Clean Run - August 2012 - (Page 36)

Agility Mind Gym The Competition Mindset— Creating Power and Flow By Kathy Keats We learn sports differently as adults than as children. Kids learn largely by playing and experiences, adults learn by analysis. As a result, as adults we tend to be more “left-brained” and analytical in our approach to competition. This makes us more susceptible to “choking” than someone who has learned in a right-brained, creative, in-the-moment fashion. The reason is the person who learned in an analytical fashion is very likely to default to thinking too hard when under pressure and trying to force things, instead of just reacting and letting the body do what it knows how to do. Essentially we get in our own way. Our best runs are usually runs where we feel reasonably relaxed and we aren’t thinking much; we might not even be able to remember the run very well. I know many people (including myself) who have had exceptional runs when we were late getting to the line or didn’t even walk the course. Because we weren’t able to obsess and overanalyze, it was easier for the run to just flow. Although it won’t happen every time, it is possible to find that special place more often by learning how to recreate that state of mind where you are in the moment and connected to your dog. Triggering Your Ideal State The first step is to identify what thoughts, feelings, images, and physical actions you noticed at any time in your life where you have felt very connected and in the moment. It doesn’t have to be agility related or very specific right now. It might be any of the following random thoughts or feelings: warm, happy, relaxed, excited, fast heart rate, laughter, my cute dog, agile, healthy, or challenged. Perhaps an animal type like cougar or gazelle triggers the correct emotion. You might have a word or phrase that triggers empowering emotions for you like “power,” “quick,” “bring it on,” or “believe.” When you walk tall with your head high, you feel more confident and your breathing will be different than when you are tense. Alternatively, you might have an image that creates a great feeling inside. Perhaps you think with gratitude of the privilege of being able to run your dog because you have the resources to do so. Close your eyes. Using the visualization skills from the last two articles, replay in your mind a moment in time when you felt in the moment, connected, and in flow. When you open your eyes, write down anything that comes into your mind—no phrase being longer than four or five words. Write it as fast as you can. Don’t worry about formatting, “getting it right,” being silly, or writing a dissertation—just get the words down on paper however they come out, with no judgement. Flow Moments Pick three or four things that stand out to you and really create a feeling of confidence, power, and perspective and leave you with a quiet mind. By quiet mind I mean you are working mostly from images and emotions, not lots of long analytical thoughts. Write those down. Everything is in slow motion, you ha ve lots of time to resp ond You seem to be reading your dog's thou ghts and he is reading yo urs Everything seem s easy, effortless Our best runs are usually runs where we feel reasonably relaxed and we aren’t thinking much. 36 Clean Run | August 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - August 2012

Clean Run - August 2012
Editorializing: On Insanity
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
The Information Highway of Agility
Analyze This!
Footwork for Agility: Rear Crosses
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: The Bark Stops Here
Knowledge Equals Speed: Start-line Positioning & Lead-outs
Waiting for Your Turn in Agility Class
Agility Mind Gym: The Competition Mindset—Creating Power and Flow
Building Blocks: Weave Entries at Speed
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Seesaw Training: The Bang Game and the Pre-Bang Game
But He’s Perfect at Home

Clean Run - August 2012