Last month we began a series of Pressure Proof tips dedicated to the idea that positive thinking is one of largest contributing factors to riding success: competitive, recreational, educational, or otherwise. This month we’ll continue talking about how what’s happening between your ears is just as important as what’s happening below them and that what’s happening below them is actually always being controlled by what’s happening between them.
This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!
Three months ago I introduced you to a technique called "Brand-Building;" the idea that equestrians can increase the likelihood of success by building strong personal brands, just like companies can increase the likelihood of success by building strong business brands. This technique consists of four parts, and we spent the past few months talking about the first three, which include:
Two months ago we began a conversation about brand-building: the idea that our self-image and performance can be improved by creating a personal athletic brand. When companies like Starbucks or Google create strong business brands their success soars and when equestrians build strong athletic brands their success soars in much the same way.
Last month we began a conversation built on the idea that success is often related to building a strong brand. For example, if you’re familiar with the Starbucks brand and logo there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up in one of their stores one of these days! Athletes, like companies, also function by building brands, meaning your success may be closely tied to whatever brand you decide to define yourself by.
Successful companies know that building a strong business brand is vital to building their success and equestrians, like all athletes, function in much the same way. This month, we'll begin a four-part series of Pressure Proof tips that’ll help you build a strong athletic-brand so that you can continue to build your success.
We’ve spent the summer discussing different ways to overcome the kind of things that can overwhelm you and more specifically the three different plans you can use to control your emotions when they risk taking control of you. The plans we’ve discussed so far all fall under the category of pre-ride routines and they include the "normal plan" (routines you do pre-ride when everything goes according to plan), the "quickie plan" (routines you do pre-ride when you’re late or rushed) and the "hurry-up-and-wait plan" (routines you do pre-ride when encountering a delay).
Perhaps some of the most troubling, yet common words you’ll ever hear before any class, clinic, or competition are: “sorry folks, we seem to have a delay on course.” You’re perfectly prepared and are ready to perform only to have it all thrown out the wait window. You’ve warmed-up well, arrived at the arena on time and peaked - only to be told to hurry up and wait! Thankfully, you have a plan prepared for this very possibility: your Delay Plan.
Last month we began a four-part series on mental preparation and the many kinds of pre-ride routines you can perform to control your emotions so they don’t take control of you. If you recall, the purpose of these routines is to give your brain the perception of predictability and control because as soon as your brain loses these it senses threat and stress which weakens your confidence and strengthens your jitters and fears.
This month we’ll begin a summer-long series covering four mental-preparation plans to help strengthen your self-confidence while weakening the grip that jitters and fears have on you. The purpose of these plans is to give your brain something it so very badly needs: the perception of control. You see, when your brain feels in control it allows you to control your emotions, but when that perception is taken away, your brain senses threat and stress… which weakens your confidence and strengthens your jitters and fears! This is when your emotions start taking control of you. In the end, you really only have two choices when it comes to riding, (1) control your emotions, or (2) let your emotions control you… and that’s exactly what we’ll be spending the summer talking about.
We all began riding for the same reasons: the love of the horse and the love of the sport. Back then we spent as much time laughing as we did lunging and as much time smiling as we did circling. It wasn’t about the color of the ribbon, placement on a leaderboard, or worrying about beating or being beaten. Back then we spent more time feeling fun than frustrated and thought more about joy than judges.