can’t do.

Don’t worry! This is all part of going through the 4 stages, and will work out because you will get to step 3 which is…

Conscious Competence

Conscious competence comes when, basically, you learn how to do something.

Taking our example of being able to serve near-perfectly.

When you subscribe to the Newsletter, you will at some point get all the exercises that will help you serve really really well.

You will put them into practice, and hopefully they will make you serve better than you ever have (well, they did for me at least).

You will be able to serve brilliantly, but you will still have to think about it while you do it. You have conscious competence.

Unconscious Competence

Then imagine a few days/weeks down the road, and you are automatically using the principles and your serve is magnificent.

You don’t have to think about what you are doing when you go up to serve, it just seems to ‘come naturally’.

What has happened there is that you have reached the fourth and final stage, that of unconscious competence.

You have mastered whatever it is that you were learning (in our case how to serve perfectly), and can move onto the next learning task.

One of the main benefits of knowing about the 4 steps is that it keeps you from giving up when the going gets tough.

We are very programmed to view failure in a harsh light, whereas in fact, as we have just learned, it is a vital part of learning a new skill and developing our abilities.

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