Keeping your mind focused on what’s productive (like transitions between dressage movements or fences) instead of what’s destructive (like worrying about the crowd) is one of the most important skills any rider can learn. While it’s a skill that can require a bit of practice, it’s one that can be learned quite quickly - as long as you know a trick. The good news is that there is a trick, and that trick is called question suggestion.
The idea behind question suggestion is that asking yourself leading questions like, “What can I do to relax?” is much more effective than simply telling yourself what to do like, "Quit freaking out”, because self-directed leading questions stimulate your brain to search out their answers. For example, asking yourself, “How can I stay calm before a show,” might lead to answers like, “Take a few relaxing breaths, think of a positive memory from the past, and listen to a calm song before mounting.”
Question suggestion works because it allows your focus to shift from problems to solutions and from the past to the present. It also creates purposeful and intentional thoughts instead of allowing your mind to randomly lock onto something it shouldn’t (like who’s watching you). Self-directed questions do this by stimulating your mind to search for solutions to problems instead of allowing your mind to be consumed by the problem itself.
Here are a few tricks to creating your own questions suggestions:
I hope you enjoyed this month’s tip and that I’ll get the chance to teach you in one of my upcoming winter or spring clinics! For more information visit www.pressureproofacademy.com.
Interested in sports psychology? Applications for the 2021 Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarships will be available soon. For more information, please contact Nancy Knight, (703) 669-9997.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Bromont CCI-S Horse Trials on the calendar for August 13th to 15th, 2021 are pleased to announce that starting August 9th, Canada is expected to begin allowing entry to US citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States.
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF are on the road to Tokyo! Boyd Martin has represented the U.S. in every Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, and Pan American Games since he gained U.S. citizenship in 2010. Going into his third Olympic Games, he competed at the 2012 London Olympics with Otis Barbotiere and the 2016 Rio Olympics with Blackfoot Mystery. The Tokyo Olympics will be Martin’s third Olympic Games and Tsetserleg TSF’s first.