The Toughest Competitor
Tips for staying focused in the practice and competition
Do you notice those people who seem to keep cool and calm no matter what the situation is? Do you wonder why they never appear nervous or upset? Do you feel like it gives them a competitive advantage? Dang right it does!
They say that any game is 90% mental and only 10% physical. I’m not sure how much science is behind those numbers, but we all know mental strength is extremely important in being and staying successful in everything! Some people seem to come by it naturally, while others are constantly working on their mental strength. No matter what kind of person you are, here are some strategies to help you stay positive, focused and moving forward in practice and competition.
Words: It’s easy to let your mind start racing as soon as you step out of the truck or in the arena at an event. Find 3-8 words or phrases that help you slow your mind down and stay focused. When you choose these words, write them down with that word’s meaning to you in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can revisit easily. Use specific words for certain situations. When you feel yourself getting anxious or frustrated, say one or a few words to slow back down and refocus.
- My words/phrases are:
- Smile – When I smile, I remember not to be so serious and just do my best that I can on this very day.
- Grateful – I am grateful for the family, friends, health, horses and finances to do what I love.
- Faith – I have faith that as long as I do my very best, God will provide me what I need in his timing.
- Breathe – Oxygen is important for my brain to work right so I can think clearly and compete to the best of my ability.
- Energy – Find the places in my body that I’m storing anxious energy and release it. My horse is a lot happier when I do this too!
- Embrace the Journey – Win or lose, I always learn. Have fun and embrace every moment. Meet someone new people, be open to learning new things and bettering myself, my horses and the people around me.
Intention: What is your intention? To be successful, you must know WHY you are doing what you are doing. Each time you enter practice, competition or head to the pasture set your intentions. Write it down or say it out loud. It can be as simple as a strong nod out of the chute or simple trail ride down the road at a walk.
- My intention for this moment is _________________.
Mantra: According to Oxford Pocket Dictionary, a mantra is “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.” Each time you pass through an arena gate, back in the box, step into the chute, etc., have the same, short mantra.
- “I am prepared”
- “Thankful, grateful, blessed”
- “Smile and have fun”
- “Ride for feel” – Tana Renick
- “If my horse and me leave the arena safe and sound, we are a winner” – Brady Burningham
Practice these techniques consistently and before you know it, you will be the one your peers recognize as cool, calm and collected in all situations. Always be grateful, have fun and embrace every step of the journey.
If you would like to learn more or have any additional suggestions for strategies that work for you, please let us know! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (641) 799-5042!